All About Japan

10 Wine Tasting Spots in Yamanashi

| Wine Bar , Alcohol

Just a train ride away from central Tokyo, Yamanashi Prefecture's Katsunuma region is home to over 30 wineries. Take a day trip from Japan's capital to explore this bucolic area and enjoy tastings of all the different flavors of the local Japan-made wine. Discover your favorite!

Château Mercian (シャトー・メルシャン)

This winery is run by the Mercian Corporation (part of Kirin, famous for their beer). Two winery tours are available by reservation: the Standard course includes a tour that last an hour and a tasting of three of their wines, while the Premium course runs for 90 minutes and the tasting includes six wines. If you prefer to skip the tour (which is only available in Japanese) visitors can also check out the wine gallery, a part of the vineyards and the tasting cafe', where you can order from a selection of tasting menus, as well as meals and tasty desserts. This pretty spot is popular both with families and couples looking for a fun day out from Tokyo.

Address: 1425-1 Katsunumacho, Shimoiwasaki, Koshu-shi, Yamanashi
How to get there: the winery is a 30-minute walk from Katsunumabudokyo Station on the JR Chuo Line, or a short taxi ride.
Phone number: 0553-44-1011
Business hours: 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Closed on Tuesday and during New Year's holidays

Grande Polaire Katsunuma Winery (グランポレール勝沼ワイナリー)

Run by Sapporo Breweries, this large winery offers tours exclusively on weekends and national holidays. The tours (only available in Japanese) take you through their vineyards, fermenting facilities, cave and (of course!) ends with a tasting session. The modern and luxurious guest room where they hold tastings of over 10 different types of wine makes it particularly popular with couples. Be aware that during busy periods in the wine-making season (February and from mid-August to mid-November) they are closed, so be sure to check the calendar on their site.

Address: 577 Katsunumacho, Watazuka, Koshu-shi, Yamanashi
How to get there: the winery is a 30-minute walk from Yamanashishi Station on the JR Chuo Line, or a short taxi ride from the station
Telephone number: 0553-44-2345
Business hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Closed on Wednesday, national holidays and in February and mid-August to mid-November

Chateau Katsunuma (シャトー勝沼)

Chateau Katsunuma is the oldest winery in the Katsunuma area. Their tours run every 15 minutes and you don't need to reserve (or even pay), ideal if you just want to pop in for a quick visit. The winery is very easy to get to, as it is only a 15-minute walk from Katsunumabudokyo Station, so is great for those getting to the area by train. Besides the chance to taste a selection of their wines, they also offer free grape juice tastings for children and those who don't drink alcohol.

Address: 4729 Katsunumacho, Hishiyama, Koshu-shi, Yamanashi
How to get there: the winery is a 15-minute walk from Katsunumabudokyo Station on the JR Chuo Line
Telephone: 0553-44-0073
Business hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Irregular closures

Manns Wines Katsunuma Winery (マンズワイン)

Manns Wine's famous "Solaris" wines have won awards both within Japan and internationally... and here you can try them on the spot! For the very modest price of ¥500, you can try four varieties of these premium wines, and if you buy a bottle (or two!) of Solaris brand wines you will even be reimbursed the tasting fee. The winery's other vintages can be tasted for free, and the shop also has a vast variety of local goodies for sale.

Address: 400 Katsunumachoyama, Koshu-shi, Yamanashi
How to get there: the winery is a 30-minute walk from Enzan Station on the JR Chuo Main Line, or a short taxi ride from the station
Telephone number: 0553-44-2285
Business hours: 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (shop and tasting 5 p.m.)
Closed on New Year's holidays and occasional irregular dates

Katsunuma Jozo Winery (勝沼醸造)

While this winery is rather petite, the charming retro building, elegant labels and carefully crafted wines make it a spot you definitely want to add to your itinerary. There are two types of tours, but the tasting course (which costs ¥1500 yen) is the best option for those who do not speak Japanese. At the attached Le Vent restaurant, you can enjoy their wines along with French cuisine under beautiful vaulted cielings.

Address: 371 Katsunumacho, Shimoiwasaki,Koshu-shi, Yamanashi
How to get there: the winery is four kilometers away from Katsunumabudokyo Station, so taking a taxi is recommended.
Telephone number: 0553-44-0069
Business hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Closed on New Year's holidays and irregular dates