Katsunuma, the wine village

Katsunuma, the wine village

[Nov. 2023] On this day, we got up early and went on a trip from my parents’ house in Matsudo City to Katsunuma in Yamanashi Prefecture in Japan.

It was arranged by a friend who we meet every time we go back to Japan.

Platform 9 at Shinjuku Station was overflowing with people, especially foreigners.

It looked like people were heading towards Mt. Fuji.

the sign of 'Budou no Oka' on the hill seen from Katsunuma station in Japan
‘Budou no Oka’ was on the hill opposite from the station

We took the limited express Kaiji 7 to Katsunuma Budokyo.

The journey was supposed to take about an hour and a half, but the train was stopped midway to check for unusual noises.

We arrived quite late.

When you step out of the station, there are vineyards as far as the eye can see.

This is the first time I have seen such a scene in Japan.

The destination is “Budou no Oka (Grape Hill)”, which is located at the top of the hill after going down from the station.

dried persimmons in Katsunuma in Yamanashi prefecture in Japan
I have never seen so many dried persimmons

There seemed to be a bus, but we just walked.

On this sunny autumn day, it was a sight to see not only the vineyard but also the many persimmons being dried.

This “Budou no Oka” is not a facility that makes wine, but a place where products from nearby wineries are collected and sold.

Each person pays as much as 2,200 yen (about €14) to buy a hardware container called a tastevin.

This is a wine tasting plate, and I remember using something similar a long time ago when I visited a winery in the Burgundy region of France.

the tastevin with yellow string bought in 'Budou no Oka' in Katsunuma in Japan
this was “yellow string day”

This tastevin had a yellow string attached.

This day is yellow day.

There was a warning saying “Tastevins with strings of other colours cannot be used, a Tastevin should not be used by multiple people, and should not be sampled with other containers.”

We took this and went down to the basement.

There were rows of wines lined up on shelves in a dimly lit room with the atmosphere of a wine cellar, and wines for tasting were placed on barrel-shaped tables lining the aisle.

the tasting room in "Budou no Oka" in Katsunuma in Yamanashi prefecture in Japan
the tasting room

You can try them freely, and if you find one you like, you can take a bottle from the shelf and pay upstairs.

However, you can only sample up to medium-bodied reds, and there is an additional charge for full-bodied ones.

It’s a bit stingy, isn’t it?

Considering the price of tastevin, many people might try all of the wines and get drunk.

Well, we had a reservation at the restaurant upstairs at 11:30, so we decided to cut short the tasting in the basement and go to the restaurant.

the beef stew at the restaurant in 'Budow no Oka" in Katsunuma in Japan
very tender beef stew

Since it’s called a restaurant with a view, it certainly has a nice view.

It was a little hazy though.

I had a salad and beef stew here.

It had a rich flavour typical of Japanese beef stew, and the meat was melt-in-your-mouth soft and tasty.

It was quite fatty, though.

We had one bottle of red wine for four people.

This one was also medium bodied.

autumn leaves in Katsunuma in Yamanashi prefecture in Japan
autumn leaves on the hot day

After eating, we took a short walk around the area, enjoying the warm colours of the early autumn leaves.

However, it was a strangely hot day, probably around 25 degrees.

Then, we went down to the basement again and tasted the wines more seriously this time.

Although we couldn’t find anything we really liked, we ended up buying a bottle of sweet rosé that could be used as a dessert wine.

Our friends also bought one each.

It was a fulfilling day, seeing beautiful scenery and chatting with each other.