Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting

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  • Yamanashi prefecture is known in Japan as a major fruit and wine region and home to many famed hot springs areas. Join us as we go fruit picking and wine tasting around Isawa Onsen and explore Fuefuki City.

    grapes on vines - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com

    Looking to get away from the lights and sounds of city life in Japan? We recommend taking a relaxing trip to Yamanashi Prefecture and take in the beautiful sceneries and enjoy its many offerings.

    Yamanashi prefecture is known in Japan for its famed onsen (hot spring) area, including Yumura Onsen, Shimobe Onsen (aka Takeda Shingen’s hidden hot springs), and Isawa Onsen. Our family’s favorite is Isawa Onsen as its easily accessible by car or train from the Tokyo area. Besides onsen, Yamanashi is also known for its fruits, wine, hoto noodles, and Shingen mochi. Ready to check them out? Let’s go!

    Isawa Onsen 石和温泉

    We’ve previously covered how to get to Isawa Onsen in the Japanese New Year’s post. It’s about 2 hours trip from Tokyo area by car or train. Isawa Onsen is in Fuefuki City located at the center of the prefecture.

    There are many activities to do nearby and if you don’t have a car, alternatively you can take a taxi to many of the locations. Public transportation is not as convenient here as the large cities.

    Azusa train - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Azusa train at Isawa-Onsen Station
    Isawa-onsen Station - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Isawa-Onsen Station

    Isawa-Onsen Station has a unique shop typically not found in most train stations. Since Yamanashi is known for its wine, the station has a wine tasting store. There are many wines visitors can try (for a fee) and purchase.

    Wine tasting vending machine at the station - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Wine tasting vending machine
    Wines for sale at the train station - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Wines for sale

    Peach Picking in Yamanashi

    Yamanashi is known for three fruits, grapes, peaches, and plum. During the harvest season, visitors can go to the fruit farms and pick fresh fruits from the trees. Our family’s favorite fruits in Japan are white peaches and kyoho grapes so summer was the perfect season to visit.

    Riso Orchards - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Riso Orchards

    The fruit farm we went to was Riso Orchards 理想園 and they offered a variety of fruit picking choices. Just as a heads up, fruits in Japan are really expensive compared to most places.

    There are specialty fruit shops in Japan where prices are a bit ridiculous. Examples of these are $200 for 6 peaches or $100 for a single square watermelon.

    peaches in specialty fruit shop in Japan - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Very pricey peaches, from $80 – $200 for 6

    The day we were there, it costs 2,000 yen to pick 3 peaches, and they’ll serve 1 peach and grapes afterward. Other choices include

    1. All you can eat premium fruits for 2,300 yen
    2. Pick Delaware grape for 1,500 yen
    3. All you can eat kyoho grape for 1,500 yen

    grapes on vines - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com

    We selected the 3 white peach picking package since our whole family absolutely loves them.

    guest registration area at Riso Orchards - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com

    We waited for about 10 min and a van came to pick us up. The drive to the peach orchard was only 3 min away.

    Riso Orchards van taking visitors to the orchards - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Van to go to the peach orchards

    After giving us the brief instruction and warning (peach picking could result in itchy skin), we went to search inside the orchard for the largest peaches.

    girl in front of peach trees - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com

    white peach on tree - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Sweeeeeet white peach

    The experience was very anti-climatic as we were done in less than 10 min. The van took us back to the orchard stand and we were served fruits.

    white peach tree - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Peachtree (white peach)

    The peaches and grapes were absolutely delicious and we couldn’t get enough.

    White peach and grapes - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    White peach and grapes

    Katsunuma Budou no Oka 勝沼ぶどうの丘

    There are many wineries throughout the area and I’ve listed the popular ones below. If you don’t have time to visit individual wineries, we recommend going to Katsunuma Budou no Oka (the hill of grapes).

    Katsunuma Budou no Oka is located on a hill so you can take in the panoramic view of the nearby towns nestled between the mountain ranges.

    View of Koshu, Fuefuki, and Yamanashi City from Katsunuma Budou no Oka - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    View of Koshu, Fuefuki, and Yamanashi City from Katsunuma Budou no Oka
    Vineyards covering the nearby hills - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Vineyards covering the nearby hills

    At the Budou no Oka, there are a number of facilities including restaurants, a hotel, and hot springs. The restaurant choices are plenty and you can choose from Japanese food, yoshoku (western cuisine), yakiniku (Japaense BBQ, and a hoto noodle restaurant.

    Most importantly, there’s an underground wine cave with over 200 wines you can try.

    entry plaza at Katsunuma Budou no Oka - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Entry plaza
    wine for sale at Katsunuma Budou no Oka - - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Wines for sale from various wineries
    Entrance to wine cave - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Entrance to the wine cave

    For wine tasting, it’s just 1,520 yen per person (please check the website for the latest prices) and you can taste all the wins they have.

    wine tasting in wine cave at Katsunuma Budou no Oka - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Wine tasting inside the wine cave

    Popular Yamanashi Wineries

    Here are the popular wineries in the region. Keep in mind Japan has really strict drinking and driving rules so the driver will not be able to taste any wine.

    1. Katsunuma Winery
    2. Belle Foret Winery
    3. Suntory Tomi No Oka Winery
    4. Mars Winery
    5. Manns Winery
    6. Sadoya Winery

    Fuefukigawa Fruit Park

    If you are traveling with children and want suggestions for places to go, stop by the scenic Fuefukigawa Fruit Park. The park is located on a hill overlooking Yamanashi City. On a clear day, you can see the top of Mt. Fuji behind the mountains.

    boy and lady posing in front of Mt. Fuji - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Posing with grandma

     

    the domes at Fuefukigawa Fruit Park - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com

    At the fruit park, there are several domed buildings. The first one is the Fruit Plaza, a large event hosting space. There’s a children’s play area and resting spots for visitors to sit inside as well.

    Fruit plaza at Fuefukigawa Fruit Park - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Fruit plaza
    Indoor playground at Fuefukigawa Fruit Park - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Indoor playground

    The next area is the Fruit Museum, the theme covered in the museum is on how can animals and plants co-exist on our planet. There is a large section focused on the history of grapes and the importance of grape and peaches in Yamanashi Prefecture.

    fruit museum at at Fuefukigawa Fruit Park - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Fruit museum

    fruit museum at at Fuefukigawa Fruit Park - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com

    view of Mt. Fuji from Fuefukigawa Fruit Park - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    View of Mt. Fuji from the park

    Other facilities at the park include a tropical greenhouse, Fruit Workshop (gift shop and reading room), and a train visitors can ride from the parking lot to the top of the hill.

    gift shop at Fuefukigawa Fruit Park - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Souvenirs at Fruit Workshop
    Hoto noodles in gift shop at Fuefukigawa Fruit Park - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Hoto noodles inside the gift shop
    Kikyo Shingen Mochi inside gift shop - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Kikyo Shingen Mochi

    Kikyo Shingen Mochi Factory

    There are a few items you see everywhere when you travel around Yamanashi Prefecture, and they are fruits related gifts and snacks, wine, hoto, and Kikyo Shingen Mochi. What is Kikyo Shingen Mochi?

    Kikyo Shingen Mochi Factory - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Kikyo Shingen Mochi Factory

    Shingen-mochi is mochi coated in kinako (soybean) flour and drizzled on top with muscovado sugar syrup.  You see their signature blue and red boxes all over the nearby area and gift shops.

    Kikyo Shingen Mochi products - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Kikyo Shingen Mochi products

    At the factory, you can see how the mochi is packed with the syrup bottle.

    working packing mochi at Kikyo Shingen Mochi Factory - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Workers packing mochi
    working packing mochi at Kikyo Shingen Mochi Factory - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Each individual mochi is wrapped up by workers

    kids with Shingen Mochi signs - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com

    Besides the factory tour, there are some exhibits on display. Such a the following flower arrangement, completely made of food-grade ingredients.

    Art piece made from edible ingredients - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Art piece made from edible ingredients
    Shingen mochi Kit Kat - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Shingen mochi flavor Kit Kat

    Yamanashi Hoto Noodles

    While traveling in Yamanashi, a local specialty dish you don’t see outside of the area too often is hoto noodles (recipe). Hoto noodles are similar to udon, but the noodles are much thicker and flat. The soup is also hearty and typically made with niboshi (anchovies) stock.

    Hoto noodles in a cast iron pot
    Hoto noodles in a cast iron pot

    Although hoto is popular in the area, not everyone enjoys hoto noodles due to its texture. However, if you enjoy thicker noodles with vegetables and hearty soup stock, give it a try.

    Set meal with hoto noodles - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Set meal with hoto noodles

    Fuefuki City (Isawa-Onsen Station)

    If you don’t have a car or means to get around, the area Isawa-Onsen Station is flat and easy to walk around on foot. There are shrines and temples to stop by as well as shops and restaurants.

    Ukaiyama Onmyo Temple - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Ukaiyama Onmyo Temple
    Main building at Ukaiyama Onmyo Temple - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Main building at Ukaiyama Onmyo Temple
    Isawahachimangu - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Family at Isawahachimangu
    Isawahachimangu - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Isawahachimangu at New Years Eve

    Kutsuroginotei Kunitachi くつろぎの邸 くにたち

    After a day of activities, it’s time to relax. The majority of the ryokan (Japanese style inn/hotels) are located around Sakura Hot Spring Street in Fuefuki City.

    For this we visit, we stayed at Hotel Kunitachi. Compared to Hotel Sekifu where we stayed for the new year, Kunitachi is much smaller with only 19 guestrooms.

    main entrance of Kutsuroginotei Kunitachi - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Kutsuroginotei Kunitachi

    The interior of the hotel is mostly wood and it feels warm and homey. The floors are tatami mats so guests are required to take off shoes as soon as they enter the hotel.

    courtyard at Kutsuroginotei Kunitachi - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    View of courtyard

    In the center of the hotel is a small garden with koi pond.

    koi pond at Kutsuroginotei Kunitachi - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Koi pond

    There are a number of small touches the ryokan exhibits their omotenashi (Japanese way of wholeheartedly look after guests) during our stay. In the summer, the hotel provides complimentary shaved ice for guests to cool down from the heat. For the kids, they provided sparklers to light at night.

    Shaved ice station at Kutsuroginotei Kunitachi - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Shaved ice station

    The room we stayed at included both western beds and Japanese futon, and there is an outdoor bath to soak in.

    Room with western beds at Kutsuroginotei Kunitachi - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Room with western beds
    Private in-room ofuru (bath) at Kutsuroginotei Kunitachi - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Private ofuro (bath) on the deck

    Kaiseki Dinner at Kutsuroginotei Kunitachi

    The kaiseki dinner was well prepared and most dishes were good quality.

    Fried hamo (fish) coated with brown rice, egg yolk Castella, grilled egg cake, edamame, tofu skin roll at Kutsuroginotei Kunitachi - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Fried hamo (fish) coated with brown rice, egg yolk Castella, grilled egg cake, edamame, tofu skin roll
    Corn tofu with shrimp, okra, caviar in dashi at Kutsuroginotei Kunitachi - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Corn tofu with shrimp, okra, caviar in dashi
    Vinegar octopus, pickles, cucumber, Tokyo turnip, mini tomatoes, zucchini at Kutsuroginotei Kunitachi - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Vinegar octopus, pickles, cucumber, Tokyo turnip, mini tomatoes, zucchini
    Clear soup with nori, shiitake, carrot, kinome (leaf) at Kutsuroginotei Kunitachi - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Clear soup with nori, shiitake, carrot, kinome (leaf)
    Summer vegetables simmered with maple leaf gluten, winter melon filling, ginger at Kutsuroginotei Kunitachi - Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting | www.justonecookbook.com
    Summer vegetables simmered with maple leaf gluten, winter melon filling, ginger

    Lastly, there are no pictures allowed but the hotel has a hot stone spa guests can use called arashinoyu. Wearing provided bathrobes, in a spacious hot enclosed room (80 C/175 F). Visitors lie down in a bed of medicinal stones and the staff will shovel more hot stones on top. It is believed that the medicinal stones along with hot springs will expel harmful waste accumulated in the body.

    The staff will provide instructions on how long to stay, how much water to intake, and how many times to go in and out of the room.

    Yamanashi Prefecture

    We hope you’ve enjoyed our adventures in Yamanashi Prefecture and you’ll consider visiting during your trip to Japan. Our family loves the quiet town surrounded by natural beauty, and the best part is it’s just a short getaway from the Tokyo area. If you have been to Isawa Onsen and Fuefuki area and have recommendations, please leave them in the comments below.

    Yamanashi Travel Guides

    Things to do Around Lake Kawaguchi

    New Years At Isawa Onsen

    Yamanashi Fruit Picking and Wine Tasting

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