Region
Chubu
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Kofu
Population
888,170

Katsunuma Grape Festival

Come for the wine, stay for the fire!

Imagine sitting under a starry night sky, sipping wine, while watching fireworks. If all of this sounds amazing then it might be time to visit Katsunuma, the wine capital of Japan.

Katsunuma is a small town in the heart of Yamanashi Prefecture about a one-and-a-half-hour train ride from Tokyo. What better way to delve into Japan’s wine paradise than going to the Katsunuma Grape Festival held yearly on the first Saturday in October.

Photo by: Kaitlyn Smith Every October, it’s a celebration of the grape harvest.

Wine all day

Katsunuma has an abundance of delicious grapes, and of course, wine. Sweet, sour, bitter, and every flavor imaginable is available at the festival. Including peach and yuzu (citrus) wine!

Photo by: emiliainjp All-you-can-drink samples.

The festival, located at Katsunuma Central Park and on the nearby middle school grounds, showcases over 24 wineries and each one brings at least three to six wines you can try. After buying a wine glass, it’s time for some all-you-can-drink juice of the gods. The whole area becomes a big outdoor picnic party where you can continue to sample from each wine stand until it runs dry. A small amount of wine is poured into the glass by vendors, or there’s also a self-service barrel wine area for people (us!) who don’t want to wait. If you’re lovin’ on a certain brand of wine, feel free to purchase a bottle at the stand to take home or to drink on the spot.

Fire at night

Photo by: lifeinyamanashi Fire time!

There are also plenty of food stands, free grape giveaways and a grape skin spitting contest. During the day, there is a taiko (drum) performance and parade where children carry the mikoshi (portable shrine).

Photo by: lifeinyamanashi Come for the wine, stay for the fire.

Even after all that fine wine, there’s more. The night lights up with the Katsunuma middle school students running through the festival with giant torches. The students perform a short ceremony on the festival grounds and then proceed to run up to the top of the mountain and perform a tori-yaki (firing tori gate) — a totally mystical sight not to be missed. The night ends with a bang as fireworks light up the sky with the burning tori gate in the foreground.

If you’re wine-dering what all this will really look like, it’s a grape idea to head out to this local festival!

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Things To Know

Date, Time, Locale

There is no entrance fee for the festival, but a ¥1,000 wine glass must be purchased to enjoy the wine samples. (You can keep the glass.) The event is held yearly on the first Saturday of October at Katsunuma Central Park. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

How To Get There

Address

1317 Katsunumachō Katsunuma, Kōshū-shi, Yamanashi-ken 409-1316, Japan

By train

Take the Chuo line from Shinjuku station to Takao station (45 minutes). Change trains there for the Yamanashi-bound Chuo line heading to Katsunumabudokyo station (1 hr 15 minutes). Take the shuttle bus from the station to the festival (10 minutes). The shuttle bus costs ¥300 and runs from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.

By car

The venue is about 10 minutes by car from Chuo Expressway Katsunuma IC.

By foot

About a 35-minute walk from Katsunumabudokyo station. Map

Where To Stay

Hotel Route-Inn Court Yamanashi
  • Kamiishimori Yoshihara 187-3 Yamanashi-Shi, Yamanashi 405-0014
  • 7.1/10
  • 3.5 km
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Hotel Eldia Yamanashi (Adult Only)
  • Isawa-cho, Kamihirai 890-1 Fuefuki-Shi, Yamanashi 406-0025
  • 9.2/10
  • 5.9 km
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Kai Resort Hotel
  • Isawacho kamihirai 391 Fuefuki-Shi, Yamanashi 406-0025
  • 6.6/10
  • 6.1 km
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Isawa Tokiwa Hotel
  • Isawacho Kawanakajima 1607-14 Fuefuki-Shi, Yamanashi 406-0024
  • 7/10
  • 6.3 km
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