Tips for Visit
Tips about buying Japanese wines
- Can I order Japanese wine delivered to my country?
- Most delivery services do not accept alcoholic beverages for delivery to other countries. Thus we recommend you enjoy Genuine Japanese Wines during your stay in Japan.
- Select Genuine Japanese Wines!
- Japanese wine law is not yet mature, and you should be careful when you buy Japanese wine. Even if the label is written in Japanese, it could be that the bottle contains imported wine which has only been blended in Japan, or it may contain wine fermented in Japan but from imported grape must. If the wine is genuine Japanese wine (not using imported grapes, must, or bulk wine), on the back label you should NOT see these characters, 輸入 (imported). Even for Japanese people, labeling confusion is a problem. It is best to ask someone who knows wine very well (especially when you buy wine at supermarkets).
Tips about visiting Japanese Wineries
- Please remind
- Most of the Japanese wineries are small and family run. So, although they would like to welcome you, they might decline your visit during busy season, especially from harvest to the fermentation. Please remind that they are production sites for their own life with limited resources except some large wineries. If you could visit them with this in mind, you will be welcomed by the real Japanese hospitality.
- Do I need reservation?
- As most of Japanese wineries are family run and small, contact in advance is strongly recommended. Only a few large wineries do not require reservations. If translation support for contact is required, VJW can help you.
- Do winery personnel speak English?
- Some do, but many do not. See the “language” section in each winery’s info. Most wineries do NOT offer regular winery tours in English. If you need translation support, VJW can help.
Tips for taking Taxis in Japan
- How can I find a taxi?
- You can find taxis at designated taxi stands in front of all major train stations, or you can hail a taxi on the road by waving your hand (if the taxi is available a red sign – 空車 – will be visible in the windscreen, or the taxi’s roof light will be illuminated). You may also call a taxi company for pickup, though you may incur extra fees.
The “taxi stand” section in each winery’s info indicates wheter there is a taxi stand at the nearest train station.
- Do Taxi Drivers speak English?
- Some do, but not many. If you don’t speak Japanese, ask someone to write your destination in Japanese. Show the address to the driver and all will be well.
If you need translation support, visitjapanesewinery can help.
- Are Japanese Taxis Safe?
- Yes. Taxis with green license plates are legal, and they are safe.
- Do I need to tip the driver?
- No, tipping is not customary in Japan.
- How much do taxis cost?
- The initial fee varies from region to regioin. Tokyo taxis start from 730 JPY while in Osaka the initial fee is 640 JPY. The fee increases with distance and/or time.
A 10-minute taxi ride will cost 1500-2000 JPY, depending on traffic.
Tips about visiting Yamanashi
- Yamanashi is the most vibrant wine region in Japan with more than 80 wineries (of 200 in whole Japan) and has a long history of wine making, especially from Japanese indigenous variety, Koshu. Koshu is vitis vinifera (the best grape species for wine making) with pale pink skin which produces pure and refreshing white wine. This Japanese traditional grape is registered in the list of grape varieties of the OIV.
Another indigenous and OIV-certified vinifera grape, Muscat BaileyA is also popular. This is the black grape with pure red fruits flavour albeit its “Muscatty” name.
The access from Tokyo is pretty easy (1.5-hour train ride), and this region is quite dense with the wineries, thus easy to look around. As famous Onsen spring (Isawa Onsen) is nearby, you can also enjoy Japanese style hotel, Ryokan equipped with Onsen
- Climate (average during 1981-2010)
- Annual mean temperature: 14.7 C
Annual mean precipitation: 1135.2 mm
- Hoto (pronounced HO (of SOHO) - Tow), miso-flavoured stew which ingredients are Udon-noodle and various vegetables, is the famous local food. In addition, some nice French, Italian, and Sushi restaurants can be found here.
Tips about visiting Nagano
- This is the second largest wine region in Japan. The most majour wine regions in Nagano are Matsumoto and Shiojiri.
One of the highly praised grape varieties in Nagano is Merlot. Especially, Merlot form Kikyo-gahara (in Shiojiri) has gained high reputation.
- Climate (average during 1981-2010)
- Annual mean temperature: 11.9 C
Annual mean precipitation: 932.7 mm
- They have many Onsen hot springs everywhere in this prefecture, such as Shimo-suwa, Shirahone, Nozawa, etc. In winter, you can enjoy skiing in many ski resorts, which are very popular destination in Japan. Also, there is one of the most famous historical temple, Zenko-ji.
- Soba noodle is one of their best, as well as wasabi (Japanese horse radish). As wasabi can only be grown in the pure water, this region is also famous for its clean and pure water.
Tips about visiting Hokkaido
- Due to cold climate, German, cold-hardy hybrids, or Japanese indigenous varieties are often used.
Famous wine regions are Tokachi (central Hokkaido) and Otaru & Yoichi (western Hokkaido), which have long history of making wine, but recently many new wineries have been founded in other regions too.
As this prefecture is huge as a Japanese one, you should carefully choose where to stay. Sapporo is one of the option to stay for one day trip to Otaru region, Obihiro is another option to stay for visiting Tokachi region.
Note: It takes 3 hours by train from Sapporo to Obihiro.
- Climate (average during 1981-2010, Annual averages are of Sapporo)
- Hokkaido is the coldest region in Japan. The region is covered by snow from Nov/Dec to Apr/May, and vineyard management is very painstaking. In some areas, vines have to be covered by earth in late autumn to protect them from freezing.
Annual mean temperature: 8.9 C
Annual mean precipitation: 1106.5 mm
- Hokkaido is the most popular destination for skiing in winter, and also perfect place as summer resort to avoid Japanese humidity and heat. Various outdoor activities such as ballooning, rafting, canoeing, fishing, are available during summer and autumn. Hokkaido is also abundant with Onsen hot springs.
- Surrounded by the sea, and with large pasture in the center, Hokkaido is the perfect place to find fresh and high quality foods. Sashimi and Sushi are extremely fresh and delicious at reasonable price, and Gingiskan (pronounced Gin-geese-kahn; lamb BBQ) is very popular. Hokkaido is also a paradise of Ramen noodles (Japanized Chinese noodle). Miso (fermented soy bean)-flavoured Ramen is the specialite of Sapporo, while Shio (salt) and Shoyu (soy sauce)-flavoured Ramens are the ones of Hakodate and Asahikawa, respectively. Robata-Yaki (indoor BBQ style Japanese Bar) is the cheerful place to enjoy the night in Hokkaido.
- Public Information by Sorach Subprefecture (beautiful photo and video)
- Beautiful Wine book written in Englsih can be seen here.
You can see the beautiful video (although subtitles are in Japanese) here, too.
These are published by Hokkaido Government Sorachi General Subprefectural Bureau.
Tips about visiting Kyoto
- Although Kyoto is the most popular sight-seeing place in Japan, the wine region is a little far from the central area. You can go there as one-day trip from central Kyoto. Stay for several nights in the centre of Kyoto and spend one (or more) day to visit wineries alongside the temple/shrine visiting in other day(s) is recommended.
- Climate (average during 1981-2010)
- Annual mean temperature: 15.39 C
Annual mean precipitation: 1491.3 mm
- There is no shortage of sightseeing place such as temple, shrine, castle, and etc.
- There are many traditional Japanese restaurants which serve Tempra, Sukiyaki, Sushi, as well as Obanzai (traditional casual dishes). Some have micherin’s star. You can also enjoy Japanese sweets everywhere from An (sweet beans paste) to tea-flavoured gelato