Autumn Festivals in Yamanashi – Katsunuma Grape Festival

By Yuri Yuhara

One of the most famous and awaited events in Yamanashi, the Katsunuma Grape Festival is held annually in autumn in order to celebrate and show gratitude for this year's grape harvest.

This year (2017), the festival was held on October 7th at Katsunuma Central Park, located 10 min by shuttle bus from Katsunuma Budokyo Station, JR Chuo Line (more information about the event here). This sunny day had the perfect weather for the wine lovers – Japanese and foreigners from several nationalities - coming from all over Yamanashi Prefecture and its surroundings, making this festival unique for its cultural diversity and the slightly tipsy atmosphere.

Besides the free wine and grape juice offered to all visitors, those who purchased the festival official wine glass could tour the wineries booths and sample wines for unlimited times. Yamanashi‘s wine, specially Katsunuma produced ones, are famous for its exceptional quality, being some of the wineries worldwide renowned. Katsunuma Grape Festival is the only chance most people have to taste many famous wine in the same day, in the same place!

But the festival wasn’t only about wine. At the Park, groups of families and friends spread their picnic sheets and enjoyed festival foods and attractions during the afternoon. Mikoshi and Kodomo Mikoshi parade showed the traditional side of the festival before the sun went down, but at night the stage performances made everybody dance with popular songs from all time.

The night ended with the traditional Torii Yaki, when bonfires were lit in the shape of the Shinto portal called Torii. Here in Yamanashi, middle school students are in charge of lighting the bonfires and before that a ceremony is conducted near the stage, creating this fantastic view. 

The Katsunuma Grape Festival is a must go for any wine lover, but also a great event for those who want to experience an unique festival in the middle of beautiful grapevines fields. Hope to see you next year!

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