Picking Grapes in Early Autumn

One of Nagano’s original grape varieties, Nagano Purple!

One of the joys of early autumn is harvest season, when fruit hangs low on the tree and is ripe for picking. During September and early October, you can pick grapes in vineyards throughout Nagano.

There are a wide variety of grapes to choose from. You’ll be surprised by the different flavors of Delaware, Niagara, and Steuben grapes, as well as the monstrous size of Kyoho and Nagano Purple. Don’t forget fan favorites like Shine Muscat!

Grape-Picking at Sorimachi Yuran-en Orchard

Grapes hang above the parking lot of Sorimachi Yuran-en

These photos are from the Sorimachi Yuran-en orchard in Northern Suzaka. Along the Fruits Line road here, there are 13 orchards offering grape and apple-picking during the autumn season. From Kitasuzaka Station on the Nagano Dentetsu line, the orchards are a 10 to 15 minute walk.

Our guide, Shun Sorimachi, picks out some ripened Nagano Purple grapes for us.

The fourth generation of Sorimachis, Shun Sorimachi, showed us around the vineyards and pointed out ripe bunches to pick. We crawled under trellises of grapes covered in paper bags, which are painstakingly tied by hand to each bunch. He pulled off the bags to reveal one of the region’s most delicious varieties, Nagano Purple.

Some of the grapes hang quite high, but you can reach them with the help of a ladder.

We also picked some Shine Muscat grapes, another popular variety in Nagano. Both of these varieties are seedless with edible skin. There are plenty of other varieties to pick as well, and you can sample them at Sorimachi’s storefront.

A delicious bunch of Shine Muscat grapes!

And Plenty of Other Places for Fruit-Picking in Nagano!

Two other areas that are popular for grape-picking include Shiojiri City and Miharashi Farm in Ina. Shiojiri is well known for its vineyards in the Kikyogahara Valley that produce excellent wine, and the grapes are pretty good too! Miharashi Farm has plenty of orchards and offers all kinds of fruit and vegetable picking, including strawberries, apples, blueberries, and even asparagus! They also have hot springs and cafeteria on premises, as well as soba-making lessons.

Enjoy this autumn season with freshly-picked grapes!

Sorimachi Yuran-en Orchard (Suzaka City)

Sorimachi Yuran-en, located just outside of Nagano City, offers grape-picking at its large orchard. While it doesn’t offer all-you-can-eat plans, their pay-per-bunch plan is great for people who don’t want to fill up too much. Enjoy freshly picked grapes underneath the shady canopy of the orchard.

Grape-Picking (pay per bunch)
Operating Period: Mid-September to October
Operating Hours: 8:30 to 17:00
Price: Depends on grape variety
Holidays: No holidays during harvest season
Website: http://blog.suzaka.jp/06sorimachi
Access: Take the Nagano Dentetsu train from Nagano Station to Kita-Suzaka Station. From there, a 15-min. walk.See Location in Google Maps.

Hara Noen (Shiojiri City)

A grape orchard in Shiojiri City with an incredibly cheap all-you-can-eat grape-picking plan, just a 15-minute walk from Shiojiri Station.

Grape-Picking (All-You-Can-Eat)
Operating Period: Mid-August to Late September
Operating Hours: 9:00 to 18:00 (fruit-picking until 16:00)
Price: 550 Yen (+300 yen before Aug. 16th, or for 2 or more grape varieties)
Access: Take the JR Chuo line from Matsumoto station to Shiojiri Station. From there, a 15 min. walk or a 5 min. taxi. See Location in Google Maps.

Miharashi Farm (Ina City)

This tourist farm offers a wide variety of activities for the whole family, from fruit-picking and cooking lessons to mountain biking and hot springs. 

Grape-Picking (One Hour All-You-Can-Eat*)
Operating Period: Mid-September to Late October
Operating Hours: 9:00 to 16:00 (reception ends after 15:00)
Price: 1,200 Yen (60 Yen for toddlers under 3)
Holidays: No holidays during the season
Website: http://miharashi-farm.com/pdf/english.pdf
Access: Take the JR Chuo line from Matsumoto Station to Okaya Station, then take the Jr Iida line to Inashi Station. From there, take the Miharashi Farm bus to your destination.
*Large grape varieties such as Pione, Kyoho, etc. are limited to one bunch per person

Crown Orchard (Togura Kamiyamada Onsen, Chikuma City)

Crown Orchard is located outside of the hot spring town of Togura Kamiyamada Onsen. The owners have experience abroad and are happy to speak with you in English about their orchard and fruit. Here, you can taste a wide variety of grapes and pick one bunch for yourself to take home.

Grape-Picking (Grape tasting and one bunch to-go)
Operating Period: September to Late October
Operating Hours: 8:00 to 17:00
Price: 2,000 Yen
Holidays: No holidays during the season
Website: www.sky.hi-ho.ne.jp/crown-farm/
Access: From Nagano Station, take the Shinano Railway train to Togura Station. From there, take the #9 Bus to Chishiki-ji (approx. 12 min.). The orchard is just to the west.

Yamanouchi Area Farms (Yamanouchi Town)

Yamanouchi, at the base of Shiga Kogen, is home to many apple and grape orchards (as well as the famous snow monkeys). You can arrange to go grape-picking at one of them through the Yamanouchi Town Green Tourism Council. See the website below for reservations.

Grape-Picking (All-You-Can-Eat for 30 min.)
Operating Period: September to Mid-October
Operating Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Price: 1,500 Yen (1,400 Yen for children)
Holidays: vary
Website: http://www.info-yamanouchi.net/cms/wp-content/themes/yamanouchi/dist/pdf/kudamono.pdf 
Access: From Nagano Station, take the Nagano Dentetsu line train to Yomase Station, or, take the Shigakogen line bus to Michinoeki Yamanouchi.


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