Sasaki, Niigata, Japan – Day 4(a)

Since this was a onsen hotel, so breakfast provided was buffet or per the Japanese way – Viking style. A well mix of Japanese and western sections were there. Breakfast times are usually early in Japanese lodging as check out is usually at 9am or 10am.

lonely busstop
The lonely bus stop, a lucky thing for us as it was just right outside the hotel!

Then it was a 20 minutes ride to Toyosake Station (豊栄駅)and a 10 minutes train ride later, we would arrive to Sasaki Station (佐々木駅)A very small station with only 1 JR staff manning the counter and just 5 minutes walk out of the station, you are greeted with a river and fields of vegetation from home gardens and some homes.

hunting for grapes
The activity for the day was “hunting” for grapes! Why hunting as picking fresh grapes is know as “狩りぶどう” which is directly translated to hunting for grapes. I was totally excited as this is just some activity that the urban city girl like me that wanted to try for so long!

The farm we went to was 坂上ぶどう園 (S-budouen) and at that period, there have 3 types of specifics of grapes for picking.

But before we start, a box of samplers was give to us to start our tasting. 1 thing I love about Japanese grapes is that not only there are extremely juicy and sweet but you can just give the skin a light push and the grape flesh will just pop into your mouth, which is also know as the slip skin grape type…..ah, heavenly!

There were ready picked grapes from the earlier weeks out for sale, you can also sample them. I never knew there were so many types of grapes. That day I tried 8 different types. This would be the famous Kyoho Grapes (巨峰), period of availability is early September to late October.

Kyoho grapes are a Concord-like cross (Vitis vinifera x Vitis labrusca) between Ishihara and Centennial grape varieties. Like Concord, Kyoho is a slip-skin variety, meaning that the skin is easily separated from the fruit. Kyoho grapes are blackish-purple, or almost black, with large seeds. While the seeds are bitter and the skin is not traditionally eaten, the flesh is juicy with high sugar content and mild acidity.
Kyoho grapes were first produced in 1937 in Shizuoka Prefecture, but were not so named until 1946. They are popular in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea for their size and very sweet flesh. They are traditionally served peeled as a dessert. Areas of production include Nagano Prefecture, Yamanashi Prefecture, California’s Central Valley, Changhua County in Taiwan, and Chile.


Rosario Bianco (ロザリオビアンコ), white premium grapes that is pale yellow green that is less acidic but juicy and sweet, period of availability is mid September to mid October.. I think it is a Japanese breed as I could only find information of it in Japanese.

Seedless Kyohoa grapes (種無し巨峰), period of availability is late August to mid September. My favorite as the Kyoho grapes are in general a little bitter so the seedless ones is great for the lazy person like me to slide the grape in my mouth and eat it without any hint of bitter 😉

Shinano Smile (シナノスマイル) dark red big grapes, period of availability is mid September to early October. The sweetness range is mid range.

Bailey A (ベリーA), dark grape that belongs to the muscato family with moderate acidity, available in late September to late October.

Seto Giants (瀬戸ジャイアンツ) also know as Momotaro Grapes (桃太郎ぶどう) from Okayama, thin skin and sweet grape usually seedless. Available mid September to late September.

Dark Ridge (ダークリッジ), modified Kyoho grape type which is more sweet, usually available early September to early October.

Suiho (翠峰), the most expensive grape type from the farm at 2000Yen/kg. Grapes are sweet and huge in size with moderate acidity. I felt a tinge of honey when I ate it. Available in early September to mid September.

With so many different varieties of grapes in our stomachs that it was a little tough to decide which one to pick

A great place for families to pass time and for the urbanites to check out. I simply love it there not only for the juicy and fresh grapes but also some time to chill under nature. Of course, I had to haul some back home 🙂 10% discount if you print out the coupon from their website but we didn’t but the obasan was kind enough to give us 10% discount just because “the young people who would come back came with reference to the internet” hee.

〒957-0123 新潟県北蒲原郡 聖籠町大字二本松1057−2

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. astrorainfall @ beauty box
    Oct 28, 2011 @ 12:02:06

    Looks like you had a beautiful day here….I think I learned a lot about grapes reading your post – 😉

  2. Xuan-er
    Oct 28, 2011 @ 16:19:16

    @yuming : thank you, I did… I was really excited as it was something that I wanna try for sometime. Though my grape description may not be 100% accurate as my Japanese is quite limited to translate it properly from jap search. But apparently there are a lot of types of grapes more than the red and white 😉
    I am glad you liked the post as it took me some time to write it. Hehe

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