The Star of Japanese Vineyards: Understanding the Appeal of Kyoho Grapes

The Star of Japanese Vineyards: Understanding the Appeal of Kyoho Grapes

Where do Kyoho Grapes originate from?

Japan's love for perfection and uniqueness has led to some incredible creations, and their grapes are no exception. Enter Kyoho grapes (巨峰), star-studded grapes that have captured the hearts and taste buds of many around the globe. Known for their large size, thick skins, and juicy sweetness, Kyoho grapes are a true testament to Japan's meticulous horticulture.

 

Kyoho grapes
Photo by photoAC

But where do these stellar fruits hail from? It's none other than the Land of the Rising Sun itself. Kyoho grapes were bred in Japan in the 1930s and quickly became a popular variety. The name "Kyoho" translates to "giant mountain grapes", hinting at their large size and the mountainous regions they thrive in. The parent varieties that were crossbred to produce the Kyoho were Ishiharawase and Centennial, chosen for their excellent flavor and size traits, respectively.

 

Kyoho grapes in a vineyardPhoto by photoAC

Though the Kyoho was originally bred in Japan, it's now grown in several countries worldwide, including China, Korea, and the United States, particularly in California. However, Japan remains the leading producer of Kyoho grapes. Specific regions in Japan, such as Yamanashi and Nagano, are particularly famed for their Kyoho grape cultivation. They offer the perfect combination of soil composition and climate, ideal for nurturing these juicy, sweet, and slightly sour grapes.

 

Popular Desserts Made from Kyoho Grapes

Kyoho grapes aren't just enjoyed as a fresh fruit; they've also found their way into the kitchen, with chefs using them to create delectable desserts. The grape's natural sweetness and slight tartness make it an ideal ingredient for a variety of sweet treats.


Star Kyoho grapesPhoto by photoAC

One of the most popular Kyoho grape desserts is Kyoho grape jelly (巨峰ゼリー). This dessert perfectly captures the grape's essence, combining its sweet and tart flavors with the refreshing feel of jelly. In Japan, it's commonly served in the summer as a light and cooling dessert. The jelly, made from the grape juice, is often filled with a whole grape for a delightful surprise.

 

Kyoho grape sorbet ice cream dessert
A refreshing kyoho grape sorbet | Photo by photoAC

Kyoho grape sorbet is another refreshing dessert that showcases the fruit's distinct flavor. The sorbet is typically made with just grape juice, sugar, and a bit of lemon juice, allowing the grape's natural flavors to shine through. It's the perfect dessert to beat the summer heat and enjoy the rich flavor of Kyoho grapes at the same time.

 

Kyoho and shine muscat tart
The kings and queens of Japanese grapes (Kyoho & Shine Muscat) on a tart | Photo by photoAC

Kyoho grapes can also be used in baked goods. They're a great addition to tarts, adding a sweet and slightly sour pop of flavour. Kyoho grape tarts often feature the grapes as the star, with the grapes sitting atop a creamy custard filling.

 

Red wine with grapes

Finally, there's the decadent Kyoho grape wine. Yes, these grapes aren't just confined to desserts! The wine made from Kyoho grapes is known for its rich, fruity flavour and deep purple color. It's a great way to enjoy the essence of Kyoho grapes in a more grown-up way.

 


Kyoho Grapes Season

Variety of grapes
Photo by photoAC

Just like other fruits, Kyoho grapes have a specific growing season. Knowing when this season is will help you enjoy the grapes at their freshest and most flavorful. Typically, the Kyoho grape season starts in mid-summer and lasts until early fall. This is when the grapes reach their peak sweetness and size.

 

Wrapped kyoho grapes and shine muscats
Photo by photoAC

During the season, you'll find Kyoho grapes in many grocery stores and markets across Japan. They're often packaged in beautiful boxes, making them popular gifts. You might also see vendors selling them at roadside stands, especially in the grape-growing regions of Yamanashi and Nagano.

 

Kyoho grapes in the farm
Photo by photoAC

Farmers take great care during the harvest season to ensure the grapes are picked at just the right time. The grapes need to be ripe enough to reach their full flavor potential, but not overly so that they become mushy or spoil quickly. It's a delicate balance that requires a good understanding of the grape's growing habits and close monitoring of the vineyard.

 

When are they harvested?

Harvesting kyoho grapes
Photo by photoAC

In Japan, Kyoho grapes are typically harvested in late August to September. This is when the grapes have developed their characteristic large size and sweet, slightly tart flavor. However, the exact timing can vary based on the local climate and weather conditions. In regions with milder summers, the harvest might start a bit later, while in hotter regions, it could begin earlier.

Harvesting Kyoho grapes is a labour-intensive process, requiring careful handling to avoid damaging the fruit. The grapes are often hand-picked, one cluster at a time. After picking, the grapes are carefully packaged to protect them during transport.

 

Father and child grape picking
Photo by photoAC

It's also worth noting that some farmers in Japan offer grape-picking experiences during the harvest season. Visitors can go to the vineyards, learn about the growing and harvesting process, and pick their own grapes. It's a fun and educational activity that lets you appreciate the hard work that goes into growing these incredible fruits.

 

Kyoho grapes in a basket
Photo by photoAC

So, there you have it: a closer look at the star of Japanese vineyards, the Kyoho grape. From its origins in Japan's mountainous regions to the delicious desserts made from it and its harvest season, this grape truly is a unique gem in the fruit world. Whether you're a fruit lover, a foodie, or simply curious about different types of fruits, the Kyoho grape is definitely worth trying.

 

Experience the Season with a Japanese Snack Box Subscription

There's something special about eating fruits in their peak season, isn't there? You get to enjoy them at their freshest, juiciest, and most flavorful. But what if you're not in Japan to enjoy the Kyoho grape season? Don't worry, we've got you covered. With JAPAN RAIL CLUB’s Omiyage Snack Box Subscription, you can experience a taste of Japan's seasons, including autumn's bountiful harvest, right at your doorstep.

Our snack box isn't just about traditional Japanese snacks. We also include treats that feature seasonal fruits, like the Kyoho grapes during their harvest season, as part of the snack box. It's our way of letting you experience Japan's rich and diverse food culture, one season at a time. Trust us, your taste buds are in for a treat!

Meet the author

Snack Lover

JAPAN RAIL CLUB's resident Snack Lover is on a mission to prove that there's a world of wonder within each snack! Whether in the form of a blog post or an info bite, find out more about the history, culture, and stories of each snack that Japan has to offer with Snack Lover. Snack Lover believes that it's not just about the snacks; it's about sharing, connecting, and creating unforgettable moments with loved ones.

Hungry for more?

Get on track with our monthly offerings of exclusive snacks from all over Japan!

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Photo by cyesuta (CC BY-SA 2.0)   Spring is a season of new beginnings, bringing with it beautiful flowers, comfortable temperatures, and a time of celebration. While most travellers head...

Carissa Loh Festival

Spring Beginnings: 6 Must-Visit Spring Festival...

Photo by cyesuta (CC BY-SA 2.0)   Spring is a season of new beginnings, bringing...

Castle Day (6 April): 10 Must-Visit Castles in Japan
Sue Lynn

Castle Day (6 April): 10 Must-Visit Castles in ...

Matsue Castle in spring. | Photo by 島根県観光連盟 Japan, a nation celebrated for its rich history and enduring cultural heritage, is particularly famous for its magnificent Japanese castles (お城 oshiro)....

Carissa Loh Culture

Castle Day (6 April): 10 Must-Visit Castles in ...

Matsue Castle in spring. | Photo by 島根県観光連盟 Japan, a nation celebrated for its rich...

Sakura Karinto and Marui Suzuki
Sue Lynn

Maker’s Story: Seasonal Karinto Snacks from Tok...

April marks the official arrival of spring in Japan, and one of the cherished traditions of celebrating this season is to enjoy “ohanami” (お花見)! Ohanami means “flower-viewing”, and this is...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

Maker’s Story: Seasonal Karinto Snacks from Tok...

April marks the official arrival of spring in Japan, and one of the cherished traditions...

A Guide to Sakura in Tohoku: Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Northeast Japan
Sue Lynn

A Guide to Sakura in Tohoku: Best Cherry Blosso...

Hirosaki Castle Park | Photo by Aomori Prefecture Cherry blossoms or sakura (桜) herald the start of springtime in Japan. Spring is the prettiest and most enjoyable season with radiant...

Wendy Ng Spring

A Guide to Sakura in Tohoku: Best Cherry Blosso...

Hirosaki Castle Park | Photo by Aomori Prefecture Cherry blossoms or sakura (桜) herald the...

A Guide to Japanese Shochu: A Tasting Tour of Shochu Distilleries in Miyazaki
Sue Lynn

A Guide to Japanese Shochu: A Tasting Tour of S...

Shochu (焼酎) is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages in Japan and the Japanese drink more shochu than sake. Considered to be Japan's national spirit, Shochu is gaining great...

Wendy Ng

A Guide to Japanese Shochu: A Tasting Tour of S...

Shochu (焼酎) is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages in Japan and the Japanese...

Tohoku: A Tale of Tradition through its Cultural Icons
Sue Lynn

Tohoku: A Tale of Tradition through its Cultura...

Statues of the Namahage located in Oga Peninsula. | Photo by PhotoAC Steeped in tradition, Tohoku (東北), the northeastern part of Japan comprising of six prefectures – Aomori (青森), Akita...

Dawn Sim Culture

Tohoku: A Tale of Tradition through its Cultura...

Statues of the Namahage located in Oga Peninsula. | Photo by PhotoAC Steeped in tradition,...

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Try Food from Northeast Japan
Sue Lynn

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Try Food from North...

Japan is a food paradise and beyond the major cities and well-trodden travel routes, you can unearth more culinary treasures spread throughout the country if you venture into the less...

Wendy Ng Food

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Try Food from North...

Japan is a food paradise and beyond the major cities and well-trodden travel routes, you...

Sakura 2024: 5 Must-Visit Cherry Blossom Spots in Tokyo for Ohanami
Sue Lynn

Sakura 2024: 5 Must-Visit Cherry Blossom Spots ...

If you have visited Tokyo between late March and early April, then chances are you have witnessed the enchanting sight of cherry blossoms (桜 sakura) in full bloom. A cherry...

Carissa Loh Culture

Sakura 2024: 5 Must-Visit Cherry Blossom Spots ...

If you have visited Tokyo between late March and early April, then chances are you...

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from Tohoku
Sue Lynn

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from ...

Located on the north-eastern part of mainland Japan, Tohoku (東北) is made up of six prefectures, and is a treasure trove of beautiful nature and fascinating history. It’s a wonderful...

Carissa Loh Food

Tasty Tohoku Treats: 6 Must-Buy Souvenirs from ...

Located on the north-eastern part of mainland Japan, Tohoku (東北) is made up of six...

Omiyage Day (8 March): Exploring Japan's Souvenir & Gift-Giving Culture
Sue Lynn

Omiyage Day (8 March): Exploring Japan's Souven...

Have you heard of omiyage (お土産)? If you’ve been to Japan, then you have probably seen the colourful and beautifully packaged boxes of local confectionery filling the gift shops along...

Carissa Loh Culture

Omiyage Day (8 March): Exploring Japan's Souven...

Have you heard of omiyage (お土産)? If you’ve been to Japan, then you have probably...

March Maker's Story: Hand-grilled Rice Crackers from Akita by Kanaeya
Sue Lynn

March Maker's Story: Hand-grilled Rice Crackers...

The Tohoku Region is home to some of Japan’s best untouched nature. Take Akita as an example, a prefecture where lush landscapes meet premium rice fields. Renowned for its exceptional...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

March Maker's Story: Hand-grilled Rice Crackers...

The Tohoku Region is home to some of Japan’s best untouched nature. Take Akita as...

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from Takachiho (Winner of JR East Omiyage Grand Prix 2023 - Koshin’etsu Area Prize)
Sue Lynn

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from...

If you have been to Japan, you will understand the universal struggle of finding the perfect souvenir or omiyage (お土産) to bring home for your loved ones and colleagues. While...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

March Maker’s Story: Obuse Chestnut Snacks from...

If you have been to Japan, you will understand the universal struggle of finding the...

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival Celebrating Girls’ Day
Sue Lynn

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival...

Displaying exquisitely made hina-ningyo dressed in traditional Heian attire is the main activity associated with the Hina Matsuri | ©photoAC Have you ever heard of Japan’s Hina Matsuri (雛祭)? Otherwise known...

Dawn Sim Culture

Hina Matsuri (3 March): Japan’s Spring Festival...

Displaying exquisitely made hina-ningyo dressed in traditional Heian attire is the main activity associated with the...

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Through The Eyes of Japanese Writers
Sue Lynn

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Throug...

If you are a fan of Japanese literature, take a walk in the footsteps of literary giants and look no further than Izu Peninsula (伊豆半島), which lies just about 1-2...

Dawn Sim Travel

Inspired by Izu: Exploring Izu Peninsula Throug...

If you are a fan of Japanese literature, take a walk in the footsteps of...

Mount Fuji with tea plantation in the foreground
Sue Lynn

Mount Fuji Day (23 February): 5 Ways to Enjoy J...

Standing at 3,776m above sea level, the almost perfectly symmetrical Mount Fuji (富士山 Fujisan) is Japan’s highest mountain, and has become a symbol of the country, recognised worldwide for its...

Carissa Loh Travel

Mount Fuji Day (23 February): 5 Ways to Enjoy J...

Standing at 3,776m above sea level, the almost perfectly symmetrical Mount Fuji (富士山 Fujisan) is...

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in Japan to Meet Feline Friends
Sue Lynn

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in J...

Are you a cat (猫 neko) lover? If you’ve been to Japan, you might have noticed how beloved cats are over there. Think maneki-neko (招き猫) cat figurines that beckon luck,...

Carissa Loh Culture

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in J...

Are you a cat (猫 neko) lover? If you’ve been to Japan, you might have...

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s Day in Japan
Sue Lynn

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s ...

Love is in the air in February with Valentine’s Day! On 14 February, Valentine’s Day is universally celebrated across the globe where presents like chocolates, candies, and flowers are gifted...

Wendy Ng Culture

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s ...

Love is in the air in February with Valentine’s Day! On 14 February, Valentine’s Day...

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the Izu Peninsula
Sue Lynn

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the...

With so many captivating attractions, you can spend days exploring the Izu Peninsula with your loved one, but where to start? Here are our top five picks for romantic dating...

Carissa Loh Travel

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the...

With so many captivating attractions, you can spend days exploring the Izu Peninsula with your...

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo”, Cafes, and the Railway Museum
Sue Lynn

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo...

Located just about half an hour north of Central Tokyo, Ōmiya Station (大宮駅 Ōmiya-eki) is the gateway to the neighbouring Saitama Prefecture (埼玉県). It is also a stop on more...

JAPANKURU Travel

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo...

Located just about half an hour north of Central Tokyo, Ōmiya Station (大宮駅 Ōmiya-eki) is...