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A Winery in Japan

Updated on September 26, 2015

My Trip to Shuzenji

A friend of mine had created an itinerary for us to visit the Izu peninsula area of Japan. I have never been in that area and I was under the impression that Mt. Fuji can be seen there (in its god like splendor). I had always wanted to visit near that area and now that chance has finally come.

Being a foreigner or (gaijin)... as I am, this visit wasn't too difficult for me as my travel companion had made it much easier to get around. The only thing for me was the enduring of the summer heat Japan is known for. But there is more to it than I had expected. To me it was like being in an episode of the program "Soko ga Shiritai". In the TV series, you're never really know where the adventures will take you.

Our adventures actually started in Odawara to visit the "Odawara castle". After, we headed out leaving for Mishima and had lunch near the station. We had a wonderful unagi lunch set. Sliced eel on top of rice with miso soup and pickled vegetables, etc...Then a little walk around the area to kill some time and then off to Shuzenji by train.

Image courtesy of Worakit Sirijinda / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Visiting Odawara Castle and Mishima Shrine

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Just arrived and we're outside near Odawara Station.Arriving at Odawara Castle just before crossing the bridge.The entrance post.The Castle in it's Magnificence !Up close for a better view.  It always looks so much better in real life than in TV.Arriving outside of Mishima station.A beautiful pond outside.  My lunch set.  Eel over rice, miso soup, pickled vegetables, salad and sweet potatoes.Unagi... (Delicious Eel) over rice. Salad and sweet potatoes.A restaurant coupon.Statues outside a park.Discovered a pet store after lunch.  Birds of beautiful colors...I thought.Beautiful flowers on the way...A deer at a park near a temple.A beautiful garden on temple grounds.Mishima Taisha ShrineA walk through a small park around the block.From the melted snow on top of Mt. Fuji,  It takes many years to reach Japan's natural fountains such as this one.
Just arrived and we're outside near Odawara Station.
Just arrived and we're outside near Odawara Station.
Arriving at Odawara Castle just before crossing the bridge.
Arriving at Odawara Castle just before crossing the bridge.
The entrance post.
The entrance post.
The Castle in it's Magnificence !
The Castle in it's Magnificence !
Up close for a better view.  It always looks so much better in real life than in TV.
Up close for a better view. It always looks so much better in real life than in TV.
Arriving outside of Mishima station.
Arriving outside of Mishima station.
A beautiful pond outside.
A beautiful pond outside.
 My lunch set.  Eel over rice, miso soup, pickled vegetables, salad and sweet potatoes.
My lunch set. Eel over rice, miso soup, pickled vegetables, salad and sweet potatoes.
Unagi... (Delicious Eel) over rice.
Unagi... (Delicious Eel) over rice.
Salad and sweet potatoes.
Salad and sweet potatoes.
A restaurant coupon.
A restaurant coupon.
Statues outside a park.
Statues outside a park.
Discovered a pet store after lunch.  Birds of beautiful colors...I thought.
Discovered a pet store after lunch. Birds of beautiful colors...I thought.
Beautiful flowers on the way...
Beautiful flowers on the way...
A deer at a park near a temple.
A deer at a park near a temple.
A beautiful garden on temple grounds.
A beautiful garden on temple grounds.
Mishima Taisha Shrine
Mishima Taisha Shrine
Source
A walk through a small park around the block.
A walk through a small park around the block.
From the melted snow on top of Mt. Fuji,  It takes many years to reach Japan's natural fountains such as this one.
From the melted snow on top of Mt. Fuji, It takes many years to reach Japan's natural fountains such as this one.

Japan Travel Guidebooks

Japan by Rail, 3rd: includes rail route guide and 30 city guides
Japan by Rail, 3rd: includes rail route guide and 30 city guides

This book is a must for making the best out of your trip when using the Japan Rail Pass. Included are railway time tables and route guides covering train journeys all over Japan. Here you get information on all budgets on where to eat and what to see (historical and cultural background included) in 30 towns and cities. Customs, etiquette and some Japanese phrases are also included.

 

Hotel Winery Hill

A Remote Hotel Stay Destination

Shizuoka near Shuzenji. (The center of the Izu peninsula).

I am not familiar with this area at all. But being in the country side was a wonderful treat. Away from the hustle and bustle I am quite familiar with. None of those sardined packed train rides I remember during the rush hour commute in Tokyo.

So relaxing and carefree it could have been, but we were on a time schedule so we had to do a little rushing since there was an incident with the train operations that day which often occurs in Japan. If you know what I mean. So sad to say.

It was quite hot but is expected in the early month of August. I couldn't wait to find shelter in any air conditioned building I could find myself in. Minutes later the bus came to pick us up. I could not wait to get cooled and comfortable as I quickly got on the bus seeking refuge, and finally experiencing that temporary moment of refreshing luxury.The bus was free and was especially there to pick us up to take us to the hotel we were staying at. It would take us about 25 minutes to get there.

The ride was refreshing. After taking it all in, I began to picture in my mind how it would be like as I observed what seemed as the everyday life routine in that sort of town from day to day. Looking out the window I just imagined. Soon after passing some homes and fields, we took a turn onto a mountainous region. There were turns going up with forests on either side with a few homes scattered here and there. Not too many of them. And finally we had reached our destination. Our hotel stood high on top in these woods. I did not expect to see.

* picture by me of Hotel Winery Hill

My Hotel Stay

Hotel Amenities

Once we arrived we had some time to kill before we could check in. With just about a couple of hours to go, we decided to walk around and take some pictures. There was a huge field across from our hotel. Down a road near the area were homes lined up on one side of the street. The homes seemed to have some Victorian or European influences to them.

Soon after, we decided to take a swim in their swimming pool. I really don't like to go swimming but it was a reason to cool off once again. It was probably in my intermediate school years I last took swimming lessons. It was so awkward now to attempt to swim for I have aged and have gotten out of shape.

After the pool, we decided to try the outdoor spring area. Very simple, nothing so great. However, there is also a private bath area including a hot spring, a cold water pool section, and a sauna. I love to relax and soak myself in the hot springs and sweat all of the toxins right out of my body when going into the sauna room. This was the place to be! Not too many people, so I found it quite comfortable.

Now, time to check in. We stayed in a 2 bedroom which included a separate tatami mat room. Quite spacious indeed with a nice touch to it. Contrary to a western style hotel room, I've never expected that. I am quite pleased. And although the bathroom was not so spacious like the western style, it was surely better than the ones at the business hotels I've stayed at in Japan. They are very small. They are comparable to the restrooms in an airplane. Just add the shower stall right next to the toilet seat and sink and there you have it.

* Picture above taken by me

The Free Wine Tasting Event

We are going to a free wine tasting that comes with the hotel stay, I'm told. My very first and again I did not know what to expect. I thought we were going to another part of the hotel where the event would be held. I was not expecting anything more.

While outside, we waited a bit for the free bus ride to take us to the wine tasting site. The bus arrives and I have no clue where the bus will take us. Down a road it takes us and onto another winding road, further away from civilization, so it seems. Where are we ? After about 8 minutes, We come upon a field, and rows of grapevines.

My first experience being at a place like this.

In the distance, I began to notice a lightly pinkish colored building amid the vineyards as if set as a centerpiece, displaying it's timeless beauty, loftiness, and quiet within. In a way it reminds me of something right out of the movie "The Shining" by Stephen King.

The bus then drops us off near the front entrance part of the building which is on the back side. A quiet and desolate feeling in the air as we arrived but a bit more welcoming as we began to enter. The place was brightly lit with the sun shining in through the glass windows. With a small group of people inside, our tour guide then takes us on the tour, leading us downstairs into the wine cellar holding a remarkable collection of vintage wines. A spark of interest about wine just might have been kindled within me. How fascinating! Only time will tell as a result of my visit.

After the indoor tour of the building we were then escorted outside to see the breathtaking view of the vineyards. Our tour guide had mentioned that on a clear day you can see Mt. Fuji. However this was not the case on that very day. We were told that the pollutants in the air coming from China had blocked out the view and so it was quite disappointing for me.

Towards the ending of our tour, we had some free wine tasting samples. Juice for the kids of course. Behind the premium wine area you can sample more if you wanted to, but at a price. I went on to take more pictures outside. The building in itself was quite lovely. I was enjoying the moment. While leaving the winery I had a sense of admiration for the place. I was so glad to have gone there. I had never ever thought of visiting a winery in Japan one day and that the time would come for me to do so.

* Picture above taken by me

My Stay at Hotel Winery Hill

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Winery Building... (Up Close)A two bedroom at Hotel Winery Hill.A separate tatami mat room.The Winery - Front desk.Nationwide Champagne and Wine Challenge display.The Wine Cellar - Downstairs.Wine Making Process (pic) 1.Wine Making Machinery (pic) 2.Wind Making Machinery (pic) 3.List of Marriages.Wine tasting for a price (Premium Wine Area).Wine and juice tasting area... FREE !Wine and snacks to go !Side dish area.Another view of the Winery.The side patio view of the Winery.A view if the beautiful vineyards outside.An extension of the patio area.A beautiful sight. Mt. Fuji can be seen on a clear day here.  But not today unfortunately.The Vineyards surrounds the Winery.
The Winery Building... (Up Close)
The Winery Building... (Up Close)
A two bedroom at Hotel Winery Hill.
A two bedroom at Hotel Winery Hill.
A separate tatami mat room.
A separate tatami mat room.
The Winery - Front desk.
The Winery - Front desk.
Nationwide Champagne and Wine Challenge display.
Nationwide Champagne and Wine Challenge display.
The Wine Cellar - Downstairs.
The Wine Cellar - Downstairs.
Wine Making Process (pic) 1.
Wine Making Process (pic) 1.
Wine Making Machinery (pic) 2.
Wine Making Machinery (pic) 2.
Wind Making Machinery (pic) 3.
Wind Making Machinery (pic) 3.
List of Marriages.
List of Marriages.
Wine tasting for a price (Premium Wine Area).
Wine tasting for a price (Premium Wine Area).
Wine and juice tasting area... FREE !
Wine and juice tasting area... FREE !
Wine and snacks to go !
Wine and snacks to go !
Side dish area.
Side dish area.
Another view of the Winery.
Another view of the Winery.
The side patio view of the Winery.
The side patio view of the Winery.
A view if the beautiful vineyards outside.
A view if the beautiful vineyards outside.
An extension of the patio area.
An extension of the patio area.
A beautiful sight. Mt. Fuji can be seen on a clear day here.  But not today unfortunately.
A beautiful sight. Mt. Fuji can be seen on a clear day here. But not today unfortunately.
The Vineyards surrounds the Winery.
The Vineyards surrounds the Winery.

Remembering my first Japan trip in the 80's !

Japan - One of My Highlights

It all started with my very first international trip to Osaka, Japan. This had happened many years ago in the late 80's. I had the privilege of knowing and visiting my long time friend whom I knew since our elementary school days, or (our hanabata days). When kids go through the runny nose phase (nose boogers or nose butter).

I have come to love and appreciate my Japanese roots and culture since then. I have been to Japan many times and for the first time I have written about one of the highlights of my recent trip. This is one of my many memorable experiences.

Visiting Shizuoka / Shuzenji gave me an experience I've never thought would have happened after visiting the place I had just visited...the "Izu Nakaizu Winery Chateau T. S." winery / Hotel Winery Hill.

I would have never known about a place like this ever existed with vineyards producing 12 different types of wine. All of this including a great view of Mt. Fuji that can be seen on a clear day. So if you're ever thinking about visiting near Shuzenji, here is a place to check out.

*photo taken by me

A marker410-2501 Shizuoka, Izu, Shimoshiroiwa 1434 -
Kamishiraiwa, Izu, Shizuoka 410-2501, Japan
get directions

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    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 2 years ago

      a good share Min

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 3 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @Nancy Hardin: Thank you NancyCarol for reading and enjoying my lens. I thought a lens on a winery in Japan would be quite interesting and because I never knew this place even existed in Japan.

      I am so happy to share my experiences with others as if I am there with them on a tour through picture taking and writing.

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 3 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @Merrci: Thank you so much, "Merrci" and I'm so glad you liked my lens. I always hope to make it as though I am taking (the reader) along with me as if on a tour. I really like it when others share their experiences as well.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Very enjoyable and interesting lens. You took us along on your trip! Loved your photos and descriptions.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I enjoyed this lens very much. I would love to visit Japan, but unable because of my health. I visit through others stories, like this one. Thank you for sharing.

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 3 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @Milkcananime: Wow ! I'm impressed ! I wish I could learn the language. Did you practice speaking with someone regularly to help you with learning the language?

      Did you know also that there is a place for cos-play and Japanese anime fans to go to at "Nakano Broadway" in Nakano, Tokyo? I did a lens on the place and if you ever go to Tokyo again, you might want to check it out. It is in a shopping complex right next to Nakano station. Check out my " Nakano Broadway for geeks" lens.

      Lots of Japanese, American collectibles... Books, CD's DVD's,

      cosplay clothing and accessories, maid cafes...etc.

    • Milkcananime profile image

      Max Wong 3 years ago from Singapore

      I have been to Osaka and Toyko sometime in 2002. I didn't know much Japanese. However, I was thrilled by their polite culture and soothing Japanese language. I returned to Singapore and took up Japanese lessons for 5 years! Now I have JLPT4 and 3. I can converse in Japanese quite fluently now. :)

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @ajgodinho: Thank you ajgodinho for visiting my lens. Yes, it was quite an experience and It was my first

      visiting a winery, especially in Japan. : D Much appreciation again Thank you for visiting.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for sharing your memorable trip to Japan. Looks like you had a great time and more importantly got a chance to really appreciate your roots and culture!

    • Aladdins Cave profile image

      Aladdins Cave 4 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Hello and thank you for lens. Pity the photo's did not seem to work.

      Thanks for looking at my Road Trip Japan lens and liking it.

      Cheers from DOWNUNDER

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @mel-kav: Thank you so much for reading my lens and kind comments mel-kav. : D

    • MarathonRunning profile image

      Martina 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Thanks for those information! I didn`t know nothing about Japanese wines before.

      Great Lens!

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 4 years ago

      I enjoyed your story. It sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Your pictures are beautiful!

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @MarathonRunning: And thank you for liking my lens MarathonRunning. : D

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @MarathonRunning: I didn't know such a place existed myself in Japan. Japan is so full of surprises...you just never know what to expect beyond the temples, mountains, and so forth.

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @HappyTom LM: Cheers !!! Thank you for liking my lens. : D

    • HappyTom LM profile image

      Tom Christen 4 years ago from Switzerland/Ecuador

      WOW, great lens! I did not know that Japan makes wine. I tried a few sakes and whiskies from japan, and they are great. Looking forward to have soon my first glass of japanese wine. Have a wonderful day, kind regards Tom

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @alyssamathew89: Thank you for your comment. I was actually surprised myself. I never knew Japan had a winery.

    • alyssamathew89 profile image

      alyssamathew89 4 years ago

      Wow! great info.

      Thanks for sharing with us :)

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @anonymous: Actually there are many kool things to do in Japan. Please visit one day.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      that i did not know! I wanted to go to japan for their onsen =d

      now i've got a new place to viisit. thanks

    • profile image

      golfspice 4 years ago

      Thanks for the snapshot of your trip to Japan. Although unlikely, I would like to visit one day.

    • SamiPearl profile image

      SamiPearl 4 years ago

      Great lens! Welcome to Squidoo!

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @TipsForMoms: I do agree. I hope to read some of your lens when visiting Japan. I love exploring and reading about different places in Japan. Thank you for reading and liking my lens. : D

    • TipsForMoms profile image

      TipsForMoms 4 years ago

      I love visiting friends and relatives in Japan. Each trip I try to see one new city or town because each has its own flavor.

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @sierradawn lm: Thank you Sierradawn for enjoying my lens. Yes, Hawaii is so beautiful... but I really enjoy my Japan visits. Japan is beautiful in a different way and so many things you can do or see that is different. I love both worlds. Thanks again and please do visit when you get a chance. : D

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @sierradawn lm: Thank you Sierradawn for enjoying my lens. Yes, Hawaii is so beautiful... but I really enjoy my Japan visits. Japan is beautiful in a different way and so many things you can do or see that is different. I love both worlds. Thanks again and please do visit when you get a chance. : D

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      I had so much fun taking this tour that you gave your readers! It was informative and delightful! I lived in Hilo on the Big Island for 5 years and got to visit Honolulu often. Hawaii is the best place on the earth to live but you are making Japan sound very inviting!

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @Fufurinha47: Thank you fufurinha for liking my lens. Thank you all...

      WriterJanis,Rubystars79,Takkhis,Tonyaalves,Smine27 !!!

      Thank you for all your time in reading. : D

    • Fufurinha47 profile image

      Beatriz 4 years ago from Portugal

      Loved your lends :D

      I wish I could visit japan

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @tonyaalves3: Thank you for reading my lens. : D

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @takkhisa: Thank you for reading my lens. : D

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @MissRubyStars: Thank you for reading my lens. Please do visit Japan when you can.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      It sounds like a wonderful trip. I haven't been there in years, but would love to go to Japan again one day.

    • MissRubyStars profile image

      MissRubyStars 4 years ago

      I love reading about foreign places. One day I may be able to venture over there but for now I'm grateful you brought this piece of Japan to us.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Excellent lens! It is fully personal and loved reading your first lens. I hope to see a new lens from you soon. Good luck :)

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @smine27: Thank you for your support and comment. : D

    • Minoru10 profile image
      Author

      Michael Yoshinaka 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      @tonyaalves3: Thank your comments and support. : D

    • tonyaalves3 profile image

      tonyaalves3 4 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your lens. Thanks for sharing

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Great information about the winery. Never knew about that. Thanks for sharing!