The town of Tanushimaru is famous as the birthplace of Kyoho grapes, known as the “king of grapes”. It’s also where the first vineyards in Japan were opened to tourists. The area is blessed with beautiful natural scenery including the Chikugogawa River (the largest river in Kyushu), the lush green Chikushi Plains and the Minou Mountain Range. Fruit farms are everywhere and await your visit!
A kappa, mischievous imp, holding some of Tanushimaru’s signature fruits.
Once you’ve tasted freshly picked, tree-ripened fruits, you’ll never go back to store bought!
Grape: Aug. 10 ~ late Sep.
Fig: mid-Aug. ~ mid-Nov.
Persimmon: mid-Oct. ~ late Nov.
Clementine: late Oct. ~ late Nov.
Strawberry: late Jan. ~ mid-May
1. There are approximately 150 vineyards in Tanushimaru, 59 of which are members of a growers’ association. Look for their green signs.
2. Entry is free; includes some (limited) tasting.
3. Peek inside the hole in the paper bag to check size and color. Then use scissors to cut the stem.
4. You pay for what you pick. Prices vary by season, but generally ¥1,100 ~ ¥2,000/kg.
5. There are various kinds of grapes, including their famous dark purple Khoyo, green Muscat and others.
You can also pick naturally grown figs at two farms in Tanushimaru. Varieties include Banane figs from France, which have green skins and can be eaten without peeling, and the honey-sweet Toyomitsuhime figs.
• ¥1,000 ~ ¥1,500/kg
• Free entry, tasting allowed.
• Eco Farm Yokomizo-en (0943-73-0808), Seiko Farm (090-4349-2104)
Kyoho Grape Winery
Brewing wine from 100% Tanushimaru-grown Kyoho grapes, this is Kyushu’s oldest winery (since 1972), with a wine-making process unique to Japan. Besides Kyoho grapes, they also produce fruit wine from fruits such as blueberries, Amaou strawberries and persimmons picked from neighboring farms. Tours of their underground cellar and wine tastings (and shopping) are available, and there’s a very pleasant cafe serving meals (Restaurant Heurige).
Kyoho Grape Winery
246-1 Masuoda, Tanushimaru-machi, Kurume
Closed: New Year’s period
Lunch: 11:00~15:00, Cafe: 15:00~17:00 (L.O.: 16:00), Dinner: reservations required
Closed: Tue. (following day if Tue. is Hol.), New Years period
Located just a few minutes by car from Tanushimaru Station, this bakery offers 50 kinds of heavenly baked goodies every day. The owner trained at popular shops and bakeries before opening this bakery in his hometown in 2003. The bakery has since grown in popularity; now, it is not only loved by locals, but some pilgrimage here from far, far away. If you’re lucky, you’ll arrive just as they set out a fresh batch of flaky, buttery croissants. This not just another countryside bakery, but one that would be raved about even in the most sophisticated cities. Prepare to be impressed.
Address: 873-12 Masuoda, Tanushimaru-machi, Kurume, Fukuoka
Hours: 8:00~17:00 (Sun.: 8:00~18:00)
Closed: Tue. and Wed.
Via toll road: Fukuoka IC ~ Amagi IC, ¥1,190 (approx. 40 min.); then head southward on Route 33 for approx. 15 min. Arrive at Tanushimaru Sta.
Via Urban Expressway & toll road: Tenjin Kita ~ Dazaifu, ¥620 (approx. 20 min.); Dazaifu IC ~ Amagi IC, ¥880 (approx. 25 min.)
Hakata Sta. ~ Tanushimaru Sta. (incl. 1 transfer), ¥1,110 (approx. 1 hr. 10 min., excl. transfer time)
Take the Kagoshima Honsen Line (bound for Omuta): Hakata Sta. → Kurume Sta. (approx. 35~40 min.)
Change to Kyudai Honsen Line (bound for Hita): Kurume Sta. → Tanushimaru Sta. (approx. 30 min.).
Nishitetsu Tenjin Expressway Bus Terminal ~ Tanushimaru Chuo (incl. 2 transfers), ¥2,180 (approx. 2 hr. 25 min., excl. transfer time)
Take the Nishitetsu Bus (Rapid) Airport Bus (bound for Fukuoka Airport International Terminal): Nishitetsu Tenjin Expressway Bus Terminal → Fukuoka International Airport.
Change to Nishitetsu Bus (Expressway) (bound for JR Kurume Sta. (Nawate)): Fukuoka International Airport → Nishitetsu Kurume
Change to Nishitetsu Bus No. 20 or 23 (bound for Yoshii and Ukiha): Nishitetsu Kurume → Tanushimaru Chuo
Rental station: JR Tanushimaru Sta.
Rental hours: 9:00~17:00
Closed: Tue., 12/29 ~ 1/4
General and children’s bikes: ¥300 (for 4 hrs or less), ¥500 (1 day)
Motorized bicycles: ¥500 (for 4 hrs or less), ¥800 (1 day)
*Bicycles are available to rent until 30 min. before closing time.
Tel.: 0943-72-4956 (Kurume Bureau of Tourism and International Exchange, Tanushimaru Office)
Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn213, Sep. 2016)