Characteristics & History of the Kyoto Region/J-NIAHS Site
In Yamanashi Prefecture, the Fruit Farming System Adapted to the Alluvial Fan in the Kyoto Region inherits a tradition of growing the right crops for the land and its natural conditions, where deciduous fruit trees, such as grapes, peaches, and persimmons, are cultivated on an alluvial fan characterized by significant undulations and inclines.
Of particular note is the Koshu grape, Japan’s oldest grape variety with a cultivation history of 800, or perhaps even 1300 years. Its trellis-style cultivation method, which takes full advantage of the characteristics of the fruit, has made an impact throughout Japan as an original Japanese technique.
With diverse genetic resources—more than 300 varieties—now being passed on, the diverse, high-quality fruit cultivation is playing an important role in sustaining small-scale farms and boosting the resilience of fruit farming.
The orchards and their surrounding areas provide habitats for a wide range of species, and grass cultivation prevents soil loss on sloping land, supplies organic matter to the soil, and contributes greatly to biodiversity through the creation of plant and insect habitats.
This fruit farming system forms a mosaic landscape, which combines with the surrounding satoyama to produce beautiful rural scenery in all four seasons. Many tourists visit the region to experience this scenery and to tour the sightseeing orchards and wineries, contributing to the vitalization of the local economy.
Along with a winemaking tradition of more than 100 years, processed fruit products, including “korogaki” dried persimmons, are said to have been introduced 400 years ago. Born from the wisdom and efforts of our ancestors, these industries have helped secure stable livelihoods for farmers and a stable local economy, and have come to characterize the fruit farming system in the Kyoto region.
Such an outstanding fruit farming system enables profitable farming operations on small plots of land, allowing even small-scale, family-run farms to maintain a stable livelihood, culminating in a unique agricultural system of global importance.