Welcome! To a system of orchards spread across an alluvial fan! Tradition & Evolution: The Fruit Farming System in the Kyoto Region of Yamanashi Prefecture
Fruit Cultivation Techniques
Local Traditional Knowledge Systems
Thick, sparsely planted vines trained over ingenious Koshu-style trellises
In the Kyoto region, farmers have developed an array of techniques to ensure stable fruit production on small plots of farmland.
Of particular note is the grape cultivation method in which thick, sparsely planted vines are trained over Koshu-style trellises. This ingenious adaptative technique unique to Japan was developed to counter the wet, humid climate and achieve stable grape production, and has now become a foundational technique for grape cultivation in Japan.
Meticulous manual approaches to cultivation
Where fresh eating is concerned, advanced cultivation techniques have been developed through meticulous manual approaches that seek to cultivate fruit that is even considered a work of art in its own right, spurred by the Japanese people’s delicate sense of taste and a unique culture that prizes the size of the fruit and the beauty of its appearance. In the case of grapes, such an approach involves training/pruning, cluster thinning/shaping, grape thinning, use of paper umbrellas for protection against rain, and harvesting; for peaches, cultivation involves training/pruning, bud/flower thinning, pollination, fruit thinning, use of bags for protection, and harvesting.
Satoyama conservation by local residents
The Kyoto region has suffered from frequent landslides and floods in the past, and flooding was especially common during the Meiji period (1868-1912).
Ever since 1911, when Emperor Meiji bestowed all of the Iriai-goryochi (Imperial Forest) in Yamanashi Prefecture to the prefectural government (called “Onshirin”), local residents in each area have formed conservation groups through municipal ordinances in order to carry out conservation activities. Forest conservation activities have also been carried out in the Kyoto region, laying the foundations that have enabled local residents to maintain stable livelihoods on the alluvial fan to this day.
Managing precious water resources
The distinctive alluvial topography of the Kyoto region has made it difficult to secure water, and for agriculture and daily life water has been secured through a network of more than 300 waterways of various sizes (known as “segi”), which were constructed hundreds of years ago.
The organized activities to maintain and manage these waterways have been passed down to the present, which, along with the human connections in the community, have helped the region overcome many disasters and maintain its fruit farming system.