Japan: Commuters on the Grapevine

 

Rail commuters in one Japanese city have arguably the most unusual station decor in the world: Two of its platforms do double duty as a working vineyard in one of Japan's best wine-growing areas.

Shiojiri Station, in Nagano prefecture, has been growing Niagara and Merlot grapes since 1988, when the vines were planted as part of a promotion for the area's wineries. They are maintained by Japan Railways staff, local volunteers and members of the local tourism association, under guidance by grape farmers.

The grapes are processed by local vintners, and are then sold through the tourism association's webpages and social media; wines from last summer's harvest will be available in August.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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