Think of Japanese wine, and Westerners
automatically think sake.
However, sake is the generic term for alcohol in Japan. What is widely known as sake are actually rice wines called nihonshu.
Plum wine or umeshu, is also a popular drink throughout Japan.
Japan's traditional grape wines are usually made with locally grown Muscat Bailey-A and pink Konshu grapes. Traditionally known for their sweetness, these grapes recently have been blended with western grapes that help create drier, more full-bodied wines.
Wines are chiefly made from grapes grown in the Yamanashi
Prefecture (in and around the town of Katsunuma, a pleasant day trip from Tokyo). This area is home to some 90 vineyards and wineries producing a variety of wines that continue to enjoy growing popularity in the urban centers of Japan.
Large concentrations of wineries are also located in Nagano, Yamagata, and Hokkaido.
Other wine regions dotting the landscape from north to south include Tochigi, Hyogo, and Miyazaki prefecture.
More about Japanese wine around the Web:
Japanese wine - Check out this great overview from Wikipedia with historical background and detailed information on wine growing regions, and grape varieties, with related references and resources.
Alcoholic Beverages in Japan - An illustrated guide to
alcohol and drinking etiquette in Japan .. and .very nice coverage of
polite behavior in Japanese social settings. There are also links
to other excellent resources.