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Yamanashi

A prefecture where nature abounds with mountains, lakes and valleys - Hillside orchards where fruits such as peaches and cherries are grown
Situated next to the western part of Tokyo and the southeast of Central Japan, Yamanashi is girt with the mountains and mountain ranges designated as national and quasi-national parks, like Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Tanzawa-Oyama Quasi-National Park, Chichibu-Tama National Park, Yatsugatake-Chushin Quasi-National Park and South Japan Alps National Park. It is a prefecture where nature abounds with varying spectacular views of lakes and valleys. Yamanashi boasts various places of natural beauty, like Mr. Fuji, Fuji Goko (5 lakes) and Shosenkyo ravine. It also has various historic remains left for posterity by the Takeda family of war lords who reined the region in the 16th century, such as Takeda-jinja Shrine and Kaizenko-ji Temple. Another place worth visiting is a spread of hillside orchards on which fruits are grown, such as peaches and cherries. Especially at Katsunuma, which is known for being the biggest vineyard in Japan, you can get in touch with the history of winemaking in Japan while enjoying the different tastes of wines on a tour of all sizes of wineries, not to mention grape picking.

Yamanashi is easy to access from Tokyo. You can enjoy outdoor sports in the bosom of magnificent nature and encounter artifacts reflecting Japan's history and culture on a tour of art galleries and museums. There are also a variety of theme parks worth visiting, and all of these are what characterizes Yamanashi as one of the most attractive prefectures in Japan.

Getting there
About 2 hours and 30 minutes from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo to Kofu Station by JR Chuo Main Line Limited Express. About 2 hours and 30 minutes to Tokyo Station from Shin-Osaka Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. About 15 minutes from Tokyo Station to Shinjuku Station by Chuo Line Rapid Train.
 

  • Fuji-go-ko Lakes
    Five lakes at the northern foot of Mt. Fuji - Full selection of museums and outdoor activities
    The Fuji-go-ko Lakes is a collective term for the 5 lakes along the northern foot of Mt. Fuji that stands high at the border of southern Yamanashi and Shizuoka. The lakes are Lake Yamanaka-ko, Lake Kawaguchi-ko, Lake Sai-ko, Lake Shoji-ko and Lake Motosu-ko. The largest is Lake Kawagichi-ko, the smallest is the Lake Shoji-ko, the one with the highest surface altitude is Lake Yamanaka-ko, and the deepest one is Lake Motosu-ko. Lake Yamanaka-ko offers ice-skating in winter and camping in summer as well as a variety of outdoor activities.

    Lake Kawaguchi-ko is the easiest to get to from Tokyo and is the core of sightseeing in the Fuji-go-ko Lakes area. A classic style bus is runs along the lakeside carrying visitors to all the different museums and amusement facilities. Lake Kawaguchi-ko is also known as the starting point for climbing Mt. Fuji, as well as a Mecca for sports fishing.

    Lake Sai-ko is also called the lake of maidens. In the surroundings, there is Aokigahara Jukai or the sea of forest that spreads all over the northwestern foot of Mt. Fuji, Sai-ko Bats' Nest Cave that is warm even in winter and Fugaku-fuketsu or the wind caves of Fuji where icicles bristle even in summer. Lake Shoji-ko has a great view from the Eboshid-ga-take Panorama Platform at the southwest. The reflected image of Mt. Fuji on the lake surface is known as the upside-down Fuji.  Lake Motosu-ko is the deepest amongst the 5 lakes with a depth of 138m, and prides itself on the outstanding clarity of its water. The sight of Mt. Fuji viewed from the north shore is drawn on the 5,000 yen bills.

    Getting there
    Take a limited express on JR Chuo Line for 1 hour and 50 minutes from Shinjuku Station (in Tokyo) to Otsuki Station. Then take Fujikyu Line for 1 hour and 50 minutes to Kawaguchi-ko Station.

     

  • Kiyosato
    A highland resort at an altitude of 1,300m - A full variety of skiing, horseback riding and other sports facilities
    Kiyosato is located at the southern foot of the Yatsugatake mountains at the northwestern part of Yamanashi near the border to Nagano. It overlooks the Southern Japan Alps, Mt. Fuji and the Chichibu Mountains in the distance. It is a highland resort at an altitude of 1,300m with mild grazing hills. Around Kiyosato Station of the Koume Line, fashionable restaurants, coffee shops and modern tourist homes called pensions have been built one after another. Kiyosato offers a full variety of skiing, horseback riding and other sports facilities as well as numerous spa facilities. Since the area is dotted with many museums it has also become famous as a cultured district. Kiyosato is one of the most popular resorts in Japan and flourishing with young visitors from all over Japan. It was Dr. Paul Rush, an American who visited Japan in 1925, who built the foundation of present Kiyosato. He developed Kiyosato as an agricultural community. His study and accommodation center still remains as Seisen Ryo and is noted for its red peaked roof. Visitors can enjoy the great outdoors in the vast grazing fields that surround Seisen Ryo to their heart's content. Kiyosato is also a sanctuary for wild birds and visitors can watch various kinds of Japanese birds here.

    Getting there
    Take a limited express of JR Chuo Main Line from Shinjuku Station, and transfer at Kobuchizawa. It takes 2 hours and 5 minutes.

     

  • Kofu and Shosen-kyo Valley
    A festival including the warrior's parade of over 1,600 men in armor - Shosenkyo Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in Japan
    Kofu is located almost right at the center of Yamanashi and has flourished from old days as an important point for prefectural politics, culture and transportation. Takeda-jinja Shrine in the remains of the Home of Takeda, where the famous 16th century military general Takeda Shingen is worshiped, and Kai-Takeda-jinja Shrine are examples of the famous old shrines and temples that show the prosperity that the Takeda family enjoyed.

    In spring, the Shingen-ko-matsuri festival including the warrior's parade of over 1,600 men in armor is held and the sight is overwhelmingly impressive. Also in Kofu, hot springs well up in the center of the city, and these include the Yumura-onsen hot spring that is said to have been discovered in 808 by Kobo Daishi, a Buddhist priest, and the Sekisuiji-onsen hot spring from Kofu hot spring resort.  The Shosenkyo Valley of Ara-kawa River (a branch of Kamanashi-gawa River) is 4 km long and lies to the north of Kofu. It forms a part of Chichibu Tama National Park. From the promenade running parallel to the river you can see fantastically-shaped rocks such as the Kakuenbo, which is 180 m high and said to be the most attractive in the area and the pan-shaped holes at the bottom of the river. If you go up to the panoramic platform by ropeway from the end of the promenade then Senga-taki Falls, which drops from 60 m high, gives you can get a great view of the red leaves in autumn.

    Getting there
    By Limited Express on JR Chuo Main Line for 1 hour and 27 minutes from Shinjuku Station (Tokyo) to Kofu Station. By bus for 40 minutes from Kofu Station to Shosenkyo.

     

  • Mt. Fuji
    The highest mountain in Japan with a beautiful conic shape - The center of mountain worship since ancient days
    Mt. Fuji is 3,776m high and is the highest mountain in Japan situated at the border of southeastern Yamanashi and Shizuoka. With its unrivaled magnificence and beautiful conic shape, Mt. Fuji has often been selected as the subject for paintings and literature. It is the world famous symbol of Japan. At the foot of Mt. Fuji, there are the Five Lakes of Fuji, the Aoki-ga-hara Sea of Forest that is dark even during the day, as well as Kitaguchi-Hongu Fuji-Sengen Shrine that was constructed to calm the eruption of Mt. Fuji. The Fire Festival of Yoshida, held at the end of the year as a ritual of closing the climbing season for Mt. Fuji, is one of the three most peculiar festivals in Japan.

    Mt. Fuji has long been the center for the mountain worship of ancient Japan. Today, it is a popular mountain to climb, and many people climb Mt. Fuji to watch the sunrise called Goraiko from the top. The access to the 5th station is well maintained, so you can go up to this point and thoroughly enjoy the magnificence of Mt. Fuji by just looking at the beautiful scenery close at hand without endeavoring to climb all the way to the top.

    Getting there
    Take JR Chuo Main Line from Shinjuku Station and transfer at Otsuki Station. Take Fujikyu to Kawaguchi-ko Station. It takes 1 hour and 50 minutes. Take a bus from Kawaguchi-ko Station to the 5th station of Mt. Fuji. It takes 50 minutes.

     

  • Mt. Minobu
    287 stone steps surrounded by a cedar forest - From top of Mt. Minobu can see Mt. Fuji and the Pacific Ocean
    Mt. Minobu is 1,153m high and rises from Minobu-machi in south Yamanashi. It is a sacred mountain that houses Kuonji Temple, the headquarters of the Nichiren Sect of Buddhism. The Nichiren Sect was founded by a high priest called Nichiren in the middle of the 13th century. Nichiren was invited to a hermitage on this mountain by sect leader Danotsu Hakii Sanenaga who governed this land in those days. Thus the Nichiren Sect originated on this mountain. As you enter from the Great Gate near Minobu Station and walk along 1.3km approach path thriving as a temple town, you will see a magnificent temple gate that was rebuilt in the early 20th century. You will then see 287 stone steps called Bodaiga amid a cedar forest that leads you to the temple precincts. The grand sanctuary building, an octagonal shrine where the ashes of Nichiren lie and other magnificent structures overwhelms every visitor.

    As you climb further from Kuonji Temple for 5km along the western valley, you will reach the top of Mt. Minobu where the Okunoin or inner shrine stands with a statue of Nichiren. From here you can see Mt. Fuji, Mt. Shichimen-zan, and the Pacific Ocean and Suruga Bay beyond. You can also take the Minobu-san ropeway from the back of the main temple of Kuonji to get to the top as well.

    Getting there
    Take a limited express on JR Chuo Main Line from Shinjuku Station to Kofu Station, and then transfer to JR Minobu Line to Minobu. It takes 2 hours and 27 minutes. Take a bus for 15 minutes to Mt. Minobu.

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  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.

 

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