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