One of the most enduring symbols of Japan, Mount Fuji is beloved by Japanese and visitors alike. And even if you don't plan to climb the mountain itself, there are lots of scenic places to visit in the area, many with lovely views of Fujisan.
- Table of Contents
- 1. Mt. Fuji
- 2. Takeda Shrine
- 3. Kai Zenkoji Temple
- 4. Erinji Temple
- 5. Fuji Sengen Shrine
- 6. Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art
- 7. Minami Alps National Park
- 8. Yatsugatake Chushin-Kogen Quasi-National Park
- 9. Fuji-Q Highland
- 10. Lake Kawaguchiko
- 11. Oshino Hakkai springs
- 12. Lake Yamanaka
- 13. Don't miss the region's Koshu Wine
- 14. Try Hoto, Yamanashi's Regional Dish
- 15. Check out the Lake Kawaguchiko Fireworks Festival and Kojosai
- 16. Fujisan World Heritage Center
- 17. Narusawa Ice Cave
- 18. Lake Kawaguchiko Herb Festival
- 19. Katsunuma Budo-no-Oka
1. Mt. Fuji
A timeless symbol of Japan, Mt. Fuji is a majestic sight to behold, near or far, at any time of the year.
The sacred volcano straddling Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefectures is a haven for mountain climbers in the summer, and home to some of Japan's most lush nature.
Japan's tallest mountain, Mt. Fuji is easily accessible from central Tokyo, with public transport taking you as far as halfway up the mountain.
2. Takeda Shrine
This 100-year-old shrine houses many cultural artifacts detailing the life and achievements of the legendary Daimyo Lord.
History mingles with nature when cherry blossoms line the shrine grounds in the spring, making Takeda Shrine a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
- Address 2611 Kofuchumachi, Kofu, Yamanashi 400-0014
- Phone Number 055-252-2609
3. Kai Zenkoji Temple
Built on the orders of Takeda Shingen himself, Kai Zenkoji Temple is home to the largest wooden structure in East Japan.
This temple became a respository of sorts for the fabled warlord, who feared the loss of valuable treasures in his various battles. One such notable example is the statue of Amitabha Tathagata.
- Address 3 Chome-36-1 Zenkoji, Kofu, Yamanashi 400-0806
4. Erinji Temple
The stunning Japanese gardens were designed by a famous Buddhist priest called Muso-Kokushi, and nowadays are cherished as a national treasure. The imposing Sanmon gate is also an important asset, the original gate having been burned down during the feudal era, but faithfully rebuilt.
- Address 2280 Enzanoyashiki, Koshu, Yamanashi 404-0053
5. Fuji Sengen Shrine
The breathtaking corridor of cedar trees lining the path up to the shrine resembles a natural cathedral, and the shrine itself is a stunning complex of vermillion surrounded by the verdant greens of the forest.
6. Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art
Located just 15 minutes by bus from Kofu Station, the wine-colored complex of the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art is home to over 10,000 works. The star of the show is the Millet collection, works by the French painter who inspired artists including Van Gogh, with some of his most famous works on display, including "The Sower."
The Museum itself is a great location to relax, with the surrounding Arts Park giving a peaceful backdrop of nature for some light recreation.
Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art山梨県立美術館
- Address 1 Chome-4-27 Kugawa, Kofu, Yamanashi 400-0065
7. Minami Alps National Park
There's more to the Yamanashi mountains than Mt. Fuji! The Minami Alps National park is a dense cluster of some of Japan's highest peaks, including Japan's 2nd, 4th and 7th highest mountains (Kita-dake, Aino-dake, and Akaishi-dake, respectively).
Minami Alps National Park is compact yet full of challenging peaks to test even the most seasoned climber, and their efforts are rewarded with some of the most incredible views of Mt. Fuji.
Minami Alps National Park南アルプス国立公園
- Address Around Ashiyasuashikura, Minami-Alps, Yamanashi
8. Yatsugatake Chushin-Kogen Quasi-National Park
Kiyosato and other highlands, with their pastoral scenery reminiscent of European landscapes, capture the hearts of their many visitors. Stand at the top of 5,059 ft high Utsukushi-Mori, turn 360 degrees, and take in an incredible view, including Mt. Fuji, the Minami Alps, and Oku-chichibu.
The foothills of Yatsugatake are reserved for intensive dairy farming for the production of fresh milk, as well as agricultural farming of cabbage, lettuce, and other vegetables suited to the high altitude.
Yatsugatake Chushin-Kogen Quasi-National Park八ヶ岳中信高原国定公園
- Address Near Hokuto, Yamanashi
9. Fuji-Q Highland
What could be more exhilarating than a rollercoaster? Why, a rollercoaster with a breathtaking view of Mt. Fuji, of course!
Fuji-Q Highland is a thrill-seeker's paradise, with no less than seven rollercoasters, including the mighty Fujiyama. For those looking for a less hair-raising experience, there's plenty of fun to be had, including a Thomas The Tank Engine-themed area for children and a wide array of restaurants.
10. Lake Kawaguchiko
The second largest of the Fuji Five Lakes, the area is packed with outdoor activities, such as fishing, boating, and other water sports. A journey around the lake's edge is rewarding any time of the year, particularly in the Fall when trees flush a stunning array of autumnal colors.
11. Oshino Hakkai springs
Known as the "Spring of the Gods" since ancient times, Oshino Hakkai Springs is a cluster of eight hot springs ("Hakkai" literally means "Eight Seas").
Once a grand lake, eruptions from Mt. Fuji separated the area into these attractive ponds, the banks of which are populated by traditional Japanese buildings. The still waters, handsome surroundings, and dramatic backdrop of Mt. Fuji make Oshino Hakkai endlessly photogenic.
- Address Shibokusa, Oshino, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi 401-0511
12. Lake Yamanaka
Despite its size, Lake Yamanakako is quite shallow and at a high altitude, meaning it completely freezes over in winter. Stepping out onto the lake's surface for ice fishing is an experience you'll never forget!
13. Don't miss the region's Koshu Wine
Koshu wine, a product of Yamanashi Prefecture, dominates the Japanese wine scene, accounting for half of all wine made in Japan.
The roots of Koshu wine are deep and international, going back to 1877 when Masanari Takano and Tatsunori Tsuchiya studied vinification in France. Katsunuma is the densest cluster of Koshu wine production, where wine lovers can admire displays of equipment in the Budo-no-Oka ("Grape Hill") Wine Center and enjoy fruit picking in the peak season.
14. Try Hoto, Yamanashi's Regional Dish
With mysterious origins but generally believed to be from China, Hoto is a Yamanashi speciality dish with a long history tied to the area.
From its roots as a nutritional boost for Lord Shingen's troops during the feudal era to the present day, where it is recognized as a simple, healthy meal, Hoto should be part of any tourist's culinary adventures in Yamanashi.
15. Check out the Lake Kawaguchiko Fireworks Festival and Kojosai
The last of the annual summer festivals of the Fuji Five Lakes area, this ritual, which is said to purify and wash away all evil, originates from Kawaguchi Sengen Shrine, and consists of sending out several hundred lanterns to float in small boats over the lake.
16. Fujisan World Heritage Center
Located right at the foot of Fuji and surrounded by verdant woodland, the Fujisan World Heritage Center is an excellent port of call for anyone wanting a more in-depth understanding of Mt. Fuji and how intertwined this mountain is with the country's history and culture.
Fujisan World Heritage Center富士山世界遺産センター
- Address 6663-1 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi 401-0301
17. Narusawa Ice Cave
Formed by one of Mt. Fuji's eruptions long ago, Narusawa is an enigmatic exploration into the bowels of Mt. Fuji.
The cave is conveniently located just off the Mt. Fuji Panorama Line Highway. Even in the height of summer, the enigmatic Narusawa Ice Cave is frozen all year round, making it an excellent way to escape the summer heat.
18. Lake Kawaguchiko Herb Festival
Held through mid-June to mid-July, the Fujikawaguchiko Herb Festival is a surprisingly big event – even for those who never considered themselves herb enthusiasts!
Yagizaki Park and Oishi Park display an abundance of fragrant herbs and flowers, in addition to a variety of stalls selling crafts, teas, snacks, and of course, herbs. Lavender is the centerpiece of the show, with the lavender-flavored ice cream coming highly recommended.
- Address 897-1, Kodate, Fujikawaguchiko Town, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi 401-0302
19. Katsunuma Budo-no-Oka
Budo-no-Oka is a sanctuary of grapes and wine and the heart of Koshu Wine country. Perched atop a hill of vineyards in Katsunuma, visitors to Budo-no-Oka can taste and purchase about 180 brands of wine, all of which pass a vigorous quality screening by Koshu City.
Your wine can also be enjoyed from the restaurant that affords commanding views of the area. Round off your visit with a dip in the "Tenku no Yu" hot spring, with equally panoramic views.
Katsunuma Budo-no-Oka甲州市勝沼 ぶどうの丘
- Address 5093 Katsunumacho Hishiyama, Koshu, Yamanashi 409-1302
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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