Get closer to Mount Fuji and the Five Lakes
There are so many reasons to visit Yamanashi Prefecture... and return there again and again! It is so close to Tokyo, you can easily travel there on a day trip. Let me introduce you to some of Yamanashi's attractions.
There is a lot of evidence that Yamanashi cares deeply about its historical heritage. Parts of ruined Kofu Castle have been reconstructed near Kofu JR Station, and Fujimura Hall, one of the earliest western style buildings in Japan, also stands near the station. In Koshu City a wonderful Edo era estate named Kanzo Yashiki (Licorice House) forms a kind of history park opposite Enzan JR Station. The fairytale-like Saruhashi (Monkey Bridge) still spans the river in Otsuki City, and is one of the three famous ancient bridges in Japan.
Some of Yamanashi's temples and gardens are every bit as beautiful as anything I saw in Kyoto, but they usually come without the crowds, and many of them are free to enter. One temple itinerary I recommend are to visit Kogakuji, Erinji and Hokoji in Koshu City (if you get off at Enzan Station you can hire bicycles from Kanzo Yashiki opposite the station). Another great itinerary would be visiting Kai-Zenkoji and the temples on Inishie no Michi in Kofu.
Mount Fuji stands on the border between Yamanashi and Shizuoka. The Fuji Five Lakes area in Yamanashi Prefecture has many famous view points of Mount Fuji. The lakes are Lake Kawaguchi, Lake Motosu, Lake Sai, Lake Shoji and Lake Yamanaka. Yamanashi's many fruit trees turn the countryside into a sakura wonderland in spring, and in autumn the forested slopes of the mountains blaze with color.
Delicious Fresh Fruit
Sometimes Yamanashi is referred to as the 'Kingdom of Fruit` because many different kinds of delicious fruit are grown there almost all year round. There are many places where you can do 'Pick and Eat.' Just a couple of examples are Nakagomi Orchard in Minami-Alps, which has apples, peaches and persimmons, while in Kofu Atago-en and many other places have grapes.
Want to climb mountains? Japan's most famous mountain, Fuji-san, stands right on the border of Yamanashi. The most accessible route from Tokyo is from the Yamanashi side. Fuji-san too big? There are plenty of other mountains waiting to be conquered, including Mount Kinpu, Mount Iwadono and Mount Mitsutoge. Yamanashi is a great place to go hiking, and there are trails ranging from a few hours to multiple days. For a different kind of thrill you could try one of the world's highest rollercoasters at Fujikyu Highland, go horseback riding,or mountain boarding.
And that's just for starters!
You can visit a wine-maker or a whiskey distillery, soak away your cares at an hot spring, check out some very cool museums, explore castle ruins or smell the lavender at a herb festival. Make plans to Discover Yamanashi Prefecture soon!