By Cathy Cawood
There are many reasons to visit this beautiful, spacious park in Yamanashi City. The park sprawls over a hillside overlooking the Yamanashi countryside and includes a number of facilities that make it an attractive destination throughout the year. It also has beautiful views of Mount Fuji, and the night scenery of the Kofu Basin. I visited in spring, and was so carried away by the blossom and Fuji views that I forgot to photograph some of the other features!
The slopes of the park are planted with the eight traditional fruit crops of Old Kai Province which developed into present day Yamanashi Prefecture. The eight traditional fruits are grapes, peaches, apples, pears, persimmons, gingko fruits, pomegranates and chestnuts. I also saw plum, cherry trees, and citrus trees. The fruit trees and vines also mean that Fuefukigawa Fruit Park is a wonderful place to enjoy the changing seasons, from blossoms in spring through to the coloring and falling of the leaves in autumn.
A stream was appropriated to form a wonderful water playground called 'Aqua Athletic'. Adventure playground style structures like swinging or floating bridges will make this an exciting place for kids in summer.
Three glass domes
Near the top of the park a 10 meter high dome encloses a huge space sometimes used for concerts and events that also serves as a pleasant rest space and a play area for children regardless of the season or the weather. The Fruit Museum is in the basement of this dome.
A second dome contains a tropical greenhouse which can be enjoyed from several angles and levels due to its elevated walkway and terrace. and flowers and many other facilities. Of course there are some tropical fruit trees on display here.
The three levels of the third dome house stores with Yamanashi fruit-related products like wine, dried fruit and jam, and a reading room containing fruit-related literature.
Housed in the largest of the domes, the Fruit Museum focuses on the history of fruit growing all over the world. You can trace the spread of fruit varieties through the ancient world. There is an emphasis on the history of peaches and grapes in Yamanashi. Gardeners and fruit lovers will be particularly interested in the exhibits and displays of the fruit museum.
Hotel and hot spring
If you want to stay in the area, the Fruit Park Hotel looks like a great place to stay. The hotel overlooks the whole park, and has great views over the surrounding countryside. There is a pretty wedding chapel to one side of the courtyard in front of the hotel. There is also a hot spring opposite the rear of the hotel.
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I came to Japan in 2003 to teach English. I lived in Shiga prefecture for one year, and it still holds a special place in my heart. I lived in Kyoto for nine years, then moved to Machida, Tokyo in 2014 after meeting my Japanese partner. I love to take photos, and my Japan in Pictures Facebook page has some 40,000 followers. I have been the Regional Partner for Yamanashi Prefecture since 2014. I am enjoying exploring the prefectures around Tokyo (I like to get off the beaten track), and I hope the photos and stories I share will encourage more people to discover this wonderful country.