On one of our trips to Yamanashi we stopped at a site where three old school houses from three different eras have been re-purposed as a museum, a cafe, and a restaurant. At 8 am in the morning, nothing was open of course, but it was still interesting to walk around and look at the buildings.
An elegant two story Meiji Era building built in 1875 that was once Tsugane School now houses the Sutama History Museum. There is a beautiful retro style cafe on the second floor, and I really wished they were open. After a 5 am start to our trip, I was getting desperate for coffee.
The Taisho Era school building is a restaurant where you can eat hoto, the flat noodle hotpot dish that is a Yamanashi specialty. You can also acquaint yourself with many other aspects of local agriculture and cuisine there.
The Showa Era schoolhouse is now called Oishii Gakko which means 'delicious school'. They sell Japanese and Italian food, local specialties and bakery fresh bread. You can also lodge in the Showa schoolhouse and make it your base to explore the area.
The buildings and school yard are surrounded by large old cherry trees which must be absolutely beautiful in bloom.
20 minutes by car from Sutama IC or Nagasaka IC (Chuo Expressway)
You can take a Yamako Town Coach bus from JR Nirasaki station, going toward Masutomi Onsen and get off at Hyakkannon (about 20 min.); take Hokuto Shimin Bus to Yamato Kominkan, and get off at Gosho Kominkan, then walk about 10 minutes.
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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.