Discoveries abound in Yamanashi, which except for the surroundings of Mt. Fuji is still very much under the mass-tourism radar. Some of the area’s true gems are notably secluded, making them ideal destinations for private getaways. This section points you to essential discoveries across the region, from picturesque valleys and waterfalls to hidden art museums and prehistoric ruins.

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  • Shosenkyo Gorge

    Shosenkyo Gorge is known as one of the most beautiful gorges in Japan and counts among Yamanashi Prefecture’s most popular destinations for nature tourism. The gorge is part of the large Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, which spans Yamanashi, Saitama, and Nagano prefectures as well as the Tokyo metropolis.

  • Sengataki Waterfall

    The Sengataki Waterfall is located at the foot of a towering rock formation in Shosenkyo Gorge. Formed by erosion across a fault line due to deformation in the Earth’s crust, the waterfall is roughly 30 meters tall and marks one end of the gorge.

  • Kanazakura Shrine and Meotogi Shrine

    Said to have been established roughly 2,000 years ago, Kanazakura Shrine is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Yamanashi. It is dedicated to the deity of Mount Kinpu and the main shrine stands at the top of the mountain, while a village shrine is on the mountainside above the Shosenkyo Gorge.

  • Tahara Falls

    Located on the Katsura River, the scenic Tahara Falls is one of the most popular sightseeing spots in the city of Tsuru. It is associated with the famous itinerant haiku poet Matsuo Basho.

  • Tsuru Alps

    Stretching along the eastern side of the city of Tsuru are around 8 kilometers of hills and mountains, of elevations varying between 500 and 650 meters. In 2017, a local hiking club in the city finished creating a series of clearly marked hiking trails across the hills, and named them the Tsuru Alps.

  • Mount Iwadono

    At 634 meters high, Mount Iwadono is the same height as the Tokyo Skytree. Its northern and southern sides consist of precipitous cliffs. The hike to the summit is reasonably short, with the occasional steep section, and on clear days offers spectacular views of Mount Fuji along the way and at the top.

  • Ōmura Art Museum

    Ōmura Art Museum was opened as a private art museum in 2007 by Professor Satoshi Ōmura, a prominent biochemist and joint winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the development of the anti-parasitic drugs avermectin and ivermectin.

  • Takeda Hachimangu Shrine

    Believed to have been built in 822, the Takeda Hachimangu Shrine sits on a tree-lined mountainside overlooking the city of Nirasaki. The sanctuary served as the guardian shrine of the Takeda clan, which ruled Kai Province (present-day Yamanashi) from the 1100s until 1582.

  • Site of Shinpu Castle

    Shinpu Castle once stood at the top of this small mountain at the southern tip of the Shichiriiwa Plateau, which extends from the border with Nagano Prefecture to the center of Nirasaki for about 30 kilometers from north to south. The castle was built by the feudal lord Takeda Katsuyori, who ruled Kai Province (present-day Yamanashi) from 1573 to 1582.

  • Daigahara Shuku

    Daigahara Shuku was the 40th of 44 post towns along the Koshu Kaido route that historically joined the capital of Edo with Shinano Province (present-day Nagano) via Kai Province (present-day Yamanashi). The small town has maintained its Edo-period character and feels almost like a time capsule from the past.

  • Kiyosato

    Located in the Kiyosato Highlands at the southern foot of the Yatsugatake mountains that mark the border between Yamanashi Prefecture and Nagano Prefecture, the resort town of Kiyosato is popular for its old-fashioned charm and beautiful views.

  • Kobuchizawa

    The town of Kobuchizawa in Yamanashi’s Hokuto region is located at the southern foot of Mount Yatsugatake and has a long history of horse breeding. There are still many ranches, stables, and horse clubs in Kobuchizawa and owners from other parts of the country keep their horses here.

  • Umenoki Iseki Park

    Umenoki Iseki Park is a place where you can get a first-hand experience of Japan’s prehistory. The park marks the location of the Umenoki ruins, a prehistoric archaeological site and a designated National Historic Site.

  • Kinsei Iseki Park

    Kinsei Iseki Park on the southern foot of the Yatsugatake Mountains is a historical park marking the location of the Kinsei ruins, a prehistoric archaeological site. The area includes the remains of a settlement from the Late and Final Jomon periods, which run from circa 2,470 BCE to circa 300 BCE.

  • Hokuto Archaeological Museum

    Hokuto Archaeological Museum is surrounded by local history, and its collection covers items found in what is now the city of Hokuto, extending from Japan’s Paleolithic period (beginning around 40,000 BCE) to the Warring States period (1467-1568).

  • Ryuo Station

    Ryuo Station juxtaposes contemporary architecture by the celebrated Tadao Ando against a backdrop of mountain ranges. Completed in 2008, the construction draws upon local inspiration while simultaneously being an emblematic Ando work that blends into the surrounding nature.

  • Yahata-imo

    The Yahata-imo is a variety of white-skinned taro, a starchy vegetable similar to the yam, that is literally rooted in the culture and history of the city of Kai. It boasts a superior taste and a texture that is smoother and more glutinous than taro grown elsewhere.

  • Shakado Museum of Jomon Culture

    The Shakado Museum of Jomon Culture displays precious artifacts from the prehistoric Jomon period (roughly 14,000-1,000 BCE). Set inside a sleekly contemporary building that emphasizes the antiquity of its contents, the museum conjures up a sense of one of the very earliest chapters in Japanese history.

  • Shindo Pass

    Shindo Pass, a ridge running high between Mount Nakatto (1,665m) and Mount Kurodake (1,793m), offers a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji foregrounded by Lake Kawaguchiko, the second largest of the famed Fuji Five Lakes.

  • Saka Manju: A Local Uenohara Specialty

    Saka manju are steamed buns typically made with cooked rice and sakadane, the yeast mash leftover from sake brewing. Uenohara is home to around a dozen shops specializing in saka manju.

  • Ryumon Gorge

    The secluded Ryumon Gorge on the outskirts of Koshu is part of the Hikawa Valley. Easily accessed from the cities of Enzan and Katsunuma, the valley is one of the Koshu area’s most popular nature spots and a breathtaking natural wonder of Yamanashi.

  • Kanzo Yashiki

    Built in the early nineteenth century, this mansion once belonged to the wealthy Takano family. Kanzo Yashiki means Licorice Mansion, and Chinese licorice was central to the Takano family fortune.

  • Iwaibashi Bridge

    Built in 1931, the Iwaibashi Bridge was designed to make it easier for Katsunuma’s grape growers to transport their grapes by car to Katsunuma Station. The bridge has become a symbol of the Katsunuma area and of Japan’s early industrialization.

  • Rokugo Seal Museum

    Rokugo Seal Museum is dedicated to insho, the ink-stamp seals that remain a distinctive feature of business and official life in Japan. The museum was opened by the local association of insho artisans, who proudly continue the time-honored skill of engraving seals by hand.

  • Fireworks Museum

    Fireworks have long been a folk art emblematic of the town of Ichikawamisato and its people. At the Fireworks Museum, the story of this  connection is told through a fascinating collection of artifacts and archive materials.

  • Yume Kobo Washi Workshop

    At this charming little atelier, you are invited to experience the wonder and satisfaction of learning to make washi, traditional Japanese paper.

  • Daimonhirin Park

    Daimonhirin Park recreates ancient imperial China in order to reveal the roots and evolution of the Chinese characters that form part of the Japanese writing system. Surrounded by nature and commanding some superb views, the park’s enchanting atmosphere has also made it a popular date spot.

  • Akasawashuku

    Akasawashuku, once a stopover village on the pilgrimage route from Mount Minobu over to Mount Shichimen, consists of a cluster of diligently preserved traditional buildings that make a wander through its steep, winding lanes feel like a trip back in time.

  • Narada Village

    Narada Village has more than 1,300 years of history and is the northernmost settlement in the municipality of Hayakawa. Enclosed by mountains and considered an unexplored region for most of its history, the village has long been associated with folk customs, agriculture, and myth.

  • Keiunkan

    The Keiunkan hot spring hotel was in 2011 recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest hotel. Established more than 1,300 years ago, it has soothed the minds and bodies of generations of visitors, including warlords, men of letters, and others with a taste for refinement.

  • Amehata Suzuri no Sato Kenshoan

    Amehata Suzuri no Sato Kenshoan combines a museum, atelier, shop, and riverside terrace cafe, telling the story of traditional inkstones (suzuri) through a fascinating collection of exhibits while demonstrating that this is a craft still very much alive in the twenty-first century.

  • Lake Motosuko

    Lake Motosuko is the westernmost and deepest of the famous Fuji Five Lakes, and the ninth deepest lake in Japan. Part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Motosuko is popular for a range of activities including windsurfing, canoeing, and yachting.

  • Kumano Shrine

    A distinctive red torii gate leads to Kumano Shrine, a hillside shrine shrouded in an aura of mystery. The Shinto sanctuary has deep historical connections to the therapeutic waters of Shimobe Onsen, and is almost certainly the only Japanese place of worship to incorporate a giant slide.

  • Shimobe Onsen

    The town of Shimobe has for more than a millennium been known for the therapeutic properties of its hot spring water. Along with the physical and mental reset promoted by its waters, the town offers an escape from today’s always-on digital world.

  • Yu no Oku Museum of Gold Mining History

    Through audiovisual installations, historic artifacts, and more, the Yu no Oku Museum of Gold Mining History tells the story not only of how Minobu became a heartland of Japan’s gold mining industry, but also of the villagers who made it happen.

  • Road Station Tomizawa

    Road Station Tomizawa in the town of Nanbu is distinguished by the 13.5-meter-high bamboo shoot standing tall outside the facility. Inside is a food market that offers an extensive range of local specialties.

  • Road Station Nanbu

    Road Station Nanbu's low-lying profile emphasizes the magnificence of the surrounding mountains while containing plenty of space in which to showcase all the delicacies that Yamanashi and neighboring Shizuoka Prefecture have to offer.

  • Rokujizo Park

    The modestly sized, hilltop Rokujizo Park is named for the six statues of the bodhisattva Jizo standing within it. The park is also designated as offering one of the “100 Famous Views of Mount Fuji”: the country’s most revered mountain, 27.5 kilometers to the south, is foregrounded by the effigies.

  • Masuho Furusato Shizenjuku

    Located in a region rich in both natural and human history, Masuho Furusato Shizenjuku invites groups and private individuals to stay briefly, and gain awareness and understanding of nature through study and immersive hands-on experiences.

  • Matosama

    This distinctive rock feature in the Murokubo River is nicknamed matosama, roughly “the venerable target.” The rock is enshrined and worshiped as a deity of water, and stroking it is said to bring about heavy rains.

  • Road Station Doshi

    The Doshi area’s roadside rest and shopping area offers the visitor beautiful river views, accessible restrooms, 200 parking spaces, and much more. Delicious discoveries await at the shop in the main building, which sells freshly harvested fruits and vegetables, as well as local liquor, local honey, ready-to-eat condiments, and all manner of souvenirs.

  • Mount Mitsutoge

    Mount Mitsutoge is the collective name for a group of three mountains bordering the municipalities of Tsuru, Nishikatsura, and Fujikawaguchiko. Mitsutoge offers spectacular views of Mt. Fuji from its summit, while the cliffs of Byobuiwa just below the summit are popular with rock climbing enthusiasts.

  • Lake Yamanakako Cycling Road

    Lake Yamanakako is the largest of the Fuji Five Lakes and has the third-highest elevation of any lake in Japan. It is also the closest of the five to Mount Fuji and offers spectacular views of the iconic peak.

  • Tokutomi Soho Memorial Museum

    This museum is dedicated to Soho Tokutomi, a prominent journalist and historian active from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. It offers a comprehensive, overarching look at his life and accomplishments, displaying around 200 items.

  • Mishima Yukio Literary Museum

    The Mishima Yukio Literary Museum celebrates one of Japan's most internationally renowned authors. It pays homage to Yukio Mishima’s life and works of literature, displaying a wide range of items including first edition prints of his books, autographed manuscripts, letters, and annotated first drafts.

  • Road Station Narusawa

    The Narusawa area’s roadside rest and shopping hub offers the visitor splendid views of Mount Fuji and much more. The shop in the main building sells freshly harvested local highland fruits and vegetables, as well as locally brewed sake and ready-to-eat condiments.

  • Narusawa’s Lava Tree Molds

    The village of Narusawa is home to many lava tree molds, hollow lava formations formed around large tree trunks, which were formed in the great eruption of Mt. Fuji in the year 864.

  • Lake Saiko

    Lake Saiko is the second smallest of the Fuji Five Lakes, though it is the second deepest with a maximum water depth of 71.7 meters. It is unusual compared to the other lakes in that it is surrounded by steep, wooded slopes on all sides.

  • Kawaguchi Asama Shrine

    Kawaguchi Asama Shrine is one of approximately 1,300 Asama shrines in Japan that enshrine the deity of volcanoes in general and Mount Fuji in particular. The shrine is part of the Mt. Fuji UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.

  • Geijutsunomori Park

    Geijutsunomori Park houses Yamanashi's two principal arts and culture-focused museums – the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art and the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Literature – within picturesque, sculpture-dotted gardens backgrounded by Mount Fuji.

  • Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Archaeology

    Important archaeological finds from the past few decades reveal that what is now Yamanashi Prefecture has been populated by communities of humans since as far back as the Paleolithic period of 30,000 years ago. The Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Archaeology displays artifacts, mainly locally recovered, that span the entirety of Japanese prehistory.

  • Kai Choshizuka Tumulus

    The Kai Choshizuka Tumulus is eastern Japan’s largest surviving example of an ancient burial mound.  It can be thought of as Japan’s equivalent of the Ancient Egyptian pyramid.

  • Kai Terrace

    Kai Terrace is a gallery-like shopping facility that brings together, under one expansive roof, products that the city of Kai and wider Yamanashi have long been renowned for. Opened in 1985 and now welcoming more than 200,000 visitors each year, it is housed within a specially constructed building that lets its contents shine.

  • Heidi’s Village

    Heidi’s Village recreates a slice of the Swiss Alps, themed around the Japanese anime version of the Heidi stories written by Johanna Spyri in the late nineteenth century. The park invites visitors of all ages to forget their modern-day cares and concerns.

  • Shingen Zutsumi

    Shingen Zutsumi on the Kamanashi River is a series of dikes said to have been constructed on the orders of preeminent sixteenth-century warlord Takeda Shingen. Shingen Zutsumi Park offers a picturesque, mountain range-backed view out over these historic attempts to tame once-wild waterways.

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