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The Isawa area, just east of the prefectural capital of Kofu, is the ideal destination for epicureans. Top-quality grapes and peaches have been grown here for centuries, and the area has been a center of Japanese viticulture since the 1800s. Several vineyards around Katsunuma Station and beyond offer tours and tastings, while visitors can learn about the history of Yamanashi wine at Miyakoen and the Château Mercian Wine Museum.

After acquainting yourself with the local flavors, enjoy a soak in a hot spring at Isawa Onsen, a scenic resort town encircled by mountains and famed for its spectacular cherry blossoms in spring. Those on the lookout for historical and cultural experiences may want to consider strolling the grounds of the majestic Erinji Zen temple, learning about Japanese prehistory at the Shakado Museum of Jomon Culture, or appreciating the traditional architecture of the historic Kanzo Yashiki mansion.

Natural highlights in this area include the secluded Ryumon Gorge, the Lake Otomeko area, likened by some to the Swiss countryside, and Mount Daibosatsu, popular among hikers and hot-spring bathers alike.

  • 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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Lake Otomeko

    Lake Otomeko is a roughly heart-shaped artificial lake set amidst unspoiled nature. The scenery is likened by some to the Swiss countryside, and in one spot even said to possess magical powers.

  • Isawa Onsen Street brings together, in one scenic location encircled by mountains, two great Japanese pleasures: hot-spring bathing and cherry-blossom viewing. Visitors will delight in the mental and physical reset that the combined experience can bring about.

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    Erinji Temple

    Founded in 1330, Erinji Temple is one of Yamanashi’s most famous Zen temples. Its grounds are quiet and tranquil with many beautiful spots, beginning with the tree-lined entrance path.

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    Now a museum, Miyakoen played a key role in the early days of winemaking in Yamanashi. The former winery building and its spacious grounds are a vital link to the early days of the region's now world-famous wine industry.

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    The Katsunuma area in the city of Koshu is famous for its vineyards and has a long history of fruit-growing. Sprawling vineyards lined with grape trellises run along both sides of the valley, and many vineyards in the area offer grape-picking experiences.

  • The large shop at Road Station Kai Yamato is similar to a farmer’s market, selling produce from the surrounding area. Koshu is famous for its grapes, persimmons, peaches, and cherries, meaning fresh fruit and a range of vegetables are plentiful and affordable.

  • Around 80 percent of Yamanashi Prefecture is verdant woodland and rugged mountain ranges. That considered, it is fitting that the prefecture’s principal museum tells Yamanashi’s fascinating story through the lens of the relationship between nature and humankind.

  • Ichinokama Waterfall is a hidden cluster of three powerful waterfalls, the most spectacular of which exceeds 20 meters in height. Down in this bewitching spot, each season brings its own particular charm to the scene.

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    Hokoji Temple

    Hokoji Temple is a Shingon Buddhist sanctuary also known as the Temple of Flowers for its lush front garden, filled with a wide variety of flowers. These include plums, camellias, cherry blossoms, hydrangeas, and bush clovers, plus a great many maple trees, giving the temple colorful natural scenery from spring to autumn.

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    Daizenji Temple

    The mountainside Daizenji Temple is also known as the Grape Temple for its long association with viticulture in Yamanashi. The temple’s monks still grow grapes and make wine, which visitors can purchase.

  • Located at the foot of Mount Daibosatsu, this hot-spring spa has a stunning view of the surrounding forest. On a clear day, it is possible to see all the way to the Southern Alps.

  • Sitting 1,000 meters above sea level, surrounded by mountains and close to a mountain stream, the Yamato Tenmokusan spa overlooks a gorge. Its natural hot-spring water is drawn from the surrounding mountains and has a silky smooth texture.

  • Located on the banks of the Hikawa River, the Hikawa Keikoku Leisure Center is a family-friendly place to enjoy the natural surroundings. There are several designated fishing holes in the river where visitors can rent a rod and reel and try angling for rainbow trout.

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    Nishizawa Gorge

    Nishizawa Gorge cuts through mountainous landscape and possesses some of the most beautiful scenery of Japan’s many ravines. It is famed for the succession of captivating waterfalls encountered on a wander through, backgrounded by the Tosakayama, Hafusan, and Tokusayama mountains.

More Venues in the Area

  • Fuefukigawa Fruit Park

    A sparkling vision of light!The night view from Fuefukigawa Fruit Park, which boasts one of the new three major night views in Japan.

  • Misaka Farm ‘Grape House’

    From Late-June through early-August, you can enjoy peach picking, and mid-July through mid-November you can enjoy grape picking.

  • Budo-no-Oka Wine Center and Tenku-no-Yu

    The magnificent panoramic views of Minami-Alps and Kofu Basin from Tenku-no-Yu are exactly the view from the sky.

  • Hottarakashi Onsen

    The hot springs facility looks up at Mt. Fuji and down on the Kofu basin by day, and commands a view of the reputed "ceiling of starry skies" at night.

  • Hombo Shuzo Co., Ltd. Yamanashi Mars Winery

    Yamanashi Mars Winery seeks to produce world-class wines while always respecting the soil and climate of Yamanashi.

  • Family Farm Sano

    Family Farm Sano has a cheerful atmosphere.

  • Yamanashi Wine

    The Yamanashi Wine strictly adheres to the locally grown grapes in Katsunuma.

  • Miharashien

    Miharashien offers fruit for picking throughout the year--strawberries from January to May, peaches from June to August, grapes from early August to late November, and apples from late October to late November.

  • Asama-En

    The peaches and grapes of Asama-En are all grown organically, and are safe and high quality.

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