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Stretching south toward Shizuoka Prefecture between sacred Mount Fuji and the majestic Southern Alps, this once secluded area is rich in traditional crafts and culture – from washi paper and suzuri inkstones to fireworks and kabuki theater. Museums, workshops, and ateliers offer visitors the chance to not only learn about but immerse themselves in local traditions.

Notable destinations include Akasawashuku, a village with diligently preserved traditional buildings that make a wander through its steep, winding lanes feel like a trip back in time, and Narada, a remote settlement steeped in folklore and myth. Another essential stop is Kuonji, the grand head temple of the Nichiren school of Buddhism.

Ambitious hikers may want to attempt scaling the 3,193-meter Mount Kitadake, Japan’s second highest mountain after Mt. Fuji. While summitting presents a serious challenge, there are plenty of less demanding trails as well. The unspoiled natural habitat is befitting of the mountain being part of the UNESCO-designated Minami-Alps Biosphere Reserve.

  • 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.

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    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.

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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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 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.

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    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.

  • 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 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'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.

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    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.

  • 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.

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    Mount Kitadake

    The 3,193-meter Mount Kita or Kitadake is Japan’s second highest mountain after Mount Fuji. Together with nearby Mount Ainodake and Mount Notoridake it comprises the Shiranesanzan group, referred to as the “leaders” of the Southern Alps.

  • Kabuki Bunka Park represents Japan’s most emblematic theatrical form. The beautiful, 20,000-square-meter space, harmonizing with the surrounding hills, houses a kabuki theater as well as two museums dedicated respectively to kabuki culture and the history of the town of Ichikawamisato.

  • The Main Gate or Somon is the first gate one passes through to enter Kuonji, the grand head temple of the Nichiren school of Buddhism. Crossing its threshold is thus the first step toward the wisdom believed to be attained by those who climb the 287 steep steps up to the temple precinct.

  • Kuonji Temple’s majestic pagoda, standing 39 meters tall, is the fourth highest five-story wooden pagoda in Japan. Locally sourced, all-natural materials are used in the latest incarnation of the historic pagoda, right down to the foundation stones.

  • The village of Nishijima has deep historical connections with the production of washi, or traditional Japanese paper. Nishijima Washi no Sato invites all to experience the soulfulness inherent in washi making through simple workshops suitable for absolute beginners.

  • The Nanbu Fire Festival sees a roughly two-kilometer stretch of the Fujikawa River transformed into a sea of crimson flame, while fireworks light up the summer sky with equal intensity. The festival originated as an event to end Obon, an important Buddhist festival during which ancestral spirits are welcomed back to the realm of the living.

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    Utsubuna Park

    Utsubuna Park, situated on a high hill overlooking the Fujikawa River, is famed for the abundant hydrangeas that flower in it in early summer, transforming the park’s rolling slopes into a carnival of blues, purples, pinks, whites, and myriad hues in between. At any time of year though, unspoiled natural beauty and inspiring views make this 2.5-hectare attraction well worth a visit.

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    Oboshi Park

    Atop rolling hills west of the Fujikawa River, Oboshi Park offers superb views of Mount Fuji and has been named one of the 100 best cherry-blossom viewing spots in all of Japan. Around 2,000 sakura trees cover the grassy slopes, turning them various shades of soft pink when the trees bloom each spring.

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    Mitama no Yu

    Mitama no Yu is a very special kind of hot-spring bathhouse. In addition to 100-percent natural baths and one of Japan’s “100 best night views,” additional facilities enable Mitama no Yu to offer all-round restoration of the mind, body, and soul.

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    Lake Shibireko

    Located on Mount Hirogatake, Lake Shibireko fills a crater formed by the volcanoes that enclose Shibireko Prefectural Nature Park. Abundant flora and fauna mean the scenery changes dramatically with each season.

  • The Minobusan Ropeway features a succession of breathtaking views that one might think only mountaineers get to marvel at. The ride is also a spiritual one, as the car travels on a sky-high “pilgrimage” from the precincts of Kuonji Temple up to the mountaintop Okunoin Shishinkaku Temple.

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    Oyanagawa Gorge

    Oyanagawa Gorge, on the long, snaking river of the same name, features dramatic natural landscape navigated via a succession of ten rope bridges. Those with a love for swaying high above rocks and gushing waters will be in their element here.

  • The Minami-Alps Hot Spring Lodge is an affordable and homey accommodation with hot-spring baths. A night or two spent here serves as a reminder that simple, back-to-basics lodgings can be every bit as enjoyable and reinvigorating as their more luxurious counterparts.

More Venues in the Area

  • Nakagomi Orchard


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