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Rent out a Yukata or Cosplay for a grand photoshoot in the beautiful town of Otsuki.

 Yamanashi Prefecture lies just west of Tokyo and is an area often praised for its beautiful nature, welcoming residents, and delicious fruit and wine. Although quaint in nature the prefecture still boasts ranking in the top ten most traveled to prefectures in the nation according to a 2016 study by the Japan National Tourism Organization.

One of the top reasons behind this is of course the beautiful Mt. Fuji and its surrounding five lakes. And to get there from Tokyo all you need to do is take JR Limited Express train from Shinjuku and transfer at Otsuki Station to the Fujikyu Railway for Kawaguchiko. However, Otsuki city is definitely not an area I recommend passing up.


If you have ever had, even the smallest molecule of interest in Japan’s pop culture scene, you have probably taken a moment or two admiring the beautiful costumes of your favorite characters or wondered what it was like to wear a yukata or a kimono. But with obstacles such as procuring a costume, figuring out how to even put on a yukata and fears of issues such as culture appropriation (which is often spoken about in the west) it can be next to impossible to make into a reality.

However, Japanese fans of anime/ manga and video games have already made Otsuki City a well-known location for taking gorgeous cosplay photos while surrounded by the great outdoors and beautiful scenery. And wanting to share this awesome experience with people from all over the world, an inn and Japanese culture center named Murataya in Otsuki has set up a special program for foreign guests to join in on the fun and take photos that they will never forget.



Organizers at Murataya allow for two sessions per day, one from 9 am to 12 pm and another from 2 pm to 5 pm. When you first arrive, you are greeted by their friendly staff and welcomed into the walls of the 3-story traditional inn. There you may use your own makeup, or the tools provided to get into character before completing the outfit with a Yukata or Cosplay and a wig as well. Once you and your group are ready, you then set off with Murataya staff and Professional cameraman (and photographer himself) Mr. Hirune Takanashi for beautiful photos across Otsuki. Of course, you may opt for the less expensive course and take photos on your own, but for the best of photos I highly recommend pairing with Mr. Takanashi. When our team went Hydrangeas were in full bloom, so we even got some awesome photos with the flowers as well. 


However, there are also options such as the nationally famous Saruhashi Bridge, a small shrine, and the cool ( and also terrifying) 3rd-floor attic of Murataya where Takanashi can shine cool lights to add that mysterious feel to your photos (just don’t look down).



Stopping for lunch in full costume partway through was quite the nerve-wracking experience. I had never done cosplay outside of Halloween during high school and some of us were concerned to see how Japanese people would react seeing a bunch of foreigners in Yukata and cosplay. But sweetly enough the people at the restaurant said that they loved seeing foreigners embrace both traditional and pop culture. In Western media, many people have received a lot of backlash for cultural appropriation but with respect for the culture and the right mindset, Japanese people are elated to see us embracing their culture. Oh—and also the food was delicious!


As an additional and shorter activity Murataya also offers a ‘culture experience’ where you get to have fun enjoying the Japanese tea ceremony while adorned in Yukata’s (or the multilayered Kimono as the clothing options depends on the season).


Overall, it was a unique and surprisingly eye-opening experience and I can’t recommend it enough. I definitely recommend giving it a try, even if it is just on your way to Mt. fuji.




Address:Yamanashi, Otsuki, Tomihamachi, Torisawa642

( 2 min walk from JR Torisawa Sta)







Published on

  • September 8, 2020


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