There’s no need to dig deep to uncover the true beauty of Japan in Yamanashi: the iconic views of cherry blossoms with the snow-covered Mt. Fuji in the background or the autumn foliage sparkling in countless shades of red and yellow on the mountainsides are right there. Here you will gain new perspectives on some of Yamanashi’s most famous sights and find hints on how to uncover their secrets.

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  • Kofu Castle

    The peaceful Maizuru Castle Park in central Kofu holds the ruins of Kofu Castle. Open 24 hours a day, the park is particularly popular in spring for its abundant cherry blossoms that bloom beside the old castle walls.

  • Chozenji Temple

    Chozenji Temple is one of the Kofu Gozan or Five Great Zen Temples of Kofu, chosen by the warlord Takeda Shingen, who ruled Kai Province (present-day Yamanashi) from 1540 to 1573. The temples were tasked with praying for the protection and safety of the province.

  • Nojoji Temple

    Nojoji Temple is one of the Kofu Gozan or Five Great Zen Temples of Kofu. Nojoji’s grounds are not as extensive as some of the other Kofu Gozan temples, but the temple’s elevation gives it a clear view over the city and the mountains behind it, while its calm stillness makes it an ideal space for quiet contemplation.

  • Tokoji Temple

    Tokoji Temple, one of the Kofu Gozan or Five Great Zen Temples of Kofu, is popular for its magnificent garden. Using the natural slope of the hill, lines of carefully placed rock draw the eye to the garden’s focal point: a small pond with a “waterfall” of rocks flowing into it.

  • Enkoin Temple

    The peaceful Enkoin Temple sits on the slope of Mount Atago overlooking the city of Kofu and the Kofu Basin. It is one of the Kofu Gozan or Five Great Zen Temples of Kofu, chosen by the warlord Takeda Shingen, who ruled Kai Province (present-day Yamanashi) from 1540 to 1573.

  • Hosenji Temple

    Despite its great historical significance, Hosenji Temple is quiet and secluded. The rustling trees on the temple grounds and the calm surroundings create a sense of being alone, making Hosenji a particularly spiritual place and an ideal spot for quiet contemplation.

  • Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine

    Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Shrine is located amidst a dense old-growth forest, which denotes ties to the spirit world. The long, atmospheric approach to the main shrine is lined with mossy stone lanterns and shaded by tall cedar trees.

  • 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.

  • Saruhashi Bridge

    Spanning the gorge of the Katsura River in the city of Otsuki, Saruhashi (“monkey bridge”) is one of the most peculiar bridges in Japan. The elegant arch bridge is perhaps the best-known example of the hanebashi style, in which a bridge is supported by a series of cantilever beams set in the opposing cliff faces.

  • Hanasaki Honjin (Hoshino House)

    The Hoshino estate, located in what was once the post town of Shimo-Hanasaki, was constructed between 1849 and 1851. Several of the buildings, including the main house, rice storehouse, miso storehouse, and library storehouse, are designated Important Cultural Properties of Japan.

  • Heiwa Kannon

    This giant standing statue of Kannon, the bodhisattva of compassion, has become a symbol of the city of Nirasaki. From its position on a hill in the city center, the statue serves as a very visible call for world peace and is a prayer for the safety of mountain climbers.

  • Wanitsuka no Sakura

    This sprawling cherry blossom tree is estimated to be about 330 years old. From its position in the middle of the river terrace of the Kamanashi River, among the stepped rice paddies of Nirasaki, the Wanitsuka no Sakura offers stunning views on all sides.

  • 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.

  • Mount Mizugaki

    The 2,230-meter Mount Mizugaki has an unusual jagged peak, making it particularly inviting for rock climbing and bouldering. The mountain also has a long history as a hiking destination, with the main road to the peak believed to have started as a pilgrimage trail more than 1,000 years ago.

  • Kawamatagawa Valley

    The Kawamatagawa Valley is one of the most popular nature spots in Yamanashi Prefecture. Named for the Kawamatagawa River that runs through it, the valley is filled with trees and is home to attractions such as the famous Doryu Falls and the Higashizawa Bridge.

  • Utsukushimori Lookout

    Utsukushimori means “beautiful forest,” and the Utsukushimori Lookout has some of the best views of these visually pleasing woods. It boasts panoramic 360-degree views of the Kiyosato Plateau and the surrounding mountains, and on a clear day, the Southern Alps can be seen along with Mount Fuji.

  • Yamataka Jindai Zakura

    This magnificent cherry blossom tree at Jissoji Temple in the highlands of Yamanashi’s Hokuto region is one of the “Three Great Sakura Trees” of Japan. The tree is considered a symbol of long life and seedlings grown from it have been planted elsewhere in Japan and around the world.

  • Sanbuichi Yusui Kan

    The Sanbuichi Yusui Kan museum is dedicated to the Sanbuichi Yusui, a more than 400-year-old mountainside weir. An impressive feat of engineering in the sixteenth century, the weir remains in good condition today and its water is still used for rice farming and other agricultural purposes.

  • Dragon Park

    Dragon Park in the city of Kai is a spacious, family-friendly destination, with fun elements themed around the mythical creature that gives the surrounding Ryuo (“Dragon King”) district its name.

  • Isawa Onsen Street

    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.

  • 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.

  • Miyakoen

    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.

  • Mount Daibosatsu

    The 2,057-meter Mount Daibosatsu is located in Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, a vast nature preserve on the border between Yamanashi, Nagano, Saitama, and Tokyo. The mountain is one of the “100 Famous Mountains” of Japan and is known for its untouched natural beauty.

  • Katsunuma

    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.

  • Road Station Kai Yamato

    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.

  • Kabuki Bunka Park

    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.

  • Kuonji Temple Main Gate

    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 Five-story Pagoda

    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.

  • Nishijima Washi no Sato

    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.

  • Nanbu Fire Festival

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Doshi Valley

    The peaceful mountain village of Doshi in eastern Yamanashi is set amidst a lush, verdant valley around 28 kilometers long. Doshi has the distinction of having the highest density of campsites in a single area in all of Japan, and is a popular destination for nature-lovers.

  • Sakana Park

    Sakana Park in Oshino was established in 2001 as a theme park celebrating forests and water: a nod to its rich natural surroundings and the clear spring waters originating from Mount Fuji. A stroll through the green space takes you past streams and fountains using groundwater from the sacred peak.

  • Shiki no Mori Oshino Park Koyo Okada Photo Museum and Koike Kunio Etegami Museum

    Shiki no Mori consists of two museums housed in a single building: one centers around the photographic works of Koyo Okada, who dedicated his life to photographing Mount Fuji, while the other features a collection of etegami (“picture letters”) by Kunio Koike.

  • Panorama-dai Lookout

    As its name implies, this lookout point offers sweeping, panoramic views of Mount Fuji and Lake Yamanakako from an elevation of 1,090 meters. The views from Panorama-dai at sunrise and sunset are remarkable year-round.

  • Mt. Fuji Observation Deck

    Viewing Mount Fuji on its own is splendid enough, but it is in relation to the surrounding mountains that one can begin to comprehend the sheer scale and size of Japan’s most iconic mountain. This observation deck offers that opportunity.

  • Lake Kawaguchiko

    By far the most visited of the Fuji Five Lakes, Lake Kawaguchiko serves as the main point of entry to this famous lake region. The area surrounding Lake Kawaguchiko is well-developed in terms of tourist infrastructure, with many lakeside hotels, hot springs, windsurfing facilities, campsites, and excursion boats.

  • Lake Shojiko

    Lake Shojiko is the smallest of the Fuji Five Lakes and was once dubbed the “Switzerland of East Asia” by visiting Englishmen for its uniquely beautiful views of Mount Fuji. The surrounding area is less developed than the other lakes in terms of tourist infrastructure, which gives it a tranquil and relatively untouched feel.

  • Tabayama and the Legends of Nanatsuishi Shrine

    Nestled in the northeastern mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture, the tiny village of Tabayama plays an outsized role in the lives of Tokyoites. The village is home to the Tamba River, which empties into Lake Okutamako and flows onward to the Tama River, one of the capital’s most important sources of water.

  • Yamanashi Prefectural Science Center

    Yamanashi Prefectural Science Center takes an immersive, hands-on approach to conveying the wonders of science. Though the facility is aimed primarily at children of around elementary school age, adults too will find themselves enthralled as they both brush up on scientific basics and discover new phenomena.

  • Yamanashi Prefectural Museum

    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.

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