Sharing Fujisan with Shizuoka to the south, Yamanashi Prefecture famously owns the northern part of Mount Fuji, the tallest and most sacred mountain in Japan. Land-locked in the central Chubu region to the west of Tokyo, Yamanashi is immersed in mountainous scenery and beautiful landscapes of national parks. It’s home to the glistening waters of the lush Fuji Five Lakes area, a popular summer getaway destination which offers adventurous activities like hiking, fishing, camping, and more. For those wanting to relax, Yamanashi hosts a number of hot spring resorts with outdoor baths offering amazing onsen views of Mount Fuji. Annually anticipated, the Fuji Shibazaraka Festival offers spectacular views of Fujisan over fields flooded with “pink moss” flowers, best visited during the first three weeks of May. For thrill-seekers, another place to see Mount Fuji is from the rollercoasters of Fuji-Q Highland, one of Japan’s largest and most popular amusement parks, featuring record-breaking rides and plenty of themed attractions.
Surrounded by mountains and connected by a number of cable cars and ropeways, Yamanashi’s charming capital city of Kofu is nestled in the Kofu Basin. Famous for its juicy local fruit, plump and fresh, Yamanashi is also Japan’s top wine-producing region, making 40% of the country’s top-quality wine. Temples and shrines are sprinkled in and around the Fuji-Izu-Hakone National Park area, where lies the largest of the famous Fuji Five Lakes, Lake Yamanaka, also the third highest lake in Japan. Lake Kawaguchiko is the second largest but with the longest shorelines, boasting breathtaking views and twinkling illuminations come wintertime. A long-celebrated symbol in Japanese literature and art, hikers can scale Mount Fuji from July to September. With breathtaking views at sunrise, there are several routes to the summit, but, as the saying goes, a wise person climbs Fuji once but only a fool climbs it twice! Reward yourself with a bowl of hoto, the regional dish of Yamanashi, a local style of flat udon typically served in a light miso broth, stewed with vegetables.
Hoto is a popular dish in Yamanashi, a noodle soup made with miso paste and flat udon noodles. You can learn how to make hoto in Yamanashi and try local sake during a cooking class.
Lake Kawaguchi is the second largest of the Fuji Five Lakes. Standing at the lake, you will see Mt. Fuji’s mirrored reflection in the water. Located at the base of Mt. Fuji, Fuji-Q Highland is popular for its intense roller coasters and haunted attractions.
If you visit Arakura Sengen Shrine, head over to Chureito Pagoda to see the beautiful view of Mt. Fuji. It is an amazing spot for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) as you can see a sea of blossoms around the pagoda.
Yamanashi is famous for its natural beauty and changing seasons. Mt. Fuji sits on the border between Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures, and boasts gorgeous views of Japan’s most iconic mountain. The stunning Narusawa Ice Caves (a Natural Monument) and Lake Kawaguchi are other examples of the natural attractions that Yamanashi has to offer.
Kikyouya Shingen Mochi is a sweet mochi covered with kinako powder (roasted soybean powder) and drizzled with brown sugar. It is a classic omiyage (souvenir) from Yamanashi. Even the packaging for this mochi is cute and easy to tote around in bright fabric bags.