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35 of the Best Things to Do in Yamanashi
- Yamanashi is most famous for Japan’s highest mountain, Fuji, but they have plenty more things that you can enjoy. It’s not far from Tokyo at all and very easy to access by train or bus. Touristy places such as Mt. Fuji, the onsen (hot springs), fruit picking, and other in-season events are always crowded with people from in or outside of Japan. They also have good local food, such as hoto (noodles in a vegetable soup), fresh fruits and fine wines. Here is a selection of activities and delicious options to help make your Yamanashi trip unforgettable! Mt. Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes (Fuji-Goko) Although Yamanashi has a lot of different attractive activities, we can’t talk about this prefecture without talking about Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji is a 3,776-meter-high mountain and the tallest in Japan. It has been a symbol of Japan for a long time and is loved by Japanese people. Fuji-Goko refers to the Fuji Five Lakes that lie at the base of Mt. Fuji. Lake Kawaguchi-ko, Lake Yamanaka-ko, Lake Sai-ko, Lake Shoji-ko and Lake Motosu-ko are the names of the five lakes. Go camping in the best Mt. Fuji viewing spot There are many camping places around the Fuji Five Lakes area. Among them, the Koan Camping Ground has amazing activities that you can enjoy right in front of Mt. Fuji. The Koan Camping Ground sits on the northwestern shore of Lake Motosu-ko, one of the Fuji Five Lakes. Lake Motosu-ko is the deepest and has the clearest water among the five lakes. If you see Mt. Fuji from here, you might recognize the view, as it’s the image that appears on Japanese 1000 yen bills! View Mt. Fuji from the most popular spot Arakurayama Sengen Park is one of the best Mt. Fuji viewing spots in the Fuji Five Lakes area and has been a cover photo for the Michelin Green Guide Book Japan. You might also find photos with beautiful cherry blossoms if you search online. The most famous shot incorporates three Japanese symbols into the one picture - cherry blossoms, the five-story pagoda and Mt. Fuji.In the springtime, people from both Japan and abroad come to capture this picture. There are 398 steps to get to the five-story pagoda, which makes it even more special to see the combined view of Mt. Fuji and the pagoda.Read moreA photographer’s dream: five spots to visit in YamanashiYamanashi is a photographer’s dream: towering peakings, including Fuji, verdant lowlands, densely forested foothills, and charming villages and townscapes.… Check out the natural treasures There are many sites of natural heritage around Mt. Fuji. Oshino-Hakkai is one that you should definitely visit and was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fujisan sacred place and artistic inspiration, in 2013. It’s a set of eight spring ponds in the village of Oshino. Oshino is situated between Lake Yamanaka-ko and Lake Kawaguchi-ko, and there are quite a few shrines and natural art in the village. Ponds are believed to have been holy places for long time. Fuji-Q Highland Fuji-Q Highland is a famous theme park with scary rides! It’s best known for its fast roller coasters like FUJIYAMA that have thrilled many fans all over the world. You can enter the park without an admission fee. Combined views of Mt. Fuji and seasonal flowers Yamanaka-ko Hanano Miyako Park is a flower garden that’s situated at 1,000 meters above sea level! They have different flowers each season that are accompanied by changing views of Mt. Fuji. It’s just like taking a picture of Mt. Fuji with different colored frames. Depending on the time, temperature and humidity, you might be able to see what’s known as “Diamond Fuji”. It’s a phenomenon that takes place when the sun illuminates the top of Mt. Fuji’s summit, appearing like a shiny diamond on the top of the mountain. The beautiful lighting reflected on the lake is also breathtaking. Read moreWhere to Go in the Mount Fuji AreaSo you’ve climb Mount Fuji and the view from the top has left you wanting to explore more of this beautiful region below.… Fun activities for a rainy day Sightseeing on a rainy day isn’t always the best thing. However, there are many places where you can have fun inside in the Mt. Fuji area! The Fujisan World Heritage Center is probably the best choice. They have a mini Mt. Fuji that was made from washi (Japanese paper), as well as exhibitions that explain the natural and cultural history of Mt. Fuji and the value of its World Heritage listing. Popular gourmet experiences in the Mt. Fuji area When visiting the Mt. Fuji area, there are several meals that you should try! Yoshida-no-udon is the first thing, if you get a chance. It’s a traditional meal of Fujiyoshida City that has various toppings, such as horse meat and cabbage. There are more than 50 shops where you can eat these udon noodles in the city. They have limited numbers of udon available each day, so you better go before it’s sold out! “Limited season only” Mt. Fuji, a once-in-a-lifetime mountain climbing experience! Japan’s highest volcano, Mt. Fuji is 3776.24 meters in height and has been recognized as one of the symbols of Japan. Looking at it is wonderful, but climbing to the top to watch the sunrise is something that you should do before you die! It’s located on the border between the prefectures of Yamanashi and Shizuoka. There are several routes to the top and you can select the trail depending on your hiking experience and physical health. Most of the routes open in the middle of July. But the Yoshida route, which starts in Yamanashi, opens from the beginning of July. To witness sunrise at the top, you need to start climbing around noon. There are numerous mountain houses where you can stop to eat dinner and have a small nap. Stay there until midnight, then start climbing to the top so you arrive in time for sunrise.Official Website : Mt. Fuji Climbing Seasonal events in the Mt. Fuji area While the season for climbing Mt. Fuji is limited, the surrounding area has many events that take place throughout the year. In the spring, you can enjoy the festivals celebrating the sakura or cherry blossoms. The Fuji-Shiba Sakura Festival and the Arakurayama Sengen Park Sakura Festival are both pretty popular. Summer is also known as a festival season, with the Kawaguchi-ko Herb Festival, fireworks and the Yoshida Fire Festival taking place! They have an Autumn Colors Festival where you can enjoy the beautifully colored leaves of Kawaguchi-ko. In winter time, Kawaguchi-ko has winter fireworks, Lake Sai-ko has an ice festival, and there are illuminations too!Read moreFireworks Festivals Take Over Fuji Five LakesSummer in Japan is synonymous with festivals (matsuri) and fireworks (hanabi).… ©NAVITIME JAPAN. 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Mount Fuji Alternatives For a Rainy Day
- So you’ve traveled to the Fuji Five Lakes with the goal to get a close up look at Mount Fuji and get social media-worthy photos along the way but the weather's not cooperating and the main reason for your trip is hidden behind thick clouds. Well, don’t let the bad weather put a damper on the Mount Fuji-themed adventure. While you wait for the clouds to clear up, you can still get a good dose of Fuji fun by visiting a Museum, hot spring, the Monkey Showman Theatre and so on... Fujiyama Museum Fujiyama Museum The Fujiyama Museum, as the name implies, is a museum dedicated to showcasing the beauty of Mount Fuji from the perspective of a selected group of Japanese and foreign artists and their diverse styles of paintings. The museum is small in size yet big on the quality of the artwork on display. As you make your way up the sloping gallery, you will come across the permanent works of modern painters all with a common passion for Mount Fuji instilled in their paintings. The museum also holds special exhibitions which at times include collaborations with renowned figures in the entertainment world. The building’s architectural design is also good reason to make a stop at the Fujiyama Museum. The bright atrium is filled with natural light, and even on cloudy days walking around its exhibition areas is a pleasant experience. Once you are done admiring Mount Fuji on canvas, you can round up the museum experience with an artsy and tasty Mount Fuji sandwich ice cream and tea set at the Atrium Café. Fujiyama Museum Fujisan World Heritage Centre. Fujisan World Heritage Centre A 20-minute walk west of the Fujiyama Museum, the Fujisan World Heritage Centre awaits visitors with a whole lot of engaging information about the iconic volcano right behind it. Through its new South Hall, the centre offers visitors the chance to virtually experience the natural environment of Mount Fuji, while learning about the history and spiritual aspects that have drawn pilgrims to climb and worship the mountain for thousands of years. Fujisan World Heritage Centre The main attraction here is the Fugaku 360, a three-dimensional version of Mount Fuji which changes colour to depict the changes faces of the mountain throughout the day. From the hall’s second floor you can view the 3D Mount Fuji and walk through the Ochudo Corridor where you’ll hear the sounds of Mount Fuji, walk through its historical moments, and watch a short video that transports you to the mountain. Fujisan World Heritage Centre Fuji Chobo-no-yu Yurari Fuji Chobo-no-yu Yurari While the rain may delay your trip up Mount Fuji, that doesn’t mean you can’t look at Mount Fuji, and from a lovely open-air hot spring, no less. Fuji Chobo-no-yu Yurari is a tranquil hot spring facility that has excellent views of the imposing Mount Fuji, so you can soak away the stress of travel and still feel like the trip was worthwhile. They have 3 baths with Mount Fuji views, and 2 of them are open-air. Should the weather not be too terrible, then you can relax in the outdoor springs, but there're still indoor baths and sauna that will salvage a stormy day at the mountain. Fuji Chobo-no-yu Yurari The Monkey Showman Theatre at Lake Kawaguchi-ko The Monkey Showman Theatre at Lake Kawaguchi-ko Or maybe you need an extra helping of cuteness to overcome those rainy day blues? The Monkey Showman Theatre is the spot for you. This stage performance features Japanese monkeys doing all kinds of adorable tricks, as well as a few athletic feats, with the help of a human partner. Performances last around 40 minutes, and tickets are 1,500 yen for adults.There’s also a separate monkey enclosure, 300 yen, that lets you get a closer look at the animals, as well as have the opportunity to give them a little treat. Nothing like trading a rainy day for that warm, fuzzy feeling. The Monkey Showman Theatre at Lake Kawaguchi-ko Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum is a European-styled amusement center that’s focused on instruments and musical performances. Though it may not be the best weather to wander around their lovely gardens, the indoor facilities alone are worth the visit. The Organ Hall displays a towering antique organ 5 meters high and 13 meters wide, ornately decorated with dozens of dolls that play along to the organ’s automatic performances. The Main Hall hosts an automatic orchestral performance that sometimes features live accompaniment, and shows take place throughout the day. You can even make your own music box at one of the museum’s workshops! Entrance is 1,500 yen for adults. Kawaguchiko Music Forest Museum The Itchiku Kubota Art Museum The Itchiku Kubota Art Museum Down on Lake Kawaguchi, in an area with almost as many museums as onsens, the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum is home to the work of its namesake textile artist who revived the lost traditional form of Tsujigahana, a Muromachi era (1336–1573) fabric dyeing technique. Kubota’s work has been exhibited in galleries around the world, including the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. This is a rare opportunity to see the largest collection of his work. Inspired by Antoni Gaudí, the museum building is a work of art in its own right, a perfect match the Kubota’s textile work, as well as other pieces collected by the artist. At the end of exploring the space, stop for a cup of macha in the artist’s former workshop. The Itchiku Kubota Art Museum Kawaguchiko Muse Museum Kawaguchiko Muse Museum Another worthy spot on Lake Kawaguchi, Kawaguchiko Muse Museum hosts the work of Yuki Atae, whose cotton cloth dolls maker. He held a personal exhibition at New York, Paris, and Sao Paulo. The dolls scratch a nostalgic itch, presenting a slice of life in early-20th century Japan, but they also represent the highest expression of the indigenous artistic tradition of dollmaking. After the dolls, tour the other gallery spaces and stop for a cup of tea with a view of Yagizaki Park. Kawaguchiko Muse Museum ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
Five Best Photo Spots in Yamanashi
- Yamanashi is a photographer’s dream: towering peakings, including Fuji, verdant lowlands, densely forested foothills, and charming villages and townscapes. If you point your camera anywhere in Yamanashi, you’re bound to find something worth snapping the shutter on. But just in case, here are five of the best photo spots in the prefecture. Wade into the Sea of Trees at Aokigahara Running up the highlands that border the mighty peak of Fuji, the Aokigahara Forest is a stretch of virtually untouched woodland thick with sugi, cypress, red pine, hemlock, and, at higher elevations, kometsuga and Veitch's fir. The dense forest, soundtracked by birdsong, is popular with hikers on daytrips from Tokyo, who make their way down marked trails or over to Fugaku Wind Cave and the Narusawa Ice Cave, both photogenic spots in their own right. The trail out from Saiko Bat Cave also offers some great views of Mount Fuji. Nature photographers are treated to a fascinating ecosystem of small mammals and birds. Putting aside the warmed-over pop culture depictions of the place, it’s a good idea—and this goes for any place in the country—to read up on the history of the forest, and be respectful of the place. Counterfeit a 1000 yen view at Lake Motosu If you’ve ever idly wondered about the etching on the reverse side of a 1000 yen note… Okada Koyo snapped the original photo, now embellished with cherry blossoms, from the shores of Lake Motosu. One of the bodies of water that make up the Fuji Five Lakes, a group of lakes at the base of Mt. Fuji, Motosu is a surrounded by hiking trails heading out to spots with great views of the surrounding landscape. After snapping your own shots, pay tribute to the man himself at the Koyo Okada Photo Art Museum near Oshino Hakkai, and check out the large format rig that captured the shot on the back of the 1000 yen bill. Step back in time at Oshino Hakkai If you do stop by Okada’s museum, Oshino Hakkai is worth checking out (or vice-versa). The eight seas (hakkai) in the name refer to the eight ponds fed by underground springs. An open-air museum has been put up around the largest of the ponds, with thatched-roof huts done up in a traditional style. The views from Oshino Hakkai of Mount Fuji are impressive, especially with the olde tyme cottages in the foreground—weather permitting, of course. Lake Kawaguchi Set within the boundaries of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Lake Kawaguchi has been popular with photographers in particular since the late-1800s when early daguerreotype equipment was dragged out to Yamanashi to snap pictures of the sacred mountain. Apart from the views of Fuji, the shoreline of the lake offers up plenty of other views. With each season a new face is revealed: area’s desolate beauty is only enhanced by the coming of midwinter snow, the green of the surrounding hills and the shade of the forest in the summer, and many will say that autumn is the time to come, when the hills are lit red with autumn foliage and clear skies give the best views of Mount Fuji and the surrounding landscape. Chureito Pagoda Part of the Arakura Sengen Shrine, the Chureito Pagoda is a steep climb up from the main complex, making it the perfect model to pose in the foreground of Fuji shots. In the autumn, when the leaves turn and Tokyoites make the pilgrimage out to the Fuji Five Lakes to see the foliage, the area teems with visitors. But make your way there midweek, a bit later in the season, and things will be almost peaceful. Take a classic shot of Chureito Pagoda, the valley below and the majestic Mount Fuji towering over all. ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
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