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Yamanashi Travel Guide A vibrant and relaxing getaway

The mountainous prefecture of Yamanashi is one of Japan’s smallest. But that doesn't make it any less worth a visit. This lovely area certainly ranks as a golfer’s paradise: Over 40 golf courses dot the landscape - meaning you’ll find at least one every 100 miles!

 Not far from metropolitan Tokyo, nature lovers will find Yamanashi a vibrant as well as relaxing getaway destination. The prefecture’s most famous landmark is Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain. The many lakes surrounding Mount Fuji - called the Fuji Five Lakes or Fujigoko - make up for the fact that Yamanashi is landlocked and has no access to the ocean. Here, you will find amusement and activities for all kinds of travelers and every member of the family. From extreme mountain climbing to extreme roller coaster rides and extreme hot spring relaxation. A golf trip to Yamanashi will leave you satisfied!

Photo: Titleist Mt Fuji by Shibuya 246

Things to do

Yamanashi offers prime locations for outdoor fun as well as traditional culture and leisure activities. In addition to golfing, hiking in summer and skiing in winter are popular among visitors and locals alike. Especially in the Mount Fuji and Yatsugatake areas! The Shosenkyo Gorge lends itself wonderfully to an afternoon walk. It is also known for its breathtaking autumn landscapes of red, orange, and golden fall foliage.

Of course, traditional cherry blossom viewing in spring is a must in Yamanashi as well. An especially picturesque view offers Kofu Castle, which in April is surrounded by falling cherry blossoms. The prefecture is renowned for its wine made from the Koshu grape, and visiting a winery in Koshu city is guaranteed to end in a delicious tasting.

Fuji Five Lakes is an area dense in attractions. The most famous of the lakes is Kawaguchiko, over which Mount Fuji towers majestically. Spend a day at the amusement park Fuji Q Highland with activities for the entire family. Or relax your tired arms and legs from a day on the green and soak in one of the area’s many onsen hot springs. And learn about ancient Japanese architecture and customs at the open air museum Iyashi no Sato.

Whether you are looking for an afternoon activity after a morning on the golf course or wish to expand your golfing vacation with a bit of hiking and traditional culture, Yamanashi is a perfect destination.

Photo: peaceful-jp-scenery

Flavors of Yamanashi

The dish for which Yamanashi is best known is Hōtō. This hearty soup will revive your spirits after a day spent outdoors. Hoto is made with a flavorful miso base, locally grown vegetables and thick wheat noodles, called udon. The noodles are prepareda bit differently from typical udon, these are flatter and chewier. The vegetables used for this soul food dish vary by season. In summer you will taste scallions, potatoes and onions, in winter there will be taro root, Chinese cabbage and other root vegetables, like carrots. Pumpkin and different types of Japanese mushrooms are staples in Hōtō, sometimes meat is added for extra heartiness and stamina.

Photo: Greenland4

What to bring back

As mentioned above, Yamanashi is famous for its wine made from the Koshu grape. This makes it the perfect souvenir for friends back home, or even for yourself. Enjoy a glass while reminiscing the good times you had on your golfing trip to Japan. The wine is a pale white variety with a fruity taste that pairs well with the flavors of the Japanese kitchen. Another great souvenir are scarves or ties made from Koshu fabric. A centuries-old trade, the weaving of Koshu fabric with its intricate designs has been vital to the prefecture’s economy. The textiles from Yamanashi are popular throughout the entire country.

Photo: By tzejen

Where to stay

The most beautiful place to stay in Yamanashi is undoubtedly the town of Fujikawaguchiko. In the foothills of Mount Fuji with a magnificent view of Lake Kawaguchi, lies the glamping resort Hoshinoya Fuji. It offers guests luxury cabins and exquisite outdoor dining. Nature lovers will enjoy the thrill of camping with the comforts of a high-end hotel.

For a more traditional accommodation, the Kukuna Resort and Spa is an excellent choice. The Japanese suites with private outdoor hot spring baths will make your stay in Yamanashi extra special. Each of these accommodations provides a perfect base for exploring the prefecture.

Photo: Kukuna Resort and Spa


Wrap up

Yamanashi may be small, but it has a lot to offer! Here, you have the opportunity to discover the beautiful landscapes of Japan and climb its highest mountain. Dive into traditional culture and taste Yamanashi’s hearty soul. Or spend a day riding the exciting roller coasters of Fuji Q Highland. 

Reach Kawaguchiko in about 1,5 hours by car or 2 hours by express bus from Tokyo. Koshu and Kofu are also only 2 hours from Tokyo by train on the JR Chuo Line or Chuo Line Limited Express from Shinjuku station.


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