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Japan’s wine country in the Fuji foothills

Pack a prized Yamanashi piece of fruit in your camping bag and head for the hills.

A ring of emerald mountains around low plains forms landlocked Yamanashi Prefecture in the Chubu region, a landscape ripe for outdoor activities. Hiking, climbing, fishing, camping and hot springs are all within easy reach, while fertile conditions have blessed the region with some of Japan’s most delicious fruit.

Peach, grape and plum are the fruity frontrunners, but you can also harvest your own strawberries, blueberries, apples, persimmons and pears.

Mount Fuji and Fuji Five Lakes

Fuji Five Lakes

Morning mist in autumn on Kawaguchikok Lake.

Mount Fuji is the highest peak in Yamanashi, reflected in the pristine waters of the Fuji Five Lakes. Kawaguchiko, Yamanakako, Shojiko, Motosuko and Saiko run along Fuji’s northern foot with Kawaguchiko being the main gateway to the region. Take the Fujikyu railway for a scenic approach, or hop on a direct bus from central Tokyo for easy access to Japan’s most iconic views.

Discover Chureito Pagoda

Chureito Pagoda with mount fuji and Cherry blossoms in Spring in Japan
Yamanakako is a popular summer resort, especially for water sports, with lots of camping spots around the lake. You can also explore the quaint and quiet Oshino Village. The surface of Shojiko is where you can photograph the classic reflected image of Fuji upside-down, while at Motosuko you can recapture the scene of Mount Fuji that’s printed on the ¥1000 bill.

During late April through May, get your camera ready for the spectacularly photogenic shibakazura flower festival, where thousands of tiny pink and purple moss phlox form a giant flower carpet with Fuji as a backdrop.

Lake Saiko is the least developed, sadly notorious for the Aokigahara suicide forest at its southern shore. It’s still a beautiful place for hiking though, perhaps all the more so because of its mysterious aura.

Kofu City

Kofu City, Yamanashi

A city nestled in the mountains.

The capital of Yamanashi, Kofu, is entirely surrounded by mountains. Tourists mostly go for the fruit, nature and hot springs.

One of the biggest draws of the city would be the wine tours available at well-established wineries such as Sadoya Winery that boasts over a century of history.  Located just a short walk from the station, visitors can tour the grounds and sample some of the highest quality local wines.

Also in Kofu is Takeda Shrine, built on top of the former home of Takeda Shingen, a significant figure in Japanese history. The Takeda clan once ruled what is now called Yamanashi and some of its surrounding prefectures. Legends say if you visit the shrine and pick up three bundles of the golden needles from the sacred trident pine three that it will bring you good fortune.

Shosenkyo Gorge

Shosenkyo Gorge, Yamanashi

Sengataki is a popular photo spot in Shosenkyo Gorge.

Located north of Kofu Station is Shosenkyo Gorge. Offering breathtaking views of the surrounding nature, curiously formed rock formations and Mount Fuji on a good day, a trip to Shosenkyo Gorge is a great way to spend half a day. Arguably one of the best times to visit would be in autumn when the trees are mixed with hues of reds, oranges and yellows.

One of the first sights you’ll see is Nagatoro Bridge which not only has a long history and stunning architectural features but also serves as the starting point to your hike. A little farther up the trail, you’ll encounter the Bridge of Love and Rakanji Bridge but make sure to keep your eye out for some of the awesome rock formations, such as the rocks shaped like a cannon or a bean curd.

Ultimately whether you choose to hike or take the ropeway halfway up the gorge, end your visit to Shosenkyo Gorge with a trip to the Panorama Platform for a view of Mount Fuji.

Plan your trip to Yamanashi with the links below!


Chureito Pagoda with mount fuji and Cherry blossoms in Spring in Japan

Discover Chureito Pagoda

Cherry blossoms, a pagoda, and Mt. Fuji. It doesn't get more "Japan" than this.


Places to visit

Takeda Shrine

Takeda Shrine

Learn about one of the most powerful clans of Japan’s Warring States period at Takeda Shrine.

Lake Yamanakako

Lake Yamanakako

Enjoy the great outdoors in the shadow of Mount Fuji at Lake Yamanakako.

Arakura Fuji Sengen Shrine

Arakurayama Sengen Park

For the most famous view of Mount Fuji, take a hike up Yamanashi Prefecture’s Arakurayama Sengen Park.

Oshino Hakkai

Located nearby Mount Fuji, Oshino Hakkai is a traditional village that is a designated World Heritage Site.

Kawaguchi Asama Shrine

A shrine with breathtaking views of Mount Fuji and a historic past.

Shosenkyo Gorge

Shosenkyo Gorge

Take a scenic walk in Yamanashi and spot some awesome rock formations. Is that one shaped like a cat…?

Chureito Pagoda with mount fuji and Cherry blossoms in Spring in Japan

Chureito Pagoda

Cherry blossoms, a pagoda, and Mt. Fuji. It doesn't get more "Japan" than this.

Lake Saiko

See Mount Fuji, explore a bat cave, and visit a thatched-roof village that rivals Shirakawa-go.

Fuji-Q Highlands

Thrill seekers of the world: listen carefully.


Katsunuma Grape Festival

Come for the wine, stay for the fire!

Kinseiken Daigahara Confectionary Shop

Water mochi is magical but this smalltown sweets shop has all your Japanese faves.

Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine

A shrine of mountains and fire in the Mt. Fuji foothills.

Mount Tenjo & Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway

An iconic view, a lovers’ bell, and a vengeful rabbit…

Ice, Wind and Bat Caves of Mount Fuji

Explore the subterranean lava caves of the 'Fuji Five Lakes' area.

Yoshida Fire Festival

Fireworks at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

Ide Sake Brewery, Kawaguchiko

Ide Sake Brewery

Generations of experience combine with the pure spring waters of Mt. Fuji to create the perfect tipple.

Sunrise at Lake Shojiko

Lake Shojiko

A serene hideaway with its own special view of Mount Fuji and hiking access to a panoramic lookout.

Lake Kawaguchiko

The gateway to the Fuji Five Lakes area, this lake holds hot springs resorts, museums and both lakeside and mountain views of Mount Fuji.

Lake Motosuko

Lake Motosuko

Anyone who has ever paid for something with a ¥1,000 bill should be familiar with this lake’s view of Mount Fuji.

Kawaguchiko Music Forest

Travel in a picture book-like scenery with Mt. Fuji in the backdrop.

Other Destinations in Chubu

Nagoya City Aichi Park


Aichi prefecture is the dynamic capital of Japanese industrialization.

Echizen Ono Castle in Fukui, Japan.


Discover dinosaurs and the art of Zen in fossil-filled Fukui!

Traditional street in Takayama, Gifu prefecture


Scenic Gifu prefecture is a rewarding stopping point on the way from Kanto to Kansai.

Hatago Iwa Rock Ishikawa Noto Hanto


Rich cultural heritage, great seafood and some stunning coastal scenery.

Monkeys bathing in the onsen in Nagano


World-class winter sports, hot springs (occasionally monkey-filled), delicious local food and a foreigner-friendly vibe.

Maruyama rice terraces at sunset, Mie prefecture


The rice is right in Niigata, where there's skiing in winter, festivals in summer and sake all year round.

Mountain Fuji and Shimizu City in Shizuoka, Japan.


It's resorts galore in serene Shizuoka.


Majestic mountains, tall dams, traditional villages and walls of snow.

This Month’s Top Spots

Nagoya City Aichi Park


Aichi prefecture is the dynamic capital of Japanese industrialization.

Tokyo Skyline Japan Tokyo Tower


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Tap into Tokyo’s Manga and Anime Scene

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Manhole cover in Ghibli museum, Tokyo-Japan.

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