Yamanashi (prefecture)

Yamanashi Prefecture (山梨県 Yamanashi-ken) is in the central Chubu region of the main Japanese island Honshu. Just hours from Tokyo by bus, train, or car, Yamanashi is good for a day trip from the big city and allows travelers to experience the “inaka” (rural) Japan. Yamanashi’s major city, Kofu, lies at the center of this bowl-shaped prefecture, with some of Japan’s most famous mountains rising along the horizon. On a clear day, a visitor can see Mt. Fuji to the south, Japan’s second highest peak Kitadake and the majestic Minami Alps to the west, and the eight fractured peaks of Yatsugatake to the north. Yamanashi offers a wealth of cultural experiences and outdoor excursions to those searching for the offbeat side of Japan. Most foreign visitors overlook Yamanashi, but this small prefecture might be the ideal destination for a traveler tired of Tokyo’s crowds.

. . . Yamanashi (prefecture) . . .

Yamanashi is quite unusual amongst Japanese provinces in that its borders have remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years. Formerly known as Kai Province (甲斐国), the majority of the prefecture is formed of the Kofu Basin, a flat plain in the centre of the prefecture surrounded by virtually impassible natural mountain barriers. Kai was once the base of the famous samurai leader Takeda Shingen, a man who once looked certain to unite the whole of Japan until his mysterious death whilst on campaign. The people of Yamanashi celebrate him to this day.

Though in terms of natural geography and history part of the Chubu region of Japan, in modern times Yamanashi has much closer links to Tokyo and the broader Kanto region. Its dialect is close to that of Tokyo albeit peppered with some unique local vocabulary.

For traveller Yamanashi might be seen to be composed of several regions which are not easily accessible by each other. One is the Kofu basin, a large urban sprawl centred on Kofu city. The other significant area is the south eastern Fuji Yoshida area, home to Mount Fuji. There are also several other less prominent and more rural areas such as Hokuto and Minobu.

Saruhashi Bridge in Otsuki
  • 35.666666666667138.566666666671 Kofu – the prefectural capital
  • 35.610555555556138.941 Otsuki – small city near Tokyo, with good hiking possibilities
  • 35.776666666667138.423611111111 Hokuto – small city near Nagano
  • 35.4875138.808055555561 Fuji Yoshida – a city on the foot hills of Mt. Fuji
  • 35.4675138.44251 Minobu
  • 35.630277777778139.108611111111 Uenohara
  • 35.705277777778138.729444444441 Koshu – Centre of Yamanashi’s wine making,
  • 35.660833333333138.515833333331 Kai
  • 35.708888888889138.446388888891 Nirasaki
  • 35.412777777778138.363055555561 Hayakawa
  • 35.692222222222138.685277777781 Yamanashi

. . . Yamanashi (prefecture) . . .

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. . . Yamanashi (prefecture) . . .

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