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YAMANASHI Prefecture

Area: 4,465 km2
Population: 847 thousand
Region: Chubu
Capital: Kofu

photo by mrhayata

Yamanashi 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.

Kofu City, the capital of Yamanashi Prefecture is located almost in the center of the prefecture, surrounded by Mount Fuji to the south, Mount Kimpu the the north and mount Shirane and Mount Kai-koma to the west. It is the largest city in the Prefecture.

The city offers a few interesting attractions such as old temples and shrines, an old castle and a museum famous for its interesting paintings by well known artists.
Kofu is famous for its delicious fruits and excellent wine production and the healing waters of the Yumura Spa, a hot spring resorts located within the city itself. Japan’s most beautiful valley,Mitake- Shosenkyo is located in Kofu.
Mt.Fuji is easily viewable from Kofu.
One of the most visited places in the Yamanashi prefecture is the northern half of Mount Fuji, Japan's highest and most famous peak. Also frequently visited is the Fuji Five Lakes, Fuji-Go-ko, located at the foot of Mount Fuji and famous for its breathtaking scenery. The names of the five lakes are: Kawaguchi, Yamanaka, Sai, Shoji and Motosu.

Mountain climbing and hot springs are among the most popular forms of recreation in Yamanashi. The many hot springs in the area offer health benefits and relaxation.

There is also a popular amusement park there, Fujikyu Highlands. It stands 12,290 feet tall. The 124-acre park has 33 rides, 9 restaurants, 12 snack bars, 17 tennis courts, and 20 bowling alleys. It has one of the highest roller coasters in the world, Fujiyama.
By plane
There are no airports in Yamanashi, but Tokyo's Narita and Haneda airports are accessible by bus.

By train
You can access Yamanashi by two lines of Chuo Line and Minobu Line. The Chuo Line come from Tokyo,Shinjuku and Matsumoto while the Minobu Line comes from Shizuoka. From Shizuoka you can connect to the Shinkansen and can be used to access Osaka and Nagoya.
Other than Kofu station, other principal stations on the super express trains are Otsuki station, Kobuchizawa station and Minobu station.

By bus
Highway bus services link Kofu to other cities, Shinjuku, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya.
Bus service may be cheaper, but the train is generally much faster and, other than of the route which goes to Shinjuku, are comparably fewer in number.
From Kofu Station you can take buses to Shinjuku, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Narita Airport and Haneda Airport.
Most regions of Yamanashi have an inland climate with great swings in temperature. The mountain regions such as Yatsuga-take and Mt. Fuji have the highland climate, with bitterly cold winters and cool summers.
During summer, you should be fine if you wear a short-sleeved shirt, t-shirt or a dress, however a long sleeved shirt is highly recommended if you choose to go near water or to the mountains.
In the winter, be sure to bring warm clothes such as winter coat or jacket, hat, scarf and gloves.
For the spring and autumn a light jacket or a sweater should keep you warm.
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