Yamanashi is one of 47 prefectures in Japan and it is probably most famed for it’s many high mountains including the awesome Mount Fuji which is of course the tallest in the country and one that they share with neighbouring prefecture Shizuoka. The capital of Yamanshi is Kōfu city which is where Jack (of Rambling Northerner fame) and I were last Sunday to see the J1 league match between Ventforet Kōfu and Albirex Niigata at the Yamanashi Chuo Bank Stadium.
Like our Mito trip in February, this was another early start and I left the Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre just after 7am to get to Takao for a 9am rendezvous with Jack near the Tengu statue (below) on the platform. Tengu is a creature which is a common part of Japanese folklore and these ferocious masters of martial arts are rumoured to still hang out on the peaks of Mount Takao. I did some research about Tengu a few years ago ahead of my ‘Cycling Tokyo’s Most Haunted Sights…In One Day’ challenge and according to the travel CNN site “the humble and pure of heart have nothing to fear from the Tengu, but woe betide the pompous and arrogant.”
The journey from Takao to Kofu took about 90 minutes and the above picture was taken when the doors opened briefly at Yamanshishi station. The area is famed for peaches and grapes which helps explain the statue.
Re-reading my ‘Top 10 Day Trips Beyond Kanagawa, Saitama & Chiba‘ tells me that I have actually ventured into Yamanashi prefecture more than I remember. Mount Fuji has naturally been at the centre of all visits whether it be the stunning Fuji Shibazakura, Fuji Q Highland theme park, Lake Kawaguchi-ko or actually climbing the mountain itself. No surprise then that the iconic mountain featured on this trip too. We’d seen it throughout our train journey but the view from near Kōfu station (below) was one of the best. It would’ve been better had it not been for that cloud hovering above the peak!
One building that caught my attention was the Yamanashi Bunka-Kaika (Culture Hall) which is an interesting looking building as it’s appearance is reminiscent of a fortress. It was designed by Kenzo Tange as well as the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and is used as a concert hall or broadcast centre.
In terms of proper sightseeing, Maizuru Castle Park is probably the most famous place as it contains the ruins of Kōfu Castle which is about 400 years old. One of the gates was divided from the main castle part with a street of shops and a tower running through the middle of it.
For dinner we went to Kosaku Kofuekimaeten (Marunochi, Kofu 400-0031) which was one of the first names to appear on Google for selling local food and it seemed like all the other diners had had the same idea as everyone in there was an Albirex Niigata fan!
The two dishes we ordered were hōtō (thick wheat noodles in a miso soup broth with ingredients including burdock, pumpkin, radish, carrot, taro, sweet potato and so on) and basashimi which is raw horse meat! Yes, really! It’s not even the first time I have tried it as I had some at Mount Aso in 2014 as it’s fairly common to eat it in Japan. I have to say that I did like it a lot but can’t see myself making a habit of eating it too much!
Click here to read ‘Tokyo Daytripper: Top 10 Day Trips Beyond Kanagawa, Saitama & Chiba’