18 Best Pick-Ups of Mt. Fuji Activities: from Festivals to Onsen Hopping!
Yamanashi prefecture is the prefecture which locates in the Kanto area. It adjacent to Tokyo and it only takes one and a half hours by train to get there from Tokyo. I would say that Yamanashi Prefecture is not well a known prefecture considering its location. But it does not mean it is not worth visiting. It is like a hidden resort where there is a great nature, historical sites, and hot springs.
Also, there are many festivals and events you cannot miss. You can totally relax and be amazed at this secret resort. Not popular but a secret resort? Getting interested to know more about Yamanashi Prefecture? Here, I would like to introduce 10 best festivals to attend by season and other places where you can go in Yamanashi prefecture. I hope you will consider visiting this attractive prefecture by the end of this article.
★10 Best Festivals to Attend in Yamanashi Prefecture by Season
– Anna Kannon Festival (Spring)
– Yoshida Fire Festival (Summer)
– Koshu Fujikawa Festival (Autumn)
– Oeshiki Festival (Autumn)
– Anzan Festival (Autumn)
– Sunset Shore and Autumn Festival (Autumn)
– Juhyo Festival (Winter)
– Ichinotori Festival (Winter)
– Setsubun Festival (Winter)
– Ice Candle Festival (Winter)
★Places to Visit and Things to Doin Yamanashi Prefecture
– Mount Fuji, Yamanaka Lake, Narusawa Icehole and Oshino Hakkai for Nature Lovers
– Takeda Shrine and Erin Temple for History Lovers
– Hottarakashi Onsen and Ishiwa Onsen for Hot Spring Lovers
– Ninno Ningya Mura (Village) and Fujikyu Highland for Entertainment Lovers
Mt. Fuji is the most famous and highest mountain in Japan. Where does it locate? Yes, it locates in Yamanashi Prefecture. This prefecture has Fuji Mt. on the south, Yatsugatake on the north, and Okuchichibu Massif on the east. The prefecture is surrounded by all those beautiful mountains that are over 2,000 meters high. Most of the Japanese prefectures face the ocean. However, Yamanashi prefecture is one of the few prefectures that locates inland. There are about 820,000 inhabitants living in Yamanashi. Needless to say, Yamanashi prefecture is the place where you can explore not only nature, including those mountains surroundings but also the place where you can appreciate the history and culture. Many events relate to the culture and history and take place through the year in Yamanashi prefecture. Those attract people who are real fans of Yamanashi. Below is the PR video of Yamanashi prefecture in English. You may watch it if you want to get to know about Yamanashi prefecture before your trip.
URL: Otherwise here is the URL for the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErxjeOBQ_cU
Here are several events you can join in Yamanashi prefecture by season. Most of festivals and events in Yamanashi prefecture are associated with its culture and history as at any other places in Japan. I guarantee that no matter what festival or event you join, you will find something new about Yamanashi prefecture. In this article, there are only 10 festivals that I picked for you to try. If you are wondering about the other festivals and events you can go to Yamanashi prefecture, please check at the following link, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/page/2/?events_season&events_region&s=Yamanashi
You can find more festivals and events that fit in your schedule there
This festival takes place in Narasaki City. It is a two days festival that takes place at the beginning of March every year. Narasaki people look forward to this festival and share the joy of the sign of spring. This festival is rooted in the community and its culture. You can feel the warmth and a friendly atmosphere of the festival while you are there.
Ungan Temple is the site for this festival. The temple is famous for the Kannon Stone Statue. It is usually hidden the back side of the temple but becomes open to the public during the festival. There will be a band performance, lottery events, and dance performances at this festival. You can also enjoy Japanese traditional festival foods from over 200 foods booths. It is easy to access the venue within 5 minutes by walk from JR Nirasaki station. Please check out the following ljnk for more details about this festival, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/6143/
This festival lasts for two days. It usually takes place on August 26th and 27th every year at the foot of Mt. Fuji. This festival indicates the end of the climbing season at Mt. Fuji. From the early September, Mt. Fuji will be in a long sleep under a thick layer of snow. People gather to appreciate to Mt. Fuji and enjoy the end of the season at this festival.
Yoshida Fire Festival is one of the biggest ten fire festivals in Japan. Also, it is designated as important intangible folk cultural assets of Yamanashi prefecture. The site will be lit up by many fire torches and you will see traditional looking Mikoshi (portable shrine) carried by local people. You can access to the venue within 5 minutes’ walk from Fujisan Station. For more information about this event, please check the following link, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/4848/
The Koshu Fujikawa Festival is a big festival, which takes place in Fujikawa Chou in November every year. The main event of this festival is Jukko district local cuisine called “Mimi”. Mimi is kneaded bean flour shaped in agricultural tools. It contains a lot of seasonal vegetables and miso in it. There will be over 3,000 Mimi provided during this festival. Also, you can enjoy the original local food there. If you want to try a local traditional food, this festival is the one for you to go.
Other than “Mimi”, you can enjoy a marathon at this festival. This marathon starts from Nishisho to the venue. You will see various people running through the city. Or you can even join rice cake making workshop. You can learn how to make “Ohagi” – the old and traditional Japanese rice cake. There will a stage performance at the festival as well. This festival starts at 9:30 a.m. and finishes at 14:30 p.m. Have your stomach empty before joining this festival. You can access the venue either by bus or cabs. It takes 10 minutes from Ichikawa Daimon Station. You can check more about this festival by clicking on the following link, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/6806/
The Oeshiki festival takes place in the middle of October at the Kuon Temple on Mount Minobu. This festival is one of the oldest and most deeply rooted in the history among all festivals held in Yamanashi prefecture. The celebration has been going on for more than 730 years. There will be about 2000 people joining this festival from inside and outside of the prefecture. Lanterns from all over Japan gather in Kuon Temple and glow in the darkness of the mountains at night. This fesival relates to Nichiren Buddism sect. If you are interested in Japanese religion and would like to know more about it, this festival will definetely satysfy your interest.
The highlight of this festival is the Mando parade. Mando means 10,000 of lanterns. Over 2,000 people carry those lanterns and parade in the mountains. People hold and shake the Mando in the air with the rhythm of Japanese traditional festival music. The view is very dynamic and beautiful with the lights from lanterns. You can access the venue by bus in 10 minutes from Minobu Staion. For more information about this festival, please check at the following link: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/6342/
I find this festival outstanding because this festival is mostly for pregnant women. I am not sure if there are any other festivals in the world that focus on delivering babies. This festival takes place on September 4th to 6th every year at Suwa Shrine located in South Tsurugun. This is very traditional and historical event which has been appreciated by many women from the antient time. Joining in this fesitval is a truly uqnie and Japanese experience.
The venue of this festival – Yamanaka Suwa Shrine, worships a god – the princess Toyotama. Toyotama is the god for safe child delivery. Since the ancient times, there were many pregnant women gathering and lining up for this festival in order to have a safe childbirth.
You will see original portable shrine and people shouting “Mousoro Mousoro” parading at the site. Pregnant women come up to the portable shrine and touch it for the safe child delivery. And this is the moment when the parade gets to the climax. You can access this festival by bus within 35 minutes from Fujisan Station. If you want to know more about this festival, please check out the following link: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/6327/
As Yamanashi prefecture is surrounded by mountains, it is the best place to see the leaves changing colors depending on the season each year. This Sunset Shore and Autumn Leaves Festival invites you to see the beauty of autumn. You will be amazed with the combination of the color of leaves and the mountain in front of you. You can stroll and enjoy autumn during while hiking in the mountains.
There is a hiking path along to Lake Yamanaka where you can see Mount Fuji. The path lies in Asahigaoka Lake Shore Ryokuchi Park and it is 600-meter-long. Beautiful autumn leaves of red and orange colors wait for you at the hiking path. The astonishing view you can see during this festival is the combination of the lake, Mount Fuji, and autumn leaves that are in front of you during the sunset.
You can also enjoy this incredible view at night in the artificial light. Do not forget your camera if you plan to join this festival. You can access the place within 5 minutes’ walk from Ashigaoka bus stop. Please check more about this festival by clicking on the following link, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/4498/
This festival takes place at the Sai Lake right beneath the Fuji Mountain. Yamanashi prefecture gets pretty cold during the winter and some cities and towns in Yamanashi turn into a snow world. Juhyo Festival is the one where you can appreciate the beauty of nature. At this festival you can enjoy seeing Juhyo exhibited at the venue. And each of those Juhyo reassures you the greatness and the beauty of the nature.
This festival takes place from the end of January to the middle of February when the prefecture gets really snowy. At this festival, trees are covered with snow and ice like a man-made sculpture. Each of those Juhyo has its title according to the shape. Those Juhyo get illuminated at night. You can choose when to visit the site depending on how you want to enjoy this festival.
It would be better to join this festival during the day time as you can see Fuji Mountain over the lake. You can access the venue by foot within 40 minutes from Kawaguchiko Station. For more information about this festival, please check the following link, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/4392/
Ichinotori Festival takes place at Uwato Shrine in Kofu area on the first Monday in February. This festival is a long lasting one, which has over 1000 years of history. It celebrates the coming of spring. You can enjoy traditional dances and ceremonies at this festival. Why don’t you celebrate the coming of spring at this traditional and solemn event in Kofu area?
This festival starts in the era of Shirakawa emperor in 1081. It is one of the oldest festivals existing in Japan. This festival provides you with an excellent opportunity to see traditional ceremonies and performances, which are inherited over generations. You can feel the atmosphere of the ancient times during this festival. You can also taste Japanese traditional festival food at the venue. There will be about 40 foods booth lined up around the venue and they entertain people coming to the festival. If you are interested in joining this festival, please check the following link, URL:https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/4899/
Setsubun is one of the Japanese traditional customs in February. This Setsubun Festival takes place in Kofu City. It started in the Edo period and loved by locals. People living in Kofu city still love this Setsubun Festival and call it “Daijin-san” with an affection. You can go through Japanese traditional Setsubun custom and enjoy the exciting atmosphere with local people while you join in this festival.
This festival celebrates the coming of spring as well. There are two main venues for this festival which are Yamagimachi Grand Shrine and Yokokinjy Grand Shrine. Setsubun is the custom that relates to getting rid of bad luck before spring. Demons represent the bad luck in the custom of Setsubun.
So naturally, there will be Demons walking around the city and people will throw beans at this festival. The crowds participating in this festival throw beans at those demons. You can also enjoy food at food booths lined up between those two shrines. You can access to the site within 15 munities walk from Kofu station. For more details about this festival, please check the following link, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/6786/
The Ice Candle Festival is a popular event which takes place at Lake Yamanaka starting from the beginning of February. From the beginning to the middle of February, you can see Diamond Fuji from the lake. Diamond Fuji is the time when the sun goes through the summit of Mt. Fuji and it looks like a diamond placing on the top of the mountain. During this season many photographers from all over Japan come to see and try to capture the beauty of the moment. Why don’t you join them and enjoy the Ice Candle Festival meanwhile?
Lake Yamanaka is the biggest of the lakes that surround Mt. Fuji. The lake is famous for the view, that allows you to capture the reflection of Mt. Fuji in on its surface. This festival is held at Kirara place where you will face both the lake and Mt. Fuji. Many candles stuffed in ice holders illuminate the venue and it adds fantastical atmosphere to the scenery with Mt. Fuji once the darkness gets deeper.
The other thing about this festival is Fireworks, which are displayed on the backside of Mt. Fuji. Visiting the Ice Candle Festival definitely will give you a great memory. If you want to get to know more about this festival, please check the following link, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5076/
Other than those festivals in the previous section, there are so many places you can go and things to do in Yamanashi prefecture. As Yamanashi prefecture is surrounded by mountains, there are many natural spots you can visit during your stay. Even if you do not plan to stay in Yamanashi, you can take a day trip from Tokyo as it has easy access to Yamanashi prefecture. You can enjoy nature, historical sites, and amusement parks to have fun in this beautiful prefecture. In this section, I picked 10 best places you should visit in Yamanashi depending on what you like. Please take a look and see if you can find some places that intrigue you.
Other than festivals, there are so many places you can go and do things in Yamanashi prefecture. Even a day trip from Tokyo for getting fresh air and extraordinary views may satisfy your need in nature. Here are 4 must see nature spots in Yamanashi prefecture for you.
If you are a hardcore mountain climber, Mt Fuji is definitely the place for you to challenge. You can climb this famous and the highest mountain in Japan from July to early September. Don’t forget to bring proper mountain climbing kits if you plan to go there. Climbing Mt. Fuji is not an easy task but that would bring you a great memory.
For those who are not crazy about climbing up the mountain but want to taste the fresh air and feel the nature, you can take a bus going up to the 5th station of Mr. Fuji. The bus going up there departs from Shinjuku. Within Yamanashi, you can take a bus at Fujisan Station. Ether climbing up or going up by bus, there is no reason for you to miss this gorgeous and beautiful mountain that represents Japan. You can check more about Mt. Fuji and the access at its official website: http://www.fujisan-climb.jp/en/index.html
Lake Yamanaka is the biggest and the closest lake to Mt. Fuji. What makes this lake more famous than the other lakes surrounding Mt. Fuji is the view. You can see the reflection of Mt. Fuji in the lake. Regardless of the time, the combination of the sun or moon, Mt. Fuji and its reflection on the lake’s surface make a perfect picture that keeps attracting many photographers from all over the world. You can enjoy this magnificent view or take a good picture while standing by the lake. There are cafes and restaurants around the lake. You can try the local food there as well. For more information about this fascinating lake, please check its official website, URL: http://www.yamanakako.gr.jp.e.aak.hp.transer.com/
Narusawa Icehole is one of the famous tourist spots around Mt. Fuji. It locates in the eastern part of Aogigahara Jukai at the foot of Mt. Fuji. It is an important and unique geological place. Narusawa Icehole is registered as natural treasure of Japan. The temperature inside is around 0 degrees.
It is an excellent place to cool down your body if you happen to be there during the Japanese humid summer. The Icicles which grow over a very long period look gorgeous and mysterious. Some of them are lit up and colored in blue or green. That also looks mystical. You have to put a helmet and long boots to go inside, but you can rent it at the front desk. Bring a light long sleeve jacket to get in there though. For more information about this mystical Icehole, please visit its official website, URL: https://www.mtfuji-cave.com/en/
Oshino Hakkai is the group of bubble springs. This place is registered as a natural treasure of Japan and a world cultural heritage. There are eight bubble springs that forms Oshino Hakkai. Those springs are made of snowmelt from Mt. Fuji. Oshino Hakkai. And it is a sacred place where Buddhists used to practice cold water ablutions. The place got more commercialized as more tourists come and visit it now. But you can still enjoy the view of each spring and nature around. You can get more information about Oshino Hakkai at http://www.vill.oshino.yamanashi.jp/8lake.html
Yamanashi prefecture is a homeland of the Takeda family. Takeda Shingen is one of the well-known and great Busho (warrior) who once aimed to unify Japan. Without knowing him, you cannot get to know about Yamanashi prefecture. He had contributed to the development of Yamanashi prefecture since he became a head of the territory. He was not only the greatest Busho who was good at battles but also devoted himself to developing flood prevention works, agriculture, and commercial business in Yamanashi prefecture. Here are two historical spots that relate to this great Busho. You can feel the touch of the period when Shingen enjoyed its wide fame by visiting these two sites.
Takeda Shrine worships Takeda Shingen. This shrine is known as the power spot. It is said that visiting this shrine makes you a stronger person who can achieve anything you want in your life. Shingen was good at battles until the day he came down with illness. He had never lost the battles. This shrine is surrounded by big a wall and mounts, which makes you feel like you wander into Sengoku Era.
There are two points you should check at this shrine. 宝物殿(Homotsuden) and the ceiling painting in 菱和殿 (Kabutoyaden). You can see traditional swords and armors that related to the Takeda family in Homotsuden. And in Kabutoyaden, you will be amazed by the colorful 120 paints spreading all over the ceiling. For more information about Takeda Shrine, please visit their official website at http://www.takedajinja.or.jp/ (In Japanese)
Eirin Temple also relates to Takeda Shingen. This is where his spirit rests. Eirin temple conducts a memorial service on his death day, which is on April 12th every year. You can see the important cultural heritage Shikyakumon and enjoy Erin Garden while you walk around the grounds of the temple. You can also try Japanese Buddhist-style meditation called “Zazen” at this temple. Join Zazen every Saturday and second Sunday in the early morning for one hour. It is a free service and the real monk teaches you how to do it. You can take Zazen lesson in English as well. For more information, please visit their website at http://erinji.jp/ (In Japanese)
When it comes to Onsen (hot springs), Kusatsu Onsen, Hakone, and Atami are the famous spots in Kanto region of Japan. But Yamanashi prefecture has a lot of unexplored Onsen spots where you can enjoy the gorgeous mountain views and good quality of water. Not trying Onsen in Yamanashi would be such a shame. If you are an Onsen lover, you have to try an Onsen in Yamanashi and brag about it to the other Onsen lovers who have no idea how great it is to try an Onsen in Yamanashi.
Hottarakasi Onsen is the hot spring known to a limited group of people. The existence of this place is only spread the word by mouth. You are lucky to know about this secret hot spring from this article. The view you face while you are in the hot water is super moving.
You will see Mt. Fuji and Kofu basin just in front of you. There are two main hot springs in Hottarakashi Onsen. They are “Acchi no Yu” and “Kocchi no Yu”. The difference between these two Onsens is in its business time. Acchi no Yu opens during the daytime till 5:00 p.m. and Kocchi no Yu start running one hour before the sunset to 10:00 p.m. If you want to enjoy the view of Mt. Fuji, try Acchi no Yu. You can see Mt. Fuji in the front. Please check more about this place at http://www.hottarakashi-onsen.com/
It takes about an hour to Isawa Onsen (hot spring) from Tokyo. Other hot springs sites attract more tourists from abroad and look a bit foreign nowadays. But Isawa Onsen is different. It still has a traditional Onsen town atmosphere. Most of the fans for this place are local people and old regular people. There are several Japanese old-style hotels scattered around the Iwasa Onsen area. After refreshing your body and mind in the Onsen, you can visit Shosenkyo. It is a beautiful valley where you can feel the mesmerizing nature in any season. You can check more information about Isawa Onsen at https://www.isawa-kankou.org/enjoy/spa3/ (in Japanese)
Other than exploring nature, historical sites, and hot springs, you can entertain yourself at some amusement park in Yamanashi prefecture. You can become a Ninja at Ninnno Shinobi no Sato. Or you can scream as much as you want while you are on a rollercoaster at Fujikyu Highland. These two places Ninno Shinobi no Sato and Fujikyu Highland are truly for the entertainment lovers. If you are one of them, you should check out those two famous spots in Yamanashi prefecture.
Ninno Shinobi no Sato is a small entertainment place where you can enjoy Ninja shows and attractions. You can also put on a Ninja costume and pretend to be a Ninja while you are at this park. There are Syuriken Dojyo and Ninja adventure playground to have fun. You can totally be a kid again. Please buy original Ninja goods at a souvenir shop at the site. Take nice pictures and have fun! For more information, please check the official website, URL: https://www.oshinoninja.com/en/ (in English)
Fujikyu Highland is one of the famous amusement parks in Japan. The special characteristic of this amusement park is the number of thrill rides! Many Japanese people visit Fujikyu Highland to get thrilled and excited. It is said that Fujikyu Highland is the holy ground of thrill rides.
What I would like you to try there is the “The King of Coasters – Fujiyama”. 22 million people have tried this thrill ride and they loved it! You can scream as much as you want and relieve stress. You can access their official site at https://www.fujiq.jp/en (In English) to check other super duper thrill rides.
Thank you for reading this article to the end. I hope it made you feel like visiting Yamanashi prefecture. It is difficult to mention every single event and great spot to visit in Yamanashi in one article. This prefecture offers great nature, starting with Mt. Fuji and Lake Yamanaka to explore. And you can visit historical spots related to the greatest Busho – Takeda Shingen. Onsens with gorgeous nature views and entertainment sites wait for you in Yamanashi.
Your trip will be more rewarding if you connect with local people prior to your trip. Try Huber and find locals who can help you to sketch your travel plans, will suggest you the best places to visit according to your wishes and will bring you to local festivals! For more information, please click on the banner below.
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A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!
Image courtesy of Tomomarusan
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