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
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.
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 ¥1,000 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.
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