One of the places in Japan that people across the globe wish to come witness with their own eyes, a prefecture that is home of Mount Fuji, beautiful four seasons, spectacular fireworks festival, and historic sites. This time, we have travelled with “Olympus - Daisuki Japan Photo Taking Tour 2” to Yamanashi prefecture, Chubu region to places where photographers cannot help but fall in love with, for five days and four nights, all the while accompanied by famous photography expert, Mr. How, Torwong Salwala, founder of 2how.com facebook page. Tour participants were given Olympus cameras and experiment with photography under close guidance of Olympus staffs. Let’s set out and go on an adventure with us!
Explore the tour route in Yamanashi Prefecture through Kyonan District Tourism Map down below.
Download Navitime English Application to check transportation (Train and Bus)’s timetable.
Click here to reserve the hotels in this area.
How to access:
From Tokyo - Shinjuku station to Kofu station by Express Train Kaiji.
From Kofu station to Shimobe onsen about 3 hours by Minobu line.
We recommend to book a taxi or a van to travel in this area.
• Paying the taxi fee by cash (Japanese yen) only, credit cards can not be accepted.
• Download Taxi Deco Application to check the approximate amount of the taxi fee.
• Using the Google Translate application is recommended to talk to a taxi driver.
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1. Arakurayama Sengen Park
One of the most famous photogenic spots around Mount Fuji is the Arakura Sengen Park, located on the mountainside of Mount Arakura and is known for its fantastic observatory spot at the five-storied Chureito Pagoda. The park was founded as a peace memorial for more than 50 years. It is most popular as a tourist destination during spring because that’s when Arakura park becomes an ideal spot to experience the dreamy atmosphere of Mount Fuji and beautiful full-bloom cherry blossoms (Sakura).
Photo Credit: Saroch Techajaruwong
It seems that many Thai tourists must visit the shrine seeing that talismans were tied and hung around the surrounding area with words written in Thai asking for blessing and good fortune. Aside from offering great views and worth-visiting sacred ground, it is a place that requires physical fitness and endurance to climb up the four-hundred steps of steep staircase to arrive at the observatory spot!
2. Mount Fuji and Diamond Fuji
Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain in Japan, standing at 3,776 meters high. In year 2013, Mount Fuji was registered as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, making the impressive stratovolcano, the symbol of Japan highly respected by the Japanese. There are five lakes that formed around the base of Mount Fuji: Lake Kawaguchiko, Lake Saiko, Lake Yamanakako, Lake Shojiko and Lake Motosuko. For this trip we visited two of the lakes, Lake Kawaguchiko and Lake Motosuko, which offered one of the best views we saw in this entire trip!
Diamond Fuji is a natural phenomenon which occurs when the sun is positioned right at the summit of Mount Fuji, causing it to glisten like a diamond. The Diamond Fuji can be seen several times a year during sunrise and sunset at separate locations and only on clear sky days. If you plan to travel to Japan, don’t forget to check out more information online about breathtaking beauty natural occurrence of the Diamond Fuji that photography lovers must not miss!
3. Shinmei Fireworks Festival
Photo Credit: Rujikan Sattayawattana
Shinmei Fireworks Festival is one of the top fireworks festival on earth. The fireworks display is held every year on August seventh at Ichikawamisato town’s Fuefuki river. Each year, there are over 200,000 tourists who attend the festival. The most magnificent about the displays are fireworks with the circumference of 500 meters! The location selected for this photography trip was 1.5 kilometers away from the festival area, just right for one to contemplate and capture images of the vibrant blooming fire flowers. Tourists can enjoy the Japan’s festive atmosphere in the summer surrounded by people in traditional Japanese summer garment, the yukata, buying goods and waiting in lines at food stalls. A summer experience that Thai tourists must surely enjoy!
4. Lake Motosuko
Lake Motosuko is an outstanding scenic landscape which is famous for being featured on the Japanese 1,000 yen banknote together with Mount Fuji. Out of the five lakes surrounding Mount Fuji, this lake has the clearest water. Guarantee that photography enthusiasts will fall in love with the view this place has to offer.
Live Camera from Lake Motosuko https://www.town.minobu.lg.jp/camera/
5. Kouan (Campsite and Activity Center)
Next to Lake Motosuko is the Kouan Campsite and Activity Center where tourists can stop by to take a rest. The site consists of a riverside store and a camping ground that host interesting water activities at the lake such as SUP board, scuba diving and so on.
6. Lake Shibireko
Lake Shibireko is small but it offers a lovely view flanked on each side with mountainous hills. It’s a popular spot for viewing colorful leaves during the autumn. Here is where tourists can enjoy mountain climbing, swimming, and a thirty-minute walk around the lake. Lake Shibireko in Yamanashi prefecture is a great place for relaxing in the midst of rich nature.
7. Lake Kawaguchiko
Photo Credit: Torwong Salwala
Lake Kawaguchiko is the second largest lake out of the five lakes which encompass Mount Fuji. You can experience the splendor of Mount Fuji and different scenic nature of all four seasons here. All-year-round, the weather here at Lake Kawaguchiko is usually quite cold but during our trip with “Olympus - Daisuki Japan Photo-taking Tour 2”, the sky was miraculously bright and blue so we had a clear view of Mount Fuji, which, painted with the purple lavenders on the shore of lake, created a perfect picturesque look, ideal for taking fantastic photographs.
8. Minobusan Kuonji Temple
Minobu-san Kuonji Temple is located at Mount Minobu area. It is the head temple of Buddhist priest, Nichiren Shonin who is the founder of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism in Japan. His bones are enshrined in this temple where he had spent nine years reciting the Lotus Sutra. With its large area and seven hundred year-old history, the sacred ground has attracted numerous pilgrims and is a unique spot for taking photos. Travellers can enjoy seeing beautiful scenery with cherry blossoms (Sakura) in April.
There is a belief that if one managed to climb the 287 stone steps to the hall at the top, one will attain enlightenment. This memorial hall enshrines the spirit of Nichiren Shonin. It’s amazing that this temple building was once situated in Edo, modern day Tokyo, but then was relocated and built as a memorial hall 136 years ago. The memorial hall is connected to the main hall, which was an important structure built for the Nichiren Shonin 700th year anniversary project in year 1985 (2560 BE in Thailand). This magnificent hall can accommodate up to 2,500 attendees! This time we got a special permission to take photo inside the temple.
Photo Credit: Suphap Ngamdee
9. Minobusan Ropeway
Minobusan Ropeway is connected to Kuonji Station. Within seven minutes of riding the ropeway, you'll arrive at the observatory spot on top of Mount Minobu which is also the area inside Minobusan Kuonji Temple. Travellers will meet the Okunoin Shishinkaku which was built to honour parents and teachers by the founder of Nichiren Buddhism, Nichiren himself. There are three different observation spots which gives visitors the wonderful scenic view of Mount Fuji on clear sky days.
10. Fujikawa Craft Park
Encircled by mountains, Fujikawa Craft Park is decorated with a pretty rose garden for travellers to enjoy taking photos. This park also has great gift shops and restaurants as well as workshop activities for making Japanese hand-made crafts for those who are interested. Fujikawa Craft Park is a “must visit” for families! Our tour members enjoyed their lunch while admiring the beautiful garden of roses, a relaxing place to take a rest before continuing on the tour.
11. Okame Sushi Restaurant
Photo Credit: Torwong Salwala
Okame Sushi offers delicious and fresh seafood menus but beyond that, everyone interested can participate in the sushi worshop as well! Tour members were able to experience Japanese food culture and closely observe the shop owner’s demonstration when slicing the fish. You can enjoy a wide range of fresh sea food including Kaisen don, Japanese Sashimi Rice Bowl and cooked giant crab called kani, it was a Japanese food experience that one simply cannot forget!
For Sushi Making experience, you need to make a reservation. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: Suphap Ngamdee
12. Kakurinbo Guesthouse
Lodging at a traditional Japanese-style guesthouse “Kakurinbo Guesthouse” allowed us to get closely in touch with Japan’s way of life. The guesthouse is located in the grounds of Minobusan Kuonji temple, where tour members received warm welcome and great hospitality from the householder as well the priests. We joined in the drumming and singing during the cultural performance, listened to performers play traditional Japanese musical instruments and savored healthy vegetarian dishes. All these cultural learnings coupled with the guesthouse’s location near Minobu town, religious sites, natural surroundings and the enhanced our appreciation of Japanese culture and lifestyle even more.
13. Shimobe Hotel
Photo Credit: Suphap Ngamdee
Shimobe Hotel is where you’ll experience high-quality hot spring, Kaiseki, Japan’s extravagant traditional multi-course that is served one-by-one in order. Hotel guests are entertained nightly with interesting cultural performances and are welcomed to be part of the show. The session includes the impressive Taiko percussion performance and the traditional practice of pounding mochi, Japanese glutinous rice. Guests of Shimobe Hotel enjoy this lovely bedtime snack on a daily basis.
To reserve hotel around Shimobe Onsen, click here.
14. Mitama no Yu Onsen
Mitama no yu onsen is where travelers can come relax in the hot spring or onsen and admire the natural surrounding from the highland at an altitude of 370 meters, where the onsen is situated at. The charming scenic view during the day and at night enhances this unique onsen experience even more. Aside from that, there are also restaurants and gift shops to accommodate visitors.
15. Forest Mall Fujikawa
Despite being out in the nature, Yamanashi has a shopping center that offers daily conveniences and are supplied with a variety of goods for purchase: restaurants, supermarkets, a 100-yen shop and fashion stores. Ogino East Mall SC Barrio truly meets the particular demands of customers coming to shop at this place. What’s more, outside of the mall is a Japanese street food market where you can take your time to explore and sample different types of food.
Coordinated by Taeko Hishinuma (Shochiku Co. Ltd.)
Special Thanks to
Yamanashi Kyonanchiku Kankou Kasseika Jikkou Iinkai
Kakurinbo / Kouan / MARUGO, Ltd. / MINAMI ALPS K.K / MINOBUSAN KUONJI / Minobusan Tourist Assosiation / MINOBUSAN ROPEWAY / Okame Sushi / SAIKIENKAHONTEN,LTD. / Shibireko Suimeiso / Shimobe Hotel / YAMANASHI FUJIKAWA CRAFT PARK