Japan: A Closer Look at Chubu Part 3

Dec 22nd, 2008 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Regional Travel Resources

Shizuoka, Toyama, and Yamanashi Prefectures are the last three of the nine prefectures that make up the Chubu region of Japan and will complete our Closer Look at the area.  We’ve already taken a closer look at Aichi, Fukui & Gifu Prefectures as well as Ishikawa, Nagano & Niigata Prefectures.  If you are planning a trip to Chubu take some time to explore some of these resources organized by prefecture:

Shizuoka Prefecture

Hamamatsu Matsuri Kite Lying halfway between Tokyo & Osaka, Shizuoka Prefecture sits on the Pacific Ocean at the base of Mt. Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan.

If you are a hiker then you will definitely want to consider on of the various Mt Fuji climbing routes.  The mountain is a volcano made by layers of basaltic lava and eruption ash that has an altitude 3,776m and extends for 35km (east – west) and 45km (north – south).  It offers views of the Boso Peninsula, the Fuji Five Lakes, Mt. Yatsu, the North and South Alps, Izu Peninsula and the Izu Seven Islands from it’s peak.

Visit the Mishima Taishi Shrine in Mishima City where Minamoto-no-Yoritomo prayed for 100 days before starting to restore power to the Genji Family in the twelfth century.

Take in the Hamamatsu Festival each May where kite flying during the day is followed by a parade of 70 impressive yatai (palace-lake floats) in the evening.

Fuji International Speedway is home to the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix each October and can be accessed from Tokyo in approximately 90 minutes.

Take the 7 minute ropeway to Katsuragi Mountain Panorama that offers views of Mt. Fuji, Mt. Hakone, Mt. Amagi as well as Suruga Bay and is also home to a flower park and the Katsuragi Shrine.

Visit the Kawazu Seven Falls and stay at some of the areas onsen (hot springs) (Kawazu Waterfall & area map – PDF)

Take in the three historic castles in Kakegawa (Kakegawa castle, Yokosuka castle & Takatenjin castle)

Tour the Sapporo Beer Factory in Yaizu.

The Okuoi area in northern Shizuoka is located in a lush valley and surrounded by mountains. Ride on an antique steam locomotive to get to the area.

Visit the Nihondaira plateau, one of Japan’s top 100 sightseeing spots and the Toro Agricultural Ruins,  near Shizuoka City, the prefectural capital.

Take in the Shuzenji Nijinosato Garden in Izu City to take in seasonal flowers and observe craftsmen making paper, Edo tops, ceramics  and other traditional crafts.  Use this map of Shuzenji to learn about the areas other sights.

If you would like learn more about traditional Japanese crafts be sure to browse through the hands-on activities in Shizuoka.

Explore more things to do and see in Shizuoka Prefecture by visiting the Shizuoka Guide or the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) Shizuoka pages.

Toyama Prefecture

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route Toyama prefecture is one of the smallest in Japan with a radius of only 50 kilometers and is surrounded by mountains on three sides.

Traverse the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, a 90km mountain tourism route that crosses the Northern Alps from Toyama city to Shinanoomachi in Nagano prefecture.

Visit the Nagami coast to take in stunning views of the Japanese Alps across the water..

From mid-April to early May take the Hotaruika (Firefly Squid) Sightseeing Tour or visit the Hotaruika Museum year-round to learn more about these interesting creatures in Namerikawa.

Visit the Uozu Buried Forest Museum to see the ruin of the virgin cedar forests that were buried over 1500 years ago or visit the Toyama Museum Association to learn about other museums in the area.

See the Gohyaku-rakan (500 stone disciples of Buddha) on the hillside near the Chokeiji Temple and Toyama Folk Craft Village in the same area.

Visit the Toyama Castle year-round or attend Toyama Matsuri (festival) in early August each year.

Try glass blowing at the Toyama Glass Studio.

Visit the Takaoka Daibutsu, one of the three great statues of Buddha in Japan.  Weighing in at 65 tons and standing 16 meters tall – this is one big Buddha!

Visit Toyama Travel Navigator or the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) Toyama pages to discover more things to do and see in Toyama Prefecture.

Yamanashi Prefecture

Sengataki Falls YamanashiSitting on the western side of Tokyo, Yamanashi prefecture is home to beautiful national parks and is one of the portals to Mt. Fuji.

Visit one of three national parks in Yamanashi:

Visit the Fuji Five Lakes Region to see the lake created by lava flow from Mt. Fuji.  The five lakes are Yamanaka-ko, Kawaguchi-ko, Sai-ko, Shoji-ko, and Motosu-ko.

Mitake Shosenkyo Gorge offers great scenic beauty to visitors and is home to Sengataki Falls, at a height of 30 meters, as well as the Kage-e (shadow pictures) and Shippo (cloisonne) museums.

Visit the Onsen (hot springs) of YamanashiMasutomi Hot Spring Resort is one of the most famous in Japan and is said to have healing properties due to the high radium content of it’s water.

Enter the Fuji Sengen Jinja by walking along a picturesque path lined with cedar trees and mossy stone lanterns.  Take in the Yoshida Fire Festival held at the shrine in late August each year to commemorate the end of the Mt. Fuji climbing season.

Some great festivals are held in Yamanashi Prefecture including the Shingen-ko Festival that features a parade of local residents dressed as authentic samurai warriors and the Battle of Kawanakajima Living Picture Scroll Reenactment.

Visit the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Archealogy to view excavated earthenware, stoneware and burial mounds.

Explore more things to do and see in Yamanashi Prefecture by visiting Yamanashi Tourist Information or the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) Yamanashi pages.

Odd Facts & Trivia

Rail enthusiasts will be interested to know that the Ikawa Line in the Okuoi area is the only Alternate Biting Tooth (ABT) system in Japan.  It reaches an elevation of 100 meters above ground level and is also the highest of all the private rail lines in the country.

The first wine made in Japan was brewed in Kofu, the prefectural capital of Yamanashi, around 1871.  Today aproximately 70% of wine produced in Japan is made in Yamanashi.

Chubu Trip Planning

Visit the Chubu Area Tourism Portal to learn about more great things to do and see in the region and review the model course itineraries in Chubu.

Articles in the Japan: A Closer Look series:

Be sure to read “Cut & Paste Japan Trip Planning” for other great resources on travel, culture and current events in Japan.

Image Credit:  Flickr, 浜松祭り (Hamamatsu Matsuri Kite), Snow trail for tourists & Sengataki Falls

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