Yamanashi, Japan

Yamanashi prefecture is well known for fruits including grapes, peaches, and cherries, wine, crystals, jewelry, inden (deer skin), mountains, great hiking, hot springs, hoto noodles, and of'course Mt Fuji.

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Mt. Fuji view from lake Motosuko in Yamanashi

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3 Cameras await the right contidtions for a photo of Mt. Fuji

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Photographers claim their space and prepare for a sunset photo of Mt. Fuji

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One of the many temples at Minobusan.

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One of the more interesting statues being sold at a Minami Alps shop in Yamanashi

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Click here to see photos from the 2003 Yoshida Fire Festival

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The bamboo and mud construction has been exposed on this old Nirasaki structure

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Spring flowers in bloom along my bicycle course to work from Kofu to Nirasaki

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"Love Hotel" Utopia in Yamanashi

Love hotels seem to be a culture in itself. Love hotels are everywhere here in Yamanashi and I suppose all over Japan. Love hotels are easily distinguished from standard hotel by many ways. Firstly, the names are usually a give away. Hotel Air, Hotel Roman, Hotel Golf, and "No name Hotel". Next is the seemingly required gaudy appearance as seen in this well known love hotel in Futaba, Yamanashi with a mini statue of liberty on the roof.

The procedure is basically this. You pull into your private parking place and close the door or use the supplied self standing license plate blind. This is so that your car is not recognized. There is usually a separate staircase for each garage so you don't run into anyone you know on your way to the room. From here you proceed into the room which is unlocked. One inside there may be additional services like, adult videos or booze. When leave a few hours later or the next day, you settle your bill with a pair of hands through a small opening next to the room entrance. Someone quickly cleans up the room for the next customer.

Now, I have been told that the purpose of love hotels is for married couples to get a chance to get away from the kids and parents who usually live with them. The walls are "paper" thin in the typical Japanese houses which does not provide much privacy. But when I ask why the hotel provide self standing license plate blinds the subject usually changes. One may wonder why one needs so many love hotel and how they stay in business.

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Sheep graise at a farm in Hakushu

Campground on a farm in Hakushu, Yamanashi. This location is also very popular for hanami or cherry blossom viewing. Since Yamanashi has lots of nature, its next door neighbors in Tokyo often come in the bus loads for peach, grape, and cherry picking, hiking, and skiing and snowboarding.

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A bee polinates a sunflower across from the Akeno Flower Center

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Katsunuma Winery

For about 1100 yen you can try wines from wineries around Katsunuma, Yamanashi. Although it is all-you-can-drink, I suggest you make good use of the spit buckets or you will get trashed in a hurry. Wine is not actually made here, so if you are interested in the wine making process, try Suntory Wineries in Hakushu, Yamanashi.

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Okagura Matsuri at Kaikomagatake Jinjya

Flute players provide the music during a traditional dance performed each year at Kaikomagatake Jinjya in Hakushu during the Okagura festival. For more about the festival see Okagura Festivalof the calendar section of the Kofu guide.

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Kouyou festival in Kawaguchiko

Light-up Kouyou festival in Kawaguchiko in Nov. 2001. Kouyou festival celebrates the Autumn leaves changing colors. The trees are lit up for night viewing. It was a very cold night but there were fire pits, and food booths selling hot food and hot drinks.

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Budou (grapes) individual covered in paper to protect them from insects, and Kiwi.

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Negi (green onions) in the foreground, rice in the background (left), Sakura (cherry blossoms) (right).