Guideto JapanCulture History
Landlocked Yamanashi Prefecture in the Chūbu region consists of the Kōfu Basin in its center, surrounded by mountainous areas. Mount Fuji, at 3,776 meters Japan’s tallest peak, straddles southern Yamanashi and northern Shizuoka Prefecture, and the second-tallest mountain, the 3,193-meter Kitadake, stands in the Southern Alps on Yamanashi’s western side. The prefecture’s geography means that there is relatively less precipitation and fine weather is more frequent compared with the rest of the country.
Yamanashi Prefecture at a Glance
- Established in 1871 (formerly Kai province)
- Capital: Kōfu
- Population: 810,000 (as of Oct. 2020)
- Area: 4,465 km2
The Yoshida trail in Yamanashi Prefecture is the most popular of the Mount Fuji climbing trails. The prefecture also has many good places to view the peak or take a picture, such as around the Fuji Five Lakes, of which Lake Kawaguchi is easiest to access. Nearby is the Chūreitō pagoda, which has become a favorite location for Fuji snaps among international tourists. Itchiku Kubota Art Museum displays kimono artworks, while the amusement park Fuji-Q Highland offers roller coaster thrills.
Yamanashi Prefecture produces many varieties of fruit and leads Japan for growing of grapes, peaches, and sumomo plums. Its rich grape harvest has led to the establishment of many wineries, and the prefecture is also Japan’s top wine producer. Abundant rock crystals in the prefecture’s mountains have facilitated a thriving jewelry industry, while its clear waters make it the country’s number-one supplier of mineral water.
- Takeda Shingen (1521–73): Powerful warlord who won a crushing victory over Tokugawa Ieyasu, but died of disease shortly afterward.
- Muraoka Hanako (1893–1968): Writer and translator of children’s literature from English to Japanese, including L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.
- Nakata Hidetoshi (1977–): A key member of Japan’s soccer team, representing the country at three World Cups and playing for several seasons in Italy’s Serie A.
(Originally published in English. Banner photo: Yamanashi Prefecture’s Chūreitō pagoda, cherry blossoms, and Mount Fuji. © Pixta.)
For the complete list of the country’s 47 prefectures, see “The Prefectures of Japan.”