Tuesday, June 30, 2009


The above is a "Goshuin 御朱印 (red seal)" of Kai Zenkōji. You will be able to get Goshuins at a certain size of temples & shrines if you make an offering, called "Ofuse お布施."

■Refer to Kōfu-Gozan & Kai Zenkōji and Kai Pilgrimage

■View A Brief Lesson on Goshuin by LazyBuyu on YOUTUBE

■Reference data
Ginkakuji goshuin07Apr06 on "troutfactory notebook"
Chris's Japan Page
goshuin 御朱印 (kyoto, japan) on "sorafoto 空フォト"

Sunday, June 28, 2009


This year is the 20th anniversary of THE BOOM, being famous for their song "Shima Uta 島唄 *". The band which consists of 3 persons (Kazufumi Miyazawa 宮沢和史, Takashi Kobayashi 小林孝至 and Hiromasa Yamakawa 山川浩正) from Kōfu and a person (Takao Tochigi 栃木孝夫) from Chiba Pref, was set up in November 1986. They started up their performance at Hokoten ホコ天 (pedestrian zone), Harajuku 原宿 in the following year and came out with the single "Kimi wa TV-kko 君はTVっ子" & the album "A Peacetime Boom" in 1989. "JAPANESKA" in which "Shima Uta" is included was released in 1990. From that time, THE BOOM's music was changing its style and sound, absorbing ska, Brazilian music, Okinawa's sound and so on. They had suspended their activities from 2006, but have taken them up again since 2008.

There are some lyrics associated with their home, Yamanashi, in their songs.
・On "Soko ga Boku no Furusato (That is my home town) そこが僕のふるさと", included in their 9th original album "LOVIBE" (released in 2000), Mt.Atago 愛宕山 in Kōfu appears. They sing, 'Let's get (friends) together to climb' the mountain.
・In "Hoshi no Love Letter (Love letter of stars) 星のラブレター", they sing, 'In Asahi street at evening the familiar stray dogs sometimes used to tell me something about you that I didn't know.' Kazufumi Miyazawa, main vocals of the band, said in an interview** that he had bought his guitar in fifth grade in elementary school at a shop in Asahi street*** and the girl who he had loved had lived there.
・"Chūōsen 中央線"(refer to Chūō Line) whose lyrics are wistful and painful is one of my most favorite songs and has been covered by various artists (Akiko Yano 矢野顕子, Izumi Katō 加藤いづみ and so on).

■You can listen to the samples(only of "The Boom Collection 1989-2009 ") or buy the CDs from the below links.
including "Soko ga Boku no Furusato そこが僕のふるさと"

89-09 The Boom Collection 1989-2009
including "Hoshi no Love Letter 星のラブレター", "Chūōsen 中央線" & "Shima Uta 島唄"

THE BOOM's official web site (Japanese version only, but you can read only the articles about Miyazawa in English or Portuguese)

* The song was hit in Argentina in 2001, sung by Alfredo Casero
** The program "Utti na Mokuyōbi ウッティ(UTY)な木曜日" in which the interview was included was put on the air in March 2008.
*** I introduced the spot on "Wagashi." You can know the location of the shop on the below map.
View Mt. Atago 愛宕山 & Musical instrument shop in Asahi Street 朝日通り on Google My Maps

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mountain Photographer

Shiro Shirahata 白籏史朗 (1933-) is a photographer of mountains, who was born at Ōtsuki city 大月市. There are a lot of mountain photo books which was taken by him. In my school days, I used to hold dreams of going to Himalaya and trekking the mountains, looking at his photos in "Mountain and canyon 山と渓谷(the short name : "Yamakei")" which is one of the most famous climbing magazines in Japan. The dreams still haven't come true, but these photos still cheer me up.

The works of Shiro Shirahata on "FUJIFILM WEB PHOTO MUSEUM"

Minami-Alps Moutain Photo Studio / Shiro Shirahata Memorial Hall 南アルプス山岳写真館・白籏史朗記念館 (Japanese version only)
View Shiro Shirahata Memorial Hall 白籏史朗記念館 on Google My Maps
The admission fee is Adult : 500 yen / Elementary & Middle school student : 250 yen.
PLACE: Narada, Hayakawa-cho
HOURS: 9:00-17:00 (Entry permitted up to 16:30)
CLOSED: The regular closing day is Wednesday & during the year-end and New Year holidays. When Wednesday falls on a national holiday, the facility will be closed instead on the following day.
There is free parking space available for about 40 cars.
I recommend you to stop off at the Memorial Hall on the way back from a trip to (climbing) the Southern Alps & Hirogawara.
The timetable of the buses for Narada(Minobu Station 身延駅 ~ Narada 奈良田)(Japanese version only)

■EDIT (July 2, 2009)
Photograph exhibition "Mt.Fuji of Shiro Shirahata 白籏史朗の富士" will be held at Shiki-no-Mori Oshino Park Koyo Okada Photo Museum 四季の杜 おしの公園 岡田紅陽写真美術館, from July 22th to August 31th, 2009. The admission fee is Adult : 300 yen / Elementary & Middle school student : 200 yen / preschool-age : charge-free (Permanent or the other exhibitions : extra costs). HOURS: 9:00-17:00 (Entry permitted up to 16:30) The Museum is open each day during the exhibition.
Refer to View Mt.Fuji from Lake Motosu on Google My Maps / View Mt.Fuji from Lake Motosu on my site

Friday, June 26, 2009


The summer season is coming nearer. Climbers must not have been able to wait for it. Though "Yamabiraki 山開き(the summer climbing season opening ceremony)” of Mt. Fuji will be held after about a week, the Southern Alps's season will start a little before it (maybe the ceremony will be held tomorrow(June 27)).

From yesterday(June 25) to November 9th this year, the buses bound for Hirogawara 広河原 operate from Kōfu Station 甲府駅, municipal Ashiyasu parking 市営芦安駐車場 and Minobu Station 身延駅 (via Narada 奈良田 where there is a car park). Hirogawara is a departure point for climbing Mt.Kita(-dake) 北岳 which is the 2nd highest mountain in Japan and a transfer point for the bus bound for Kitazawa-tōge(pass) 北沢峠 which is a departure point for climbing Mt.Kaikoma(-gatake) 甲斐駒ヶ岳 & Mt. Senjō 仙丈ヶ岳.

Be aware that entrance by private automobile is prohibited from June 25th to November 9th in the following areas. It is possible to get to Hirogawara only by bus or taxi.
・Ashiyasu 芦安 (Minami Alps city) ~ Hirogawara ~ Kitazawa-tōge
・Narada 奈良田 (Hayakawa town) ~ Hirogawara
There are car parks at Ashiyasu & Narada. Travelers who use privately owned vehicles have to switch to buses or taxis there.

Bus timetable for Hirogawara 広河原 & Kitazawa-tōge(pass) 北沢峠(Japanese version only) *Be aware that the timetable varies depending on the day of the week, the season and so on.

BUS FARE (one-way) :
Kōfu Station ~ Hirogawara 1900 yen
Kōfu Station ~ Yashajin-tōge-tozanguchi 1380 yen
Municipal Ashiyasu parking ~ Hirogawara 1000 yen
Municipal Ashiyasu parking ~ Yashajin-tōge-tozanguchi 510 yen
Minobu Station ~ Hirogawara 2300 yen
Narada ~ Hirogawara 1000 yen

*Be aware that you have to pay, per one-way trip, an additional charge of 100 yen (elementary school age : 50 yen / preschool-age : charge-free) for traffic administration cost, when you ride buses or taxis.

- Climbing informations on "Hiking in Japan" / Surrounding mountains of Hirogawara & Yashajin-tōge 夜叉神峠 -
Kita-dake (北岳)
Mt. Kai-Komagatake (甲斐駒ヶ岳)
Mt. Senjō (仙丈ヶ岳)
Mt. Houou (鳳凰山)(Houou-Sanzan 鳳凰三山)

- Photo Albums on Flickr -
Kitadake trip, taken by Snowlet
Kitadake on July 19-20, 2008, taken by Miha Cucek
Senjōkatake 仙丈ヶ岳, taken by mutilation
Kaikomagatake 甲斐駒ヶ岳
Houou Sanzan 鳳凰三山
Hirogawara 広河原

Refer to Panoramic viewing from peaks at home

View The southern Alps(Minami Alps) 南アルプス on Google My Maps

***** Reference data *****
"Minami Alps information" on the web site of Minami-Alps City's tourist association 南アルプス市観光協会 (Japanese version only)

EDIT (June 28, 2009)
I heard that there is exceptionally a lot of remaining snow this year, and especially the snow covers most of the climbing route at Ōkanbasawa 大樺沢(elevation 2000~2900m) of Mt.Kita(-dake). The concerned organizations urge climbers to carry an ice axe and crampons which can be helpful for walking on the snow.

WARNING! Although the rainy season has been over in Kanto region, Yamanashi & Nagano, the weather conditions have still continued to be poor. When climbing, you have to put on the appropriate clothes and carry the proper equipments. Please beware of your physical condition & the weather.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


View Fireflies at Isshiki, Minobu town 身延町一色のほたる on YOUTUBE, shot by Yamanashi "Home of Mt.Fuji" Sightseeing Net 富士の国やまなし観光ネット

We can see fireflies(hotaru)蛍 (2 kinds as Genji-botaru & Heike-botaru) in Yamanashi from late May to late July, especially in June. We would be drawn into the fantastic scenery just as we see fireflies flying and lighting up. Moreover I'm sure there would be a lot of people who would think that the scenery overlaps the images of "Hotaru no Haka 火垂るの墓 (Grave of the Fireflies)". Many Japanese cannot help feeling nostalgia for good old days.

You will be able to see fireflies in Hokuto city, Nishikatsura town, Dōshi village & Hayakawa town from now.

- Photos on the web -
Hotaru(firefly),Yamanashi 蛍,山梨 on Flickr

***** Reference data *****
The web site of Yamanashi "Home of Mt.Fuji" Sightseeing Net 富士の国やまなし観光ネット

Monday, June 22, 2009


What image would you have about ocarinas?

Healing & slow music?
Rustic tone color?

Now I would introduce "breath" which is the music duo of Satoshi Ōsawa 大沢聡 (ocarina player) & Masato Kobayashi 小林真人(keyboardist). Their music goes well over the category of common ocarina music. It is energetic, romantic, much expressive, mellow, latinized.... The first thing to do is try to listen their music.

"breath ocarina concert" on YOUTUBE, recorded & shot at Fujinomiya city welfare hall 富士宮市福祉会館 in October 25th, 2008 (The original of "Jōnetsu Tairiku 情熱大陸", played here, was made by Taro Hakase 葉加瀬太郎 in 1998 as the 35 second opening theme of TV program "Jōnetsu Tairiku" and the full version is included in "image イマージュ" which was released in 2000).

The birth of "breath" in 2007 was prefaced by the fact that they played opposite each other twice in 2006. They holded the first recital at at Suntory Hall and released the first album "breath – Subete wa, Kono Shunkan kara すべては、この瞬間から -" in March 2007. After playing in South Korea & China in October of the year, they released the second album "Kibo no Hikari 希望の光 - The First breath*" in November. In April 2008, the CD single "Dear Wind" was released.
*"Kibo no Hikari 希望の光 - The First breath" (You can buy the CD from the left link.)

Satoshi Ōsawa was born in Fujinomiya city, Shizuka Pref in 1971 and now lives in Yamanashi city. He'd learned saxophone at the Kunitachi College of Music, but had suffered from severe temporomandibular joint disease in school and had to give up to play it. Then he entered the world of welfare and stumbled on music therapy & ocarina there. Until now he's released some solo albums.

Masato Kobayashi was born in Yamanashi city in 1972 and also learned at the Kunitachi College of Music. What's interesting is that he was 17 years old when he started to play the piano and had been gone on rugby, soccer & cinema until middle school age. Until now he's participated in concerts and recordings of various artists(WaT, Katsuyuki Tsukui 津久井克行...etc) as a support musician.
.Masato Kobayashi's site on "Myspacemusic" (You can listen to his music)

breath's official web site
Official web site of Satoshi Ōsawa
Official web site of Masato Kobayashi
"Ocarina OSAWAismっ!" Official blog site of Satoshi Ōsawa
"ピアノ弾き、小林真人のblog" Official blog site of Masato Kobayashi
(All these sites have only Japanese versions)

***** Reference data *****
The web site of UTY's TV program "Ongaku no Kaze おんがくのかぜ"

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Time Lapse"

"Time Lapse Cloud above the hill (HD 720p)" is one of the works of mockmoon2000 who has made a lot of marvelous HD videos of mountain, urban & night sky scenes using interval & continuous shoot modes of digital single-lens reflex cameras. The creator's works are being now in the spotlight on YOUTUBE.

This "T.L.Cloud above the hill" was shot at "Yome no Teien (Dream Garden) 夢の庭園" which is about a 15-minute walk from Ōdarumi-tōge (mountain pass) 大弛峠(2360m), located at the prefectural boundary of Yamanashi and Nagano. (The forest road which leads there is closed during winter season(from about early December to about late May).) We can park at Ōdarumi-tōge.

・mockmoon2000's blog "continuous shatter" (Japanese version only)
mockmoon2000's channel on YOUTUBE

View Ōdarumi-tōge 大弛峠 & Yome no Teien 夢の庭園 on Google My Maps

Panoramic views of the mountains [Oku Chichibu 奥秩父] near Ōdarumi-tōge on "QuickTimeVR Panorama Gallery" which was introduced on "Panoramic viewing from peaks at home"

"Yome no Teien (Dream Garden) 夢の庭園" shot by Yamanashi "Home of Mt.Fuji" Sightseeing Net 富士の国やまなし観光ネット

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fujikawa town

Masuho town 増穂町's and Kajikazawa town 鰍沢町's mayors signed agreements on the merger of the two town on the 5th this month. The name of the new town which will come into existence in March 8th, 2010 from this merger has been settled on as "Fujikawa-cho 富士川町*".
*There was a town of the same name in Shizuoka Pref, but on November 1, 2008, the town was merged into Fuji city and dissolved.

Ōboshi park 大法師公園 which has been selected as 100 beauty spots of cherry blossoms さくら名所100選 is in Kajikazawa.
- PHOTO ALBUMS on the web -
"Cherry Blossoms at Ōboshi park 大法師公園の桜1~4" on "*しあわせの箱* by ao.
"Cherry Blossoms at Ōboshi park 大法師公園の桜1~3" on "*black eyes*
"Cherry Blossoms at Ōboshi park 大法師公園の桜(Kajikazawa town, Yamanashi Pref 山梨県鰍沢町 2009/0406)" on フォト蔵 by NOBO
"Cherry Blossoms at Ōboshi park 大法師公園の桜 (100 beauty spots of cherry blossoms さくら名所100選)" on フォト蔵 by R-A-Y(^o^)

Myōhōji temple 妙法寺 which is famous for Ajisai あじさい (hydrangeas) is in Masuho. (REF.AJISAI flower)

View Fujikawa town 富士川町 on Google My Maps


My neighbor gave me & my family a lot of peaches last night. This is my family's first time eating peaches this year and we are thankful for the neighbor.

I heard that these peaches were unsalable to consumers due to the irregular shapes, sizes and (though very small) blemishes. The taste, color and smell are very fine and no problems at all....

Friday, June 19, 2009

Kai Pilgrimage

It is said that the beginning of pilgrimage in Japan is "Saigoku Sanjūsan-sho 西国三十三所" mostly in Kansai region. In Edo period, this sort of pilgrimage grew popular among members of the general public (for example, "Shikoku Pilgrimage 四国遍路", "Bandō Sanjūsankasho 坂東三十三箇所" ).
In Yamanashi, there is a pilgrimage called "Kai Hyakuhachi Reijō 甲斐百八霊場(108 hallowed grounds in Yamanashi)" (Yamanashi had once been called "Kai no kuni (Kai province)甲斐の国"). The 108 list takes in most sects of Japanese Buddhism and most major temples in Yamanashi (refer to "Kōfu-Gozan & Kai Zenkōji","AJISAI flower"). I hope you find it informative.

View Kai Pilgrimage 甲斐百八霊場 on Google My Maps

***** Reference data *****
・Yamanashi Shinpō newspaper's site on Kai Hyakuhachi Reijō
・"Kai Hyakuhachi Reijō Junreiki 甲斐百八霊場巡礼記" (the site on Kai Pilgrimage / Japanese version only) from "三郎の部屋 Saburō's room"
・Wikipedia's articles associated with Pilgrimages in Japan

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Osamu Dazai

Today's topic is about an author who have been associated with Yamanashi, Osamu Dazai 太宰治(1909-48). This year we've had and will have centennial celebrations of Dazai's birth in various places of Yamanashi.
from wikipedia

Dazai is famous for his novels, "No Longer Human (人間失格 Ningen Shikkaku)", "The Setting Sun (斜陽 Shayō)", "Run, Melos! (走れメロス Hashire Merosu)"...etc. He who was born in Aomori Prefecture in 1909 and at his puberty got the idea of being a author, went up to Tokyo and then sat at feet of Masuji Ibuse 井伏鱒二. In 1939, he married Michiko Ishihara with whom he'd had a marriage meeting in the previous year through the intermediation of Ibuse and, though for a short time, he lived in Kofu where there were Michiko's parents' home. In his works that he wrote at this time, "Several scenery of Mt. Fuji (富嶽百景 Fugaku Hyakkei)" is popular. After that, he migrated from Yamanashi to Mitaka in Tokyo, but, every time he had a chance, he went on a visit to Yumura Onsen(hot springs) and so on in Yamanashi. He and his family moved to Kofu after Bombing of Tokyo in March 1945. Furthermore, as one misfortune followed another, they were bombed out by the airborne attack at Kofu in July of that year. In 1948, he committed suicide together with his mistress, Tomie Yamazaki.

View Osamu Dazai 太宰治 and Yamanashi on Google My Maps (You can find events and spots associated with Dazai)

***** Reference data *****
・Kofu city's site on centennial celebrations of Dazai's birth
・The sightseeing guide's site of Kofu city on Dazai
・The article of Yamanashi nichinichi shimbun news paper on centennial celebrations of Dazai's birth
・Wikipedia's articles associated with Dazai

Photo collection "Osamu Dazai in Yamanashi Pref 山梨県の太宰治" on "flickr", shot by Datsu (You can see Tengajaya 天下茶屋 where Dazai wrote "Several scenery of Mt. Fuji", Mt.Fuji's view from there, a stone monument located on the place of his now-defunct house, Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Literature...etc)

Friday, June 12, 2009


This is a Japanese ink stone which is called "Suzuri 硯" and my father sometimes uses it. In Yamanashi, there is a famous place of its production. It is Amehata[or Amahata] 雨畑.

Amehata is in Hayakawa-chō 早川町 and takes about 1 hour from Minobu station 身延駅 by bus(only twice daily).

View Amehata Suzuri 雨畑硯 on Google My Maps

Amehata's history dates to Kamakura period. According to legend, in 1297, when Nichirō-shōnin 日朗上人, disciple of Nichiren-daishōnin 日蓮大上人(*daishōnin means a great sage) & one of The Six Elder Priests 日蓮六老僧, reached Amehata to erect a temple at Mt.Shichimenzan 七面山 by order of Nichiren, he accidentally discovered a blue and black stone at upstream of Amehata river and said an ink stone of fine quality would be made of the stone. The Amehata inkstone's full-scale production started under license of Shōguns 将軍 from one period of Edo era. In Meiji period, Association on manufacture & distribution of Amehata's inkstone was set up. According to data at that time, there were more than 90 artisans of inkstone in Amehata. But we have reduced the chance of using an ink stone & brush in our daily life and the number of them has also reduced. Currently there is only one person who works in Amehata.

Because the Amehata's stone is very close-grained, it is ideal for grinding an ink-cake[inkstick] 墨. The stone is mined from caves, near Mt.Inamata 稲又山, at upstream of the Amehata river.

Amehata suzuri costs from about a thousand yen to over 10 hundred thousand yen.

Hirao Bunmeido's shopping site (You can buy some Amehata inkstones which are basic or standard models and comparatively-inexpensive)
Live Camera at Shichimenzan by Fujigoko.TV (On a sunny day, you might be able to see Mt.Fuji)

・Photo Album "Shichimenzan 七面山 " on フォト蔵 by りんたん

Reference data : Kenshōan 硯匠庵's site & Shichimenzan Okunoin 七面山奥之院's site (Japanese versions only)

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Yamanashi is a kingdom of fruits. Grapes, peaches, Japanese persimmons...etc. In these fruits of Yamanashi, cherries have the earliest harvest period. Every year, they are picked from early June.

My friend who is a fruit farmer in Minami-Alps city sent the cherries in below picture to me today.

This year's cherries are very sweet & juicy. I would like you to eat the cherries in Yamanashi. There are a lot of farms which have U-Pick sweet cherries in Yamanashi. Please come to Yamanashi!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

AJISAI flower

Shot at my garden

Ajisai あじさい 紫陽花(hydrangeas) are flowers, which please our eyes, in rainy season. And just today, the Meteorological Agency announced that rainy season had started in Yamanashi prefecture.

I'll introduce some beauty spots in Yamanashi.

***** Nanbu Hydrangea Festival 南部あじさい祭り *****
The festa is held at Utsubuna Kōen (Park) うつぶな公園 in middle & late June every year in Nanbu-chō 南部町. This year it'll be held from June 13 to 22 . We'll see 70 species & about 25 thousand blooms, brought up by volunteers. The admission fee is 200 yen (Showing the ticket, you can be admitted as many times as you wish during the festa. / Middle school age and under are free of charge). Shuttle buses will run between Utsubuna Station and the park from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sat & Sun only(June 13,14,20,21).
View 南部あじさい祭り Hydrangea Festival in Nanbu-cho on YOUTUBE, shot by Yamanashi "Home of Mt.Fuji" Sightseeing Net 富士の国やまなし観光ネット
The blog : Minobu Hatsu 身延発 by Taku Taichō 拓隊長 (Japanese version only) shows various kinds of Hydrangea at Utsubuna Park. According to Taku Taichō, the flowers are in the early half-bloom stage right now.

***** Myōhōji temple 妙法寺 (in Masuho-chō 増穂町) *****
The temple has been called "Ajisai Dera (hydrangea temple)" as a term of endearment and we'll be able to see 20 thousand blooms at the peak of their beauty in the temple grounds. Every year, Ajisai Festa is held at the temple. This year, it'll be scheduled for from June 27 to July 5. Something like an admission fee, which is called "Ajisai administrative & raising cost", is 200 yen.
View Ajisai Festival at Komurosan-Myōhōji 小室山妙法寺あじさい祭り on YOUTUBE, shot by Yamanashi "Home of Mt.Fuji" Sightseeing Net 富士の国やまなし観光ネット

***** Hōkōji temple 放光寺 *****
The temple is in Enzan, Kōshū city and famous as the temple of flower. This year the best time to see the flowers will be from middle June. The admission fee is Adult : 300 yen / Child (elementary school student) : 100 yen.
The site of visitor center in the city

***** Keitokuin temple 景徳院 *****
The temple is in Yamato-cho, Kōshū city. This year the best time to see the flowers will be from early July.
The site of visitor center in the city

View Ajisai map on Google My Maps

***** Tenjōyama Ajisai Kōen 天上山あじさい公園 *****
About 100 thousand ajisai flowers will bloom along walking trails at the top of Tenjōyama(otherwise known as Mt. Kachi Kachi) from middle July to middle August. You can reach the mountain's top by riding a ropeway from the east shores of Lake Kawaguchi. One way cost of the ropeway for adult is 400yen, for children is 200 yen. The round-trip cost for adult is 700 yen, for children is 350 yen. The operating hours : 9:00~17:20 (in summer season)*Operating hours vary seasonally. On a sunny day, you may be able to see Mt.Fuji from there.
The brochure of Lake Kawaguchiko Mt. Tenjo Ropeway (PDF)
View Hydrangea of heavens mountain (Tenjōyama) promenade 天上山遊歩道のアジサイ on YOUTUBE, shot by Yamanashi "Home of Mt.Fuji" Sightseeing Net 富士の国やまなし観光ネット

- PHOTOS on the web -
・"Mt.Fuji, Yamanashi kachi-kachiyama ropeway" taken by miwa**, on Flickr
・"Frozen Fuji" taken by thoth037, on Flickr
・"Fuji-yama with Clouds, an Infrared View" taken by aeschylus18917, on Flickr
・"Kawaguchiko" taken by art.reyu, on Flickr


Rice is made throughout Japan. Especially, Koshihikari from Uonuma in Niigata Pref is famous as the high brand rice, but rice from Yamanashi also has received nearly-equal rating at rice fairs. However, because its shipping volume isn't very large, people in other prefectures have less opportunity for eating it.

Mukawa-mai 武川米

Boiled rice of Mukawa-mai

I & my family have eaten Mukawa-mai 武川米(rice from Mukawa) for several years. Mukawa is one of towns in Hokuto city, where there are fertile soil & abundant supply of mineral-rich water from Southern Alps.

- Photos on the web -
Mukawa-mai rice festival, Hokuto city 北杜市むかわ米・米まつり, taken by hokuto tourism association's photostream, on Flickr

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Recently, Nobuyuki Tsujii(Japan) and Haochen Zhang(China) took first prizes in the 13th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. I've been surprised at their high-level, beautiful & strong sound.

Asian prize winners are no longer a rare sight in competitions of classical music in recent years, but in 60's it was a different ballgame altogether. In 1965, Hiroko Nakamura 中村紘子(1944-) was awarded 4th prize in the 7th International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition. From my childhood, she has been the foremost authority on classical piano performance in Japan, and even now maintains energetic activities. She was born in Yamanashi, supposedly because of her mother being evacuated from Tokyo during World War II, and grew up in Tokyo.

■You can buy the CD from the below link.
Plays Chopin / Hiroko Nakamura

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mountain Photography

"i, cjw ~.::.~ hiking and climbing in japan" is an awesome site. Because of his fabulously beautiful scenery pictures, you must have feelings of being there.

And there are a lot of pictures which was shot in Yamanashi. Aino-dake, Aka-dake, Fuji, Hou-ou-San-zan, Kai-koma-ga-take, Kinpu, Kita-dake, Mitsutoge, Mizugaki, Senjo-ga-take...etc
Let's Check It Out!!!

Chuo Line

"Super Azusa", shot by DD51612. This work is licensed under a GNU Free Documentation License.

When you come from Narita (international airport) or Tokyo to Yamanashi, it is convenient to use the railway of Chūō Line (Chūō Main Line) and highway express buses.

The Chūō Line runs between Tokyo and Nagoya, but it is much slower than Tōkaidō Shinkansen and Tōkaidō Main Line because it runs through the mountain region. Kōfu can be reached in about one hour and a half by the Limited Express "Azusa", "Super Azusa" or "Kaiji" train from Shinjuku Station, which is main connecting hub for rail traffic between central Tokyo and its western suburbs and Yamanashi & Nagano Pref. With luck, you might be able to see beautiful scenery from a train window.

There are many tunnels on the railway, some of them are more than 100 years old. Therefore, some old ones was replaced with another new ones. And now one of unused tunnels has been reborned as "Katsunuma Tunnel Wine Cave 勝沼トンネルワインカーヴ".

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Maguro まぐろ 鮪(tuna) is one of the most common sushi items and I love it very much. In Japan, it is appreciated not only as sushi nigiri but as sashimi, chirashizushi, donburi (for example, kaisendon 海鮮丼, tekkadon 鉄火丼) & onigiri おにぎり (for example, tuna-mayo ツナマヨ tuna & mayonnaise).

In Yamanashi, there are a lot of fine dining and belt-conveyor sushi restaurants. Though Yamanashi pref. holds no ocean coast, the prefectural capital, Kōfu, is No.1 city in Japanese prefectural capitals in terms of the average annual amount, per household, of maguro that had been purchased (2003-05), according to Yomiuri Shinbun Newspaper. That reminds me, my grandpa & grandma also used to eat maguro sashimi very often.

Please come to Yamanashi to eat good maguro dishes.

Sushi restaurants in & near Yamanashi - Google Maps

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Panoramic viewing from peaks at home

In Yamanashi, there are a lot of mountains which are ideal for hiking and climbing trails. We can enjoy fine views as it changes from season to season there. The nature makes us refreshed both physically and mentally, doesn't it?
But on occasions when you can't go for vacation because you have a full schedule, "QuickTimeVR Panorama Gallery" is useful.

***** My recommended Panoramas *****
#fujisan (Mt.Fuji) No.8 (You can see Kōfu-basin & Southern Alps 南アルプス) 
#kai-komagatake 甲斐駒ケ岳 No.1
#kannondake No.1 (You can see Kōfu-basin, Mt.Fuji, Kitadake 北岳, Yatsugatake 八ヶ岳, & Northern Alps 北アルプス)
#kinpusan 金峰山 No.2
#kitadake No.1

Friday, June 5, 2009


Wagashi 和菓子 is a traditional Japanese confectionery. This time, I'll introduce to popular and folksy wagashis that we can get in Yamanashi.

Daifuku だいふく (大福)

Kusamochi くさもち (草餅)

Kuzu[Kudzu]mochi くずもち (葛餅) --- There are some types & shapes. (refer to the different type) Kuzumochi is made from kudzu starch.

These fillings are an[ko] 餡[子] (sweet bean paste).

You can get these wagashis 和菓子 at the following wagashi shop on Asahi-Dōri shopping street 朝日通り商店街 , Kōfu city.

View Wagashi shop 和菓子屋 on Google My Maps

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Kofu-Gozan & Kai Zenkoji

If it is asked: who is the most famous military commander in the history of Yamanashi? The answer is likely to be : Takeda Shingen 武田信玄 (1521-73). This commander in Sengoku-jidai(戦国時代, Sengoku period) (from the middle 15th to the early 17th century) was originally named "Harunobu 晴信" but changed his name to "Shingen 信玄" when he entered the Buddhist priesthood at age 38. And, irrespective of their religion, he protected temples and shrines.
In Kōfu city where he was based, there are a lot of temples and shrines connected with him, a few of which I'll introduce here.

***** Kōfu-Gozan 甲府五山 *****
There are mountains on the north side of Kōfu. At the base of them are Kōfu-Gozan. Gozan consist of five temples : Chōzenji 長禅寺, Tōkōji 東光寺, Nōjōji 能成寺, Enkōin 円光院 & Hōsenji 法泉寺. The word of "Gozan" comes from "Five Mountains and Ten Monasteries System 五山十刹制度" in China during the Southern Song Dynasty 南宋王朝 (1127–1279). This system was imported to Japan in the late Kamakura-era 鎌倉時代 (1185–1333), and took root as Kamakura Gozan 鎌倉五山 & Kyoto Gozan 京都五山. Shingen made the selections of Kōfu Gozan along the lines of them. Gozan belong to the Rinzai school 臨済宗.

***** Kai Zenkōji 甲斐善光寺 *****
There are some temples of which "Zenkōji 善光寺" is the name all over the country. The six Zenkōjis, whose names are (Shinshū)Zenkōji (信州)善光寺, Moto Zenkōji 元善光寺, Kai Zenkōji 甲斐善光寺, Zenkōji Tōkai Betsuin 善光寺東海別院, Seki Zenkōji 関善光寺 & Gifu Zenkōji 岐阜善光寺, held the unprecedented Buddhist ceremony of "Roku Zenkōji Dōji Gokaichō 六善光寺同時御開帳" on April & May this year. Maybe the next "Gokaichō" will be held 7 years later.
In the "Kondō 金堂" (main temple structure, main hall) which is 27 meters high and was rebuilt in 1796, of Kai Zenkōji, there is a room which makes echo effects and it is called "Nakiryu 鳴き龍" (Crying Dragon). Kai Zenkōji's Naki-Ryu is the largest one in Japan.
Kai Zenkōji 甲斐善光寺 on Flickr

View Kōfu Gozan 甲府五山 & Kai Zenkōji 甲斐善光寺 on Google My Maps

View Six Zenkōjis 六善光寺 on Google My Maps

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tachu Naito

What is the tallest structure in Japan?


Tokyo Tower?


"Tokyo Tower and around Skyscrapers", shot by Volfgang. This work is licensed under a GNU Free Documentation License

Most of elementary school students in Yamanashi used to go to Tokyo Tower for the school trip in 80's. Even now, it is one of the busiest sightseeing spots in Tokyo.

But the person who designed it is less well known.
It may be the only game in town because it was built more than 50 years ago.
Even I had not known the person till lately.

OK. I'll give an answer to the question.
It is Tachū Naitō 内藤多仲 (1886-1970).

He was born at home in Sakaki village 榊村, Nakakoma-gun 中巨摩郡[*gun is a district that is roughly equivalent to the county of the United States], now known as "Minami-Alps city". And then he become an architect, engineer, and professor,and set out not only Tokyo tower but also Nagoya TV Tower, the Tsūtenkaku (Osaka), the Sapporo TV Tower...etc in late 50's. And he has been called "a father of earthquake-proof design" because, though his-designed-building's aseismic capacity was accidentally tested by Great Kantō earthquake in 1923, his building came through the earthquake nearly-unharmed with his own theory : structure system based on shear wall.

Hottarakashi Hot Springs

These hot sprongs "HOTTARAKASHI-ONSEN ほったらかし温泉" are in Yamanashi city. We can see the panorama view of Kofu basin & Mt. Fuji from there.

View Hottarakashi Onsen ほったらかし温泉 on Google Map

Google Search - Hottarakashi Hot Springs

- PHOTOS on the web -
"Hottarakashi Onsen" on フォト蔵
"Hottarakashi Onsen" on Flickr

Be with You (Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu)

"Be with You (Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu いま、会いにゆきます)" is a Japanese movie, which was released in 2004. This movie in which Yūko Takeuchi 竹内結子 and Nakamura Shidō II 中村獅童 played the leading roles was mostly shot in Yamanashi & Nagano Prefectures.

■You can buy the DVD from the below link.
Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu / Japanese Movie

Specifically, the scenes in the sunflower (himawari ひまわり,向日葵) -field in full bloom which was shot in Akeno, Hokuto city, provide spectacular beauty(refer to the site of PHOTO CONTEST in Akeno/Hokuto city in 2008).
View Akeno Sunflower Festival on YOUTUBE, shot by Yamanashi "Home of Mt.Fuji" Sightseeing Net 富士の国やまなし観光ネット The festa is held from late July to late August every year. This year it'll be held from July 25 to August 31. We'll be able to see more than 300 thousand sunflowers.
Edit4 :
明野のひまわり畑 Akeno Sunflower festival. (HD) by AQUA Geo Graphic on YouTube

Akeno, Sunflower 明野、ひまわり on Flickr

Edit3 :
Hokuto city's official site (Japanese / English / Korean)
※You may be able to get detailed informations of the Sunflower festival if you follow the following steps : Click the link "English" (at the top of the page) → Click the link "English Translation of the Webpage powered by Google" at the middle of the page → Click the link of the picture "Sunflower Festival 2009"

Then in Akeno, there are "Haiji-no-mura ハイジの村 (Heidi 's Village)" (Yamanashi Prefectural Flower Center), "OBSERVATORY of Institute for Cosmic Ray Research by University of Tokyo" and a lot of spots to get glorious view of Japanese-Southern-Alps. These facilities & spots benefit from the fact that Akeno has the best insolation conditions all over the country and we can have a lot of fine days throughout the year. In autumn, we can harvest Asao-Daikons(浅尾大根 a type of Japanese radishes), from which takuan (たくあん,沢庵 yellow pickled radish) is often made.
Haiji-no-mura ハイジの村 on Flickr

View  Sunflower-field & Heidi's Village in Akeno 明野のひまわり畑とハイジの村 on Google Maps

Edit : on local TV news broadcasts on June 12, it was reported that sunflower's seeds were sown on the grounds in Akeno on the day and its flowers would start in blooming in about late july.


"Direction of the Southern Alps 南アルプス方面" shot by chipo at Prefectural Flower Center,Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


The first menu offers "WATER WATER CAMEL". They are 3 pieces band from Yamanashi.

WATER WATER CAMEL's site on "myspace music" (You can listen to a few songs)

■You can buy the CDs from the below links.
Airship (1st Album)

Hana Ga Yoku Niau (2nd Album)

WATER WATER CAMEL's official site (You can listen some samples of 1st album "Airship" )
WATER WATER CAMEL's site on "last.fm"