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Yamanashi Prefecture

yamanashi prefecture, yamanashi prefecture from shinjuku
Yamanashi Prefecture 山梨県, Yamanashi-ken is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūbu region of the main island of Honshu1

The prefecture is landlocked, featuring a fertile central valley, the Kōfu Basin, surrounded by many of the highest mountains in Japan including the highest, Mount Fuji located on the southern border with Shizuoka

Mount Fuji from the Misaka Pass, Yamanashi

The capital of the prefecture is the city of Kōfu2


  • 1 History
    • 11 Pre-history to the 14th century
    • 12 15th to 19th centuries
    • 13 Meiji Restoration 1868 to end of World War II 1945
    • 14 1945 to present
  • 2 Geography
    • 21 Cities
    • 22 Towns and villages
    • 23 Mergers
  • 3 Economy
  • 4 Tourism
  • 5 Major Festivals
  • 6 Universities
  • 7 Sports
  • 8 Transportation
    • 81 Railway lines
    • 82 Road
      • 821 Expressways
      • 822 National highways
  • 9 Media
    • 91 Television
    • 92 Radio
  • 10 Sister states and regions
  • 11 Notes
  • 12 References
  • 13 External links


See also: Historic Sites of Yamanashi Prefecture

Pre-history to the 14th centuryedit

As in most other Japanese regions, prehistoric society in Yamanashi progressed though the hunting, fishing and gathering stage of the Jōmon period, then the rice-producing stage of the Yayoi period and subsequent village and regional formation The Maruyama and Choshizuka Kofun earthen burial mounds located on Sone Hill of Nakamichi Town Southern Kōfu are believed to have been built from the end of the 4th century From these remains it can be assumed that the people of Sone Hill had great influence

During the Heian period, Kai Province was created in this area3

15th to 19th centuriesedit

Among the many Kaigenji generations, those of the Takeda, Ogasawara, and Nanbu families were particularly prosperous During the Sengoku period of the 16th century, Takeda Shingen attained the status of daimyō and built Tsuzuji Mansion and the Yōgai Castle in Kōfu From this base, he attempted to unify and control Japan

After Takeda’s death in 1582, Kai-no-Kuni came under the control of the Oda and Toyotomi clans before being subsumed into the Tokugawa shogunate during the Edo period Beneath the Edo shogunate, the Kofu clan based in Kuninaka, or Central and Western Yamanashi and the Yamura clan based in Gunnai, or Eastern Yamanashi were formed, but in 1724 the area came under the direct control of the Shogunate With the development of the Kōshū Kaidō highway and Fuji River transport, goods, materials and culture flowed into the region

By the mid-19th century, the contradictions of military government and clan system caused stability to erode and resistance to erupt across Japan, paving the way for the Meiji Restoration of 1868

Meiji Restoration 1868 to end of World War II 1945edit

Autumn at Senga Falls, North of Kofu

During the Boshin War the Battle of Kōshū-Katsunuma on the 29 March 1868 was a significant battle between pro-Imperial and Tokugawa shogunate forces immediately prior to the Imperial Forces march on Edo Castle Preceding the Kōshū-Katsunuma battle, Kofu Castle had been captured by troops loyal to the Emperor Meiji

The province was renamed Kōfu Prefecture in 1869 and then Yamanashi Prefecture in 18713 The anniversary of this event on November 20, 1872, is now celebrated as Prefectural Citizen’s Day in Yamanashi

In the early part of the Meiji period 1868–1911, industrial promotion policies furthered sericulture, silk textile production and wine making industries In 1903, after seven years of construction, including the building of a nearly three mile long tunnel at the Sasago Pass, the Chūō Railway Line from Hachiōji and central Tokyo finally reached Kōfu The reduced journey times to the capital and the port of Yokohama brought significant change to local industry and culture4

Agricultural production in farming communities was still on a small scale at the turn of the century and land reforms had yet to be introduced From the 1920s however, tenancy and contract disputes between landowners and farmers in Yamanashi grew increasingly common5

In 1926, the Minobu Railway Line connecting Kōfu with Shizuoka Prefecture opened, bringing an end to Fuji River transportation The Koumi Line connecting Kobuchizawa to Kiyosato was opened by Japanese National Railways JNR in 1933, providing access to hitherto remote highland areas on the slopes of Mt Yatsugatake in the North of the prefecture

1945 to presentedit

Vineyards in Kōshū, Yamanashi

The capital city, Kōfu, suffered extensive damage during a major air raid on the night of 6 July 19456 From 1945 onwards, as part of economic initiatives introduced under the post war Government of Occupation, agricultural land reforms significantly increased the number of individual farms and promoted fruit farming and viticulture throughout the prefecture At first with limited success in 1946, but on a much more sustained basis in 1951, dairy farming, introduced by American Paul Rusch, became a feature of highland pastures surrounding the town of Kiyosato7

Small scale manufacturing industries and commerce grew at rapid speed during the expansion of the post-war Japanese economy The 1982 opening of the Chūō Expressway also led to significant growth in service industries, transport logistics and tourism

In common with many similar sized cities during the 1990s, rapid growth in car ownership, out of town shopping, and improved transportation links to Tokyo, caused a drop in commercial activity and land values in the center of the prefectural capital Kofu To counterbalance this trend the prefectural government launched a city center revitalization plan in 2008, promoting downtown tourist attractions such as redeveloped land North of Kofu station, Maizuru Castle Park and new residential, cultural and government office facilities

MLX01 maglev train at the Yamanashi test track

Planned changes in transportation infrastructure also promise to significantly impact the Yamanashi economy in the coming decades; under mountains in the eastern part of the prefecture is a completed 428 km section of the SCMaglev test track, a section of the planned Chūō Shinkansen

The maglev line is designed to ultimately connect Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka with a station also planned to the South of Kofu8

Central Government permission to proceed with an extension to the existing test track was granted on May 27, 2011 At the end of 2013 construction was already well advanced as far as Fuefuki

JR Central is considering opening a demonstration service from a new station in Kofu by the 2020 Summer Olympics so that visitors can also ride on the experimental track through the Yamanashi mountains9


Prefectural Office Map of Yamanashi Prefecture Kofu Basin, Kofu City and view of Mt Fuji Mount Kita, Yamanashi, Japan's Second Highest Peak Yatsugatake-Kogen Higashizawa Bridge near Kiyosato

Yamanashi Prefecture is bordered by Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture, Saitama Prefecture, Shizuoka Prefecture, and Nagano Prefecture The prefecture is landlocked, with high mountains surrounding the central Kōfu Basin Mount Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes region is located on the southern border with Shizuoka Mt Fuji provides rain shadow effects, and as a result, the prefecture receives only about 818 mm of rainfall a year

As of April 1, 2012, 27% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Chichibu Tama Kai, Fuji-Hakone-Izu, and Minami Alps National Parks; Yatsugatake-Chūshin Kōgen Quasi-National Park; and Minami Alps Koma and Shibireko Prefectural Natural Parks10

78% of the prefecture is covered by forests, making it one of the most densely wooded prefectures in Japan Land cultivated for agriculture is mainly restricted to the lower elevations of the Kofu basin11


Thirteen cities are located in Yamanashi Prefecture:

Towns and villagesedit

These are the towns and villages in each district:


Main article: List of mergers in Yamanashi Prefecture


Yamanashi has a sizable industrial base in and around Kōfu city, with jewelry and robotics industries being particularly prominent The headquarters of FANUC, the leading global manufacturer of factory automation systems, is based in Oshino in the south of the prefecture12

The prefecture is also host to numerous fruit farms and vineyards Yamanashi is one of the major fruit producing regions in Japan, being the top domestic producer of grapes, peaches, plums, as well as wine

In addition, roughly 40% of the mineral water bottled in Japan comes from Yamanashi, mainly from around the Southern Alps, Mt Fuji, and Mitsutōge areas The quality of the water sources in the Southern Alps prompted Suntory Group to open the Hakushu distillery in the northern Yamanashi town of Hokuto


Nishizawa Waterfall on the Fuefuki River, Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, Yamanashi Mt Fuji, Fuji Five Lakes region, Yamanashi

The natural scenery and cultural sights of Yamanashi are popular destinations for both domestic and international tourists due to the prefecture's proximity to the crowded Tokyo conurbation and ease of access by road and rail Mount Fuji, the Fuji Five Lakes region, the highland resort region of Kiyosato, the city of Kōfu, the Senga Falls, Koshu wineries, the temple of Erin-ji in Koshu, and the Kuonji Temple at Minobu are a few of the most popular places to visit

The Fuji-Q Highland amusement park at Fujiyoshida with roller coasters Eejanaika, and Takabisha, the world's steepest roller coaster, is also a popular destination for day trips

The natural topography of the region makes Yamanashi popular with mountaineering, hiking and climbing enthusiasts throughout the year The highest mountain in Japan, Mount Fuji, at 3,776 m 12,388 ft and the second highest mountain in Japan, Mount Kita, at 3,193 m 10,476 ft are both located within Yamanashi The Mt Fuji summer hiking season in July and August attracts thousands of overnight hikers typically starting at the Fifth Station in the late evening and climbing through the night to witness the sunrise at the summit

Although not as tall, Mount Minobu, a popular place for Buddhist pilgrimage, offers extensive views from the summit of the mountain Parts of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, and Minami Alps National Park are all located in Yamanashi

Given the area's volcanic activity, natural hot springs, or onsens, are found in abundance Some of the more well known are Shimobe Onsen, Isawa Onsen and Yamanami Onsen

Major Festivalsedit

Lighting street torches at the Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Fire Festival
  • Shingen Festival, held each March in the precincts of Kofu Castle and Takeda Shrine in commemoration of Takeda Shingen's role in prefectural history
  • Fujiyoshida Fire Festival, marks the end of the summer climbing season on Mount Fuji Held on the last weekend in August
  • Yatsugatake County Fair and Paul Rusch Festival Held each October in Kiyosato to celebrate the life and work of Paul Rusch, his contributions to local agricultural development and US Japan friendship


  • Tsuru University
  • University of Yamanashi
  • Yamanashi Gakuin University
  • Yamanashi Prefectural University
  • Yamanashi Eiwa College


Ventforet Kōfu the J League Division 1 association football soccer team is based in Kōfu The team's home ground is the Yamanashi Chuo Bank Stadium

Since 2005 the Fujizakura Country Club in Fujikawaguchiko has also hosted the Fujisankei Classic golf tournament, an annual event on the Japan Golf Tour


JR Chuo Main Line SuperAzuza passing Yatsugatake, near Hokuto, Yamanashi Chuo Expressway, near Kai, Yamanashi

Railway linesedit

  • East Japan Railway Company
    • Chūō Main Line
    • Koumi Line
  • Central Japan Railway Company
    • Minobu Line
  • Fuji Kyuko
    • Fujikyuko Line



  • Chuo Expressway
  • Chūbu-Ōdan Expressway under construction
  • Higashifuji-goko Road
  • Kofu Yamanashi Road

National highwaysedit



  • Yamanashi Broadcasting System YBS
  • UHF Television Yamanashi UTY


  • FM Fuji FMF

Sister states and regionsedit

  • Iowa, United States since 1960
  • Minas Gerais, Brazil since 1973
  • Sichuan Province, China since 1985
  • Chungcheongbuk-do, Korea since 1992
  • Saône-et-Loire, France since 2000
  • Fairfield, California, United States since the 1970s


  1. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric 2005 "Yamanashi-ken" in Japan Encyclopedia, p 1044, p 1044, at Google Books; "Chūbu" in p 126, p 126, at Google Books
  2. ^ 甲府市; Introduction of Kofu City; retrieved 2011-07-13
  3. ^ a b Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" at p 780, p 780, at Google Books
  4. ^ Ericson, Steven 1996 The Sound of the Whistle: Railroads and the State in Meiji Japan Harvard University Press p 46 ISBN 0-674-82167-X 
  5. ^ Smethurst, Andrew 1986 Agricultural Development and Tenancy Disputes in Japan, 1870-1940 Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press p 367 ISBN 0-691-05468-1 
  6. ^ Ijiri, Toshiyuki 1991 Paul Rusch Cincinnati, Ohio: Forward Movement Publications p 167  |access-date= requires |url= help
  7. ^ Ishiguro, Kana December 8, 2002 "There's cows in them there hills" Japan Times Retrieved 25 October 2014 
  8. ^ "中央新幹線(東京都・名古屋市間)計画段階環境配慮書の公表について" PDF Central Japan Railway Company Retrieved 8 July 2013 
  9. ^ "リニア山梨県駅、東京五輪前に 体験乗車に道 JR東海が検討" 日本経済新聞 14 January 2014 Retrieved 14 January 2014 
  10. ^ "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" PDF Ministry of the Environment Retrieved 25 April 2012 
  11. ^ "2008 Yamanashi Ken no Aramashi" PDF Yamanashi Prefecture Yamanashi Prefectural Government Retrieved 1 November 2014 
  12. ^ "FANUC History" FANUC Europe Corporation Retrieved March 19, 2014 


  • Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth 2005 Japan encyclopedia Cambridge: Harvard University Press ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128

External linksedit

  • Official Yamanashi Prefecture homepage
  • Osano Memorial Foundation website, publishers of a biannual informative magazine about Yamanashi

Coordinates: 35°37′N 138°37′E / 35617°N 138617°E / 35617; 138617

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