In a myth, it says Yatsugatake used to be a single mountain as high as Mt.Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan. One day, Mt.Yatusgatake and Mt.Fuji got into a fuss about who was the highest, then, they had a competition to measure their height. As the result, Yatsugatake won, but Mt.Fuji got furious and kicked the head of Mt.Yatsugatake away.... I can hardly picture how Mt.Fuji managed to give the kick, but, chances are that Yatsugatake was actually a large volcano higher than Mt.Fuji, and it lost the original form by eruption. The shape of Yatsugatake today makes us imagine like that.
For mountaineering, there are many climbing routes set up for beginners to experienced climbers, and the most popular one is the route starting from the Minotoguchi point (美濃戸口), reachable by bus (40-min ride) from JR Chino Station JR茅野駅. From Tokyo (JR Shinjuku station) to Chino, it takes about 2 hours and 10 minutes by train Super Azusa Express of Chuo-honsen Line.
Compared to the Japan Alps, the altitudes of Yatsugatake mountains are not so high, however, remember it is still challenging due to the changeable weather and the rocky or bushy trails that easily make you being lost. If you don’t have much experience in climbing in Japan, it is strongly recommended to ask for a guide who speaks Japanese.
From YouTube | By shoei128
Kobuchizawa, the perfect place to enjoy Yatsugatake resort
For those who want to just enjoy relaxing and some outdoor activities, the best destination would be Kobuchizawa, known as an onsen hot springs resort town easily accessible from Tokyo (By Super Azusa train departs from JR Shinjuku station. Approx. 2-hour ride). The quality of the natural springs is very high and was used to cure ailing Samurai solders more than 400 years ago. In Kobuchizawa, there are a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities which include hiking, horse riding, farming experience, golfing, fishing, and star watching. It is also enjoyable shopping at an outlet mall “Yatsugatake Kobuchizawa Resort Outletmall”.
Another attraction that makes Kobuchizawa popular is a local train called Koumi-sen Line (小海線), a cute train running along Yatsugatake Mountains at an altitude of 1000m, where passengers can enjoy the idyllic landscape.
Yatsugatake in Autumn | From YouTube | By yatsugatake21
Map of Yatsugatake Area
Yatsugatake Mountains 八ヶ岳
Yatsugatake Area by JNTO
Yatsugatake by Yamanashi Tourism Organization
Nagano Prefecture Tourism Association
Yatsugatake Tourism Association (Japanese website)
Yatsugatake Tourist Zone (Japanese website)
Kobuchizawa in Hokuto City, Yamanashi 小淵沢 北杜市 山梨
JR Chuo-honsen Super Azusa Express
Koumi-sen Line 小海線 Timetable (Japanese website)
Kobuchizawa Art Village