Mt.Yatsugatake was the highest mountain in Japan?
Maybe it was, or it wasn't. Nobody knows for sure. In 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. In 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, with its foot...Anyway, they say Yatsugatake was actually a large volcano higher than Mt.Fuji, and it lost the original form by an eruption. The shape of Yatsugatake today can let us imagine that it really happened.
Yatsugatake has hiking trails for both beginners and experienced hikers
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 on the JR 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 where you easily be lost. If you don’t have much experience in climbing in Japan, it is strongly recommended that you ask for a guide who speaks Japanese.
From YouTube | By shoei128
Yatsugatake in Autumn | From YouTube | By yatsugatake21
Kobuchizawa, the perfect place to enjoy Yatsugatake resort
For those who want to retreat and do some outdoor activities near Yatsugatake, one of the best destinations is 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 soldiers 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 to do shopping at an outlet mall “Yatsugatake Kobuchizawa Resort Outletmall”.
Explore Yatsugatake area by local train "Koumi-sen"
Another attraction at Yatsugatake area is the local train Koumi-sen Line (小海線) that departs from Kobuchizawa. The Koumi-sen is a cute train running along Yatsugatake Mountains at an altitude of 1000m, where passengers can enjoy the idyllic landscape.
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)
Travel Showcase on digi-joho JAPAN
Kobuchizawa Art Village