Traveling in Japan…Again — Japan’s Most Convenient Mountain Escape

It’s not often you get invited to visit a place so close, that feels like a proper trip to rejuvenate your inner wanderlust.

Yamanashi, just a 2-hour drive outside of Tokyo, provided such an experience.

As we circled around the backside of Mt. Fuji after escaping the seemingly endless urban sprawl of Tokyo, I felt a sense of ‘new discovery’ grabbing hold my inner travel bug — a feeling that’s been missing for far too long.

Admittedly, the itinerari called for a “ropeway viewing” and visit to a temple. Having lived in Japan for over a decade, this did not sound like the most intriguing experience, but my feeling quickly changed as we were greeted by a local monk from Kuonji Buddist Temple near Minobu, Yamanashi.

Stunning pagodas, dragon murals, Japanese koi, and stunning views of the backside of Mt. Fuji can all be enjoyed here as well as a delicious lunch and caligraphy session at the nearby Kakurinbo Buddhist Temple guesthouse.

The real reason we love to travel

I’ve often said, meeting people along the journey is the best part of traveling and what truly makes a trip/destination a magical experience.

This was exemplified at the highest level during a stay at Kuu House, located high up in the mountains, overlooking the “seat of clouds”.

The hospitality shown by the owners of the guesthouse was second to none, not to be outdone by the lovely obaa chan who graciously welcomed us to her garden perched along the mountain slope. It’s also the home to “Japan’s only true redneck”, as self-acclaimed by host Keita-san who lived in West Virginia. (my first such encounter in Japan)

Our vegetable harvest at sunset turned into a feast of culinary and visual delight, as Kuu House prepared an unbelievable meal of seemingly over a 100 plates of carefully prepared dishes, which was enjoyed around an open fire pit of charcoal called “irori”.

Day 2: SUP Experience on a Pristine Lake

As day 2 came, I was looking to my first ever experience to try a stand up paddle board at Native SUP.

Just a short drive from Kuu House, we arrived at Lake Shibireko — a picture perfect, small, circular lake 1 km around.

The day couldn’t have been any nicer with crystal clear blue skies and autumn foliage surrounding the lake on a warm November day.

Closing out the trip staying at the Yomura Tokiwa Hotel with spacious and well designed rooms, another full spread of Japanese dishes were served up in private dining rooms.

A visit to Yamanashi wouldn’t be complete without taking in the stunning ‘full exposure’ view of Mt. Fuji as a backdrop to Lake Kawaguchi.

The majestic, snow-capped (active) volcano is a site that you just can’t take your eyes off of, no matter how many times you’ve seen it. What made this visit so special was not only the amazing weather, but for better or worse, the unique opportunity to enjoy the surroundings with minimal people lined with selfie sticks at Oishi Park, really made for an enjoyable experience.

I’d like to thank Japan Travel and Yamanashi Prefecture for the opportunity to discover Japan once again and allow me to share my experience with those who are currently overseas craving Japanese experiences for themselves.

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Jessop Petroski — Producer, Photographer, Travel Innovator, Disaster Relief Volunteer

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Where Did Travel Go?

Where Did Travel Go?

Jessop Petroski — Producer, Photographer, Travel Innovator, Disaster Relief Volunteer

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