Fall colors along Arakawa River (Photo: Rey Waters)

Shosenkyo Gorge Chichibu Tama Kai National Park

This could be your lucky day

Fall colors along Arakawa River (Photo: Rey Waters)
Rey Waters   - 4 min read

Just one and half hours from Shinjuku via the Asusa Limited Express you will find the ultimate outdoor experience. Kofu is home to Shosenkyo the number one Gorge in Japan. Catch the first train at 8:27 a.m. and you can arrive at around 9 a.m. You will have about 30 minutes before the 9:39 Green Line bus departs for Shosenkyo Gorge. Just a few minutes from Kofu station is the very well-maintained Kofu Castle ruins. It is worth your time not only for the historical value, but some very nice views of the surrounding mountains and metro area.

Once the bus reaches the Gorge (about 40 minutes) you have two options: get off at the Tenjin stop and walk 4 kilometers along the river up to the ropeway, or take the bus to the Taki Ue stop which is only a few minutes to the ropeway. If the weather is clear, opt for the ropeway first and go to the top of Mt. Yasaburo-dake (1,058 meters – 3,471 feet).

As the title says This could be your lucky day. There are 16 power spots throughout Shosenkyo Gorge and Mt. Yasaburo-dake. From the seven deities of good fortune to the power of nature, you pass by many on your walk.

The first one at the top of Mt Shosenkyo is the area facing Mt. Fuji. If it is clear your view of Fuji-san will seem like you can reach out and touch it.

There are many short hiking trails that lead to some nice observation areas on both sides of the ropeway station.

Once you go back down the mountain be sure to stop at the Shosenkyo Kagee No-mori Museum. Here you will find the works of Seiji Fujishiro, the world-famous shadowgraph artist.

This exhibit of 50 of his works is a must see and well worth the 900 yen entrance fee. Once you exit the museum try the local Hoto dish originating from Yamanashi prefecture. It is made of large flat noodles with all types of vegetables stewed in miso soup.

Now that your stomach is full you will be ready for the hike along the Arakawa river. This hike will prove to you why Shosenkyo Gorge is ranked number one in Japan. Your first stop will be Sengataki Falls at 30 meters, listed as one of the top 100 waterfalls in Japan.

As you continue down the river notice that almost all the rock formations both in the water and on the mountains have names based on their appearance; just look for the information signs.

Kakuenpo Peak is the highest point and it is where monks go to meditate. All along the river you will find spots to say your prayers for good fortune. Around every corner is another spectacular view along with the settling sound of rapidly flowing water.

After about 4 kilometers you will reach the Tenjin bus stop for your ride back to Kofu city. Most likely you will have an hour or so before taking the train back to Shinjuku. Close to the station are many interesting attractions. The Kofu Castle Yamanote Gate has a small museum and offers some interesting history. A few minutes from the gate is Sadoya Winery, producing one of the famous wines of Yamanashi Prefecture. On the way back to the station visit the Koshu Yume Kouji area with shops selling many locally made products from jewelry to their very tasty mochi sweets.

There is much more to experience in the Kofu area and you may want to spend a few days exploring, dining, and shopping. Stop by the tourist information center near Kofu station. They open at 9 a.m.

Getting there

Asusa Limited Express from Shinjuku Station to Kofu. Green Line Bus from Kofu Station to Shosenkyo Gorge.

Rey Waters

Rey Waters @rey.waters

Born in the U.S.A. - Worked 30 years in executive management high tech Industry, owned a management consulting firm and a wildlife art publishing company.  In 2012 completed the Ultimate Travel Writer’s course and published my first article Tower Hopping in Japan with Travel Post Monthly.  Since ...