Tag Archives: Yamanashi

Mt Fuji day – Fujiyoshida City (Yamanashi)

IMG_0149 (1).JPGFinally figured out what city we’re in. I knew the Prefecture (Yamanashi) but not the city. It’s Fujiyoshida  and appears to be dominated by this hotel, the amusement park behind it and a commercial strip with restaurants, some with familiar names (McDonald’s, Big Boy, KFC,) but the good is different than the starts. Word has it the burgers at Big Boy were more like meatloaf with gravy. We stuck with Japanese food and went to Aiya, which we decided was the Applebee’s of Japan, a chain restaurant with serviceable fare – we had sashimi, tempura, tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet) etc. We were the only westerners there (for awhile) and it was a useful experience to be in a place that didn’t cater to tourists (i.e., no English menu or English spoken). We sat next to a couple and their elderly mother who ordered a lot of food. (The woman started with an ice cream sundae.)

Today we went to Saiko lyashi no Sarto, a reconstructed ancient village with thatched roofed wood houses climbing up a thickly vegetated hillside lined with purple and pink hydrangea. We’d already had a taste of this environment in Kyoto and it reminded us a bit of Living History Farms in Des Moines but it was a pretty place to stroll and Mt Fuji peaked out from the clouds now and then.

After a good lunch at the Japanese restaurant in the hotel, we drove on the bus about 45 minutes to station 5 of Mt. Fuji, so we were actually on the mountain. Clouds broke up the view below but we could see most of the peak — dark brown earth with patches of green. Lovely. Just back from the onsen (bath house) feeling refreshed. On to the last banquet.


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Peaches to die for — Yamanashi

IMG_1646 (1)imageSoon after we arrived in Japan, I started craving fruit and eyeing, in particular, the perfect softball-size peaches in markets. But I didn’t eat one until today, when we were invited to eat as many as we liked while touring a peach orchard here. The peaches sell in markets for 400 to 600 yen ($4-6) each which is why I put off buying them. Today, I ate more than I’ll admit.

THey were amazing – soft but not mushy or mealy, white flesh and oozing with juice. We ate some that had been frozen and they were delicious. This was followed by homemade peach ice cream which was on par with Bauder’s ice cream in Des Moines.

The orchard was one of five or so fruit/veg businesses we visited in fields surrounded by mountains densely covered with green vines and what looked like kudzu. We also went to a rice paddy, a peach sorting plant, a greenhouse with grapes (that Iowans helped recover from a huge snowfall that damaged the building), a fancy fruit and food market (with ham and pork genetically derived from Iowa hogs).  At each stop, we were warmly greeted by staff, owners, workers, often receiving gift bags with caps and tenugui (hand towels) and fans, not to mention peaches and many other food samples.

At one spot, a television reporter greeted us. Must say this is a very cool thing about being an Iowan – having this warm longstanding relationship with a rural region of Japan that dates back to 1960. People here seem genuinely pleased that we came all this way to visit. And how cool that the Iowa/ Yamanashi sister state relationship is the first between a US and Japan state/ prefecture.

Midway through our tour we were ushered into yet another banquet hall for yet another excellent meal, beautifully served. We had special wide flour noodles made here, in a miso soup, greens and pickled stuff, some steamed chicken and vegetables, rice (of course) and what I think was mochi dusted with green tea powder.

Interestingly, Mt. Fuji has disappeared behind the clouds – you’d never know it was there so glad we had it for so long yesterday.

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Mt Fuji View – Yamanashi Prefecture




Today, a very different hotel and view: a smaller, less flashy hotel, the Highland Resort, in Yamanashi Prefecture with a stunning view of Mt. Fuji which was cloaked in clouds when we arrived but not any more.

We drove about two hours to Hakone, for a quick ride on a cruise boat across Lake Ashi. Very refreshing to be out in the countryside after Tokyo. Narrow roads winding around densely vegetated low mountains lined with purple hydrangea.  Then we drove another hour to Yamanashi (I don’t know what town this is). Directly in front of me as I type in my room is the dark conical shaped Fuji, with a thin line of fluffy clouds near its base and below, dense green forest, mostly pine trees. To our left ( but out of view from where I sit)  is a four-lane highway strip with among other things a Big Boy restaurant and in the back of the hotel is an amusement park, complete with a roller coaster. There’s an onsen here too which I hope to use. (My body is aching after my massage yesterday.)

p.s. Morning after: Did use the onsen. Becoming a fan. It’s a relaxing way to end the day. The governor of Yamanashi welcomed us at a banquet last night, followed by a rousing performance by about a dozen traditional drummers and then a young guy playing a traditional guitar that sounded a bit like a cross between a sitar and a banjo.


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