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Getting to Kofu

高尾駅

Perhaps I should back up and present my day in Kofu chronologically. I took the Keio Line from Shinjuku to Takao Station for two reasons. The first is that it costs 190 yen less (each way) than JR, and the second is that the views are better. You can see Mt. Fuji on a clear day from Keio’s Kitano Station, but it wasn’t clear enough yet on this day. If you get on a semi-limited express train (like I did) the Keio Line is actually faster too.

I transfered at Takao Station onto the JR Chuo Line. On the JR platform is a giant Tengu head statue. Tengu is the symbol of Mt. Takao, which you can get to from this station but not as easily as from the Takaosanguchi Station on the Keio Line.

The train I took, pictured above, from Takao to Kofu is the exact same one I took 22 years ago according to my memory. Japan is full of improvements in the past few decades but JR doesn’t seem to have changed a thing to the regular trains on this line.

ootsuki station fujiyoshida fuji five lakes map directions

The views from the train were really nice–rivers, lakes, fishermen, sakura, mountains, older Japanese homes–things that are not so commonly viewed from trains in Tokyo. The train stations are also much smaller. Everything is a bit more charming.

The first decent sized station after Takao is Ootsuki. From Ootsuki you can head south to Fujiyoshida or to the Fuji Five Lakes Area. I stayed on the train though. The above photo is of a map of the area that I took from inside the train while we were stopped at the station.

jidohanbaiki cherry blossoms blue sky kai-yamato station

The blossoms along this route were really fantastic at times. Sometimes it seemed to be snowing as blossoms fluttered around the train as we speed through a tunnel of blooming trees. The sun came out, for one of the first times during the cherry blossom season, which made things look even better.

enzan higashiyamanashi station view cherry blossoms

I’m not sure if the above photo is from Enzan Station or Higashiyamanashi Station, but the view was great.

The City of Yamanashi in Yamanashi Prefecture had orchard after orchard of blossoming trees. I’m not sure if they were cherry blossoms as they were pink instead of the normal white. Yellow, ground flowers (rapeseed perhaps) bloomed beneath them. With the mountains, partially blue sky, and white fluffy clouds, it made for an impressive scene (and one somewhat different than the one pictured above).

The people in Yamanashi Ken have always been very good to me. I got up to let four, older Japanese ladies sit together when they got on in Yamanashi. That was enough to turn me into an instant friend in their eyes. They shared their candy with me, and we had a good time talking about the area and Kofu, which is where they were also going to experience the same festival.

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