Kofu city [甲府]
Kofu is the capital of Yamanashi Prefecture, and is located at the center of the prefecture.
The vowel "o" is pronounced long, so it is read as "Kôfu".
Here had been the central town in this area since ancient times.
Since the 12th century, Takeda family had governed this area as the lord, then this city had developed.
Especially, Takeda Shingen (1521-1573, the 19th lord) was a strong feudal warlord.
He invaded to surrounding areas with his excellent war tactics and extended his territory severalfold.
But after his death, Takeda family was destroyed by Oda Nobunaga, one of the strongest warlords.
Takeda Shingen had been based in Kofu, and he is still the hero in this area.
There are many shrines and temples in the city, because Takeda family had protected them.
Kofu Castle (甲府城)
Restored Tetsumon Gate in Kafu Castle
Kofu Castle is on a small hill located just southeast of JR Kofu station.
It is also called Maizuru Castle (舞鶴城).
This castle was constructed in 1583, after Takeda family was defeated.
Originally, here was a central town of Takeda clan, and the castle was constructed for the new government in this area.
This castle was used for the center of feudal government office until 1868.
Then, it was abondoned in 1873, because new modern government was established.
It is unknown that the castle tower had been built.
But the buildings were found by excavation and research, and some tullets and gates were restored since 2004.
The site is about 250 meters from north to south and from east to west.
It has been developed into Maizuru-jo Park.
Takeda Shrine (武田神社)
Entrance of Takeda Shrine
Main shrine of Takeda Shrine
Takeda Shrine is a Shinto shrine located about 2 km north of JR Kofu station.
It was built in 1919, and Takeda Shingen was enshrined in this shrine.
This place had been the center of Takeda family, and there was the residence of Takeda family.
But it was demolished when Kofu Castle was built.
There is a treasure museum displaying many articles related to Takeda family in the precincts.
To visit this shrine, about 8 minutes by route bus from Kofu station.
Kai Zenkôji temple (甲斐善光寺)
Sanmon gate of Kai Zenkoji
Photo by Railstation.net
Main temple of Kai zenkoji
Photo by Railstation.net
Kai Zenkoji is a temple of Pure Land Buddhism, and is located about 2 km east of JR Kofu station.
The name of the temple is "Zenkoji".
But Zenkoji in Nagano city is very famous, so "Kai" which is the old name of Yamanashi Prefecture is usually added to the name to distinguish this from the temple in Nagano city.
This temple was built in 1558 by Takeda Shingen.
The main hall and main gate were destroyed by fire in the late 18th century, and they were rebuilt in 1796.
It is one of the biggest wooden buildings in eastern Japan, and is designated as a nationally important cultural property.
And this temple has many other cultural properties such as Buddha statues and pictures.
To visit this temple, about 1 km walk from Sakaori station of JR Chuo Line which is the next station of Kofu.
Street in Yumura onsen
Photo by Yamanashi Tourism Organization
Kôshu Yumekôji (甲州夢小路)
Koshu Yumekoji is a street with the image of traditional Kofu city.
It is located just east of Kofu station.
It was opened in 2013, and there are the restored bell tower in the 19th century and some shops for the souvenirs of Kofu and Yamanashi prefecture.
Yumura hot spring resort (湯村温泉)
Yumura Onsen is a hot spring resort located about 2.5 km northwest of JR Kofu station.
This hot spring resort was found in 808.
And it is said that Shingen Takeda had stayed here for hot spring cure for a month in 1511.
There are more than a dozen hotels and ryokans.
To visit here, about 10 minutes from Kofu station by route bus.
How to get here
By limited express of JR Chuo Line, from Shinjuku, about 1 hour and 30 to 40 minutes.