During Golden Week, a one-week holiday during the first week of May, I went on a two-day vacation to Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefecture. Surrounded by rich green mountains, beautiful lakes, and historical sites, these two days were relaxing and fun.
We rented a car and headed to the center of Yamanashi prefecture. It was a 2 hour drive from Tokyo to Koufu city. The city offered plenty of restaurants and shops, so we had the famous houtou noodles for lunch. It was a DIY style lunch, so you had to heat the pot, add your noodles in, and lastly dissolve the miso. Houtou noodles is a popular meal that the people of Yamanashi make at home with their families, so cooking it at the table made it feel like I was having the real, authentic experience of eating traditional houtou noodles like a local.
After lunch, we checked into a beautiful Japanese inn, or a ryokan, which was located high up a mountain. I felt isolated from Koufu city, of which I had a great view from the ryokan’s balcony, as it was so quiet and peaceful deep in and high up the mountain. The inn had a natural hot spring (onsen), a karaoke room, massage chairs, and a ping pong table. We could have stayed at the ryokan and used these recreation facilities, but we decided to explore the mountains, and so we headed off to Shosenkyo. Shosenkyo is a canyon, famous for its beautiful nature, and its magical scenery of red leaves during the fall. As we walked along the river, we saw waterfalls, and the big rocks that had fallen into the canyon years ago. The path is paved, so it was more of a walk than a hike.
We came back to the ryokan just in time for dinner. It was a course dinner, with traditional Japanese dishes. The main ingredients were seasonal food, so as to enjoy and appreciate the current season. The dinner was healthy and delicious, and was the best way to revitalize and end the day.