Yamanashi Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese山梨県
 • RōmajiYamanashi-ken
Lake Kawaguchi, one of the Fuji Five Lakes in Yamanashi Prefecture, at the foot of Mount Fuji
Lake Kawaguchi, one of the Fuji Five Lakes in Yamanashi Prefecture, at the foot of Mount Fuji
Flag of Yamanashi Prefecture
Official logo of Yamanashi Prefecture
Anthem: One in All Great Planes on the Sky
Location of Yamanashi Prefecture
Country Japan
RegionChūbu (Kōshin'etsu) (Tōkai)
SubdivisionsDistricts: 5, Municipalities: 27
 • GovernorKotaro Nagasaki (from February 2019)
 • Total4,465.27 km2 (1,724.05 sq mi)
 • Rank32nd
Highest elevation3,778 m (12,395 ft)
 (January 1, 2019)
 • Total817,192
 • Rank41st
 • Density183/km2 (470/sq mi)
 • Dialects
ISO 3166 codeJP-19
Symbols of Japan
BirdUguisu (bush warbler)
FlowerFujizakura (Fuji cherry)
TreeKaede (Japanese maple)

Yamanashi Prefecture (山梨県, Yamanashi-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūbu region of Honshu.[1] Yamanashi Prefecture has a population of 817,192 (1 January 2019) and has a geographic area of 4,465 km2 (1,724 sq mi). Yamanashi Prefecture borders Saitama Prefecture to the northeast, Nagano Prefecture to the northwest, Shizuoka Prefecture to the southwest, Kanagawa Prefecture to the southeast, and Tokyo to the east.

Kōfu is the capital and largest city of Yamanashi Prefecture, with other major cities including Kai, Minamiarupusu, and Fuefuki.[2] Yamanashi Prefecture is one of only eight landlocked prefectures, and the majority of the population lives in the central Kōfu Basin surrounded by the Akaishi Mountains, with 27% of its total land area being designated as Natural Parks. Yamanashi Prefecture is home to many of the highest mountains in Japan, and Mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan and cultural icon of the country, is partially located in Yamanashi Prefecture on the border with Shizuoka Prefecture.

Mount Fuji from the Misaka Pass, Yamanashi
Mount Fuji from the Misaka Pass, Yamanashi


See also: Historic Sites of Yamanashi Prefecture

Pre-history to the 14th century

As in most other Japanese regions, prehistoric society in Yamanashi progressed through the hunting, fishing and gathering stage of the Jōmon period, then the rice-producing stage of the Yayoi period and subsequent village and regional formation. The Maruyama and Choshizuka Kofun (earthen burial mounds) located on Sone Hill of Nakamichi Town (Southern Kōfu) are believed to have been built from the end of the 4th century. From these remains it can be assumed that the people of Sone Hill had great influence.

During the Heian period, Kai Province was created in this area.[3]

15th to 19th centuries

Among the many Kaigenji generations, those of the Takeda, Ogasawara, and Nanbu families were particularly prosperous. During the Sengoku period of the 16th century, Takeda Shingen attained the status of daimyō and built Tsuzuji Mansion and the Yōgai Castle in Kōfu. From this base, he attempted to unify and control Japan.

After Takeda's death in 1582, Kai-no-Kuni came under the control of the Oda and Toyotomi clans before being subsumed into the Tokugawa shogunate during the Edo period. Beneath the Edo shogunate, the Kōfu clan (based in Kuninaka, or Central and Western Yamanashi) and the Yamura clan (based in Gunnai, or Eastern Yamanashi) were formed, but in 1724 the area came under the direct control of the Shogunate. With the development of the Kōshū Kaidō (highway) and Fuji River transport, goods, materials and culture flowed into the region.

By the mid-19th century, the contradictions of military government and clan system caused stability to erode and resistance to erupt across Japan, paving the way for the Meiji Restoration of 1868.

Meiji Restoration (1868) to end of World War II (1945)

Autumn at Senga Falls, North of Kōfu
Autumn at Senga Falls, North of Kōfu

During the Boshin War, the Battle of Kōshū-Katsunuma on the 29 March 1868 was a significant battle between pro-Imperial and Tokugawa shogunate forces immediately prior to the Imperial Forces march on Edo Castle. Preceding the Kōshū-Katsunuma battle, Kōfu Castle had been captured by troops loyal to the Emperor Meiji.

The province was renamed Kōfu Prefecture in 1869 and then Yamanashi Prefecture in 1871.[3] The anniversary of this event on November 20, 1872, is now celebrated as Prefectural Citizen's Day in Yamanashi.

In the early part of the Meiji period (1868–1911), industrial promotion policies furthered sericulture, silk textile production and wine making industries. In 1903, after seven years of construction, including the building of a nearly three mile long tunnel at the Sasago Pass, the Chūō Railway Line from Hachiōji and central Tokyo finally reached Kōfu. The reduced journey times to the capital and the port of Yokohama brought significant change to local industry and culture.[4]

Agricultural production in farming communities was still on a small scale at the turn of the century and land reforms had yet to be introduced. From the 1920s however, tenancy and contract disputes between landowners and farmers in Yamanashi grew increasingly common.[5]

In 1926, the Minobu Railway Line connecting Kōfu with Shizuoka Prefecture opened, bringing an end to Fuji River transportation. The Koumi Line connecting Kobuchizawa to Kiyosato was opened by Japanese National Railways (JNR) in 1933, providing access to hitherto remote highland areas on the slopes of Mt. Yatsugatake in the North of the prefecture.

1945 to present

Vineyards in Kōshū, Yamanashi
Vineyards in Kōshū, Yamanashi

The capital city, Kōfu, suffered extensive damage during a major air raid on the night of 6 July 1945.[6] From 1945 onwards, as part of economic initiatives introduced under the post war Government of Occupation, agricultural land reforms significantly increased the number of individual farms and promoted fruit farming and viticulture throughout the prefecture. At first with limited success in 1946, but on a much more sustained basis in 1951, dairy farming, introduced by American Paul Rusch, became a feature of highland pastures surrounding the town of Kiyosato.[7]

Small scale manufacturing industries and commerce grew at rapid speed during the expansion of the post-war Japanese economy. The 1982 opening of the Chūō Expressway also led to significant growth in service industries, transport logistics and tourism.

In common with many similar sized cities during the 1990s, rapid growth in car ownership, out of town shopping, and improved transportation links to Tokyo, caused a drop in commercial activity and land values in the center of the prefectural capital Kōfu. To counterbalance this trend the prefectural government launched a city center revitalization plan in 2008, promoting downtown tourist attractions such as redeveloped land North of Kōfu station, Maizuru Castle Park and new residential, cultural and government office facilities.

MLX01 maglev train at the Yamanashi test track
MLX01 maglev train at the Yamanashi test track

Planned changes in transportation infrastructure also promise to significantly impact the Yamanashi economy in the coming decades; under mountains in the eastern part of the prefecture is a completed 42.8 km section of the SCMaglev test track, a section of the planned Chūō Shinkansen.

The maglev line is designed to ultimately connect Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka with a station also planned to the South of Kōfu.[8]

Central Government permission to proceed with an extension to the existing test track was granted on May 27, 2011. At the end of 2013 construction was already well advanced as far as Fuefuki.

JR Central is considering opening a demonstration service from a new station in Kōfu by the 2020 Summer Olympics so that visitors can also ride on the experimental track through the Yamanashi mountains.[9]


Yamanashi Prefecture is bordered by Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture, Saitama Prefecture, Shizuoka Prefecture, and Nagano Prefecture. The prefecture is landlocked, with high mountains surrounding the central Kōfu Basin. Mount Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes region is located on the southern border with Shizuoka. Mount Fuji provides rain shadow effects, and as a result, the prefecture receives only about 818 mm of rainfall a year.

Prefectural Office
Prefectural Office
Map of Yamanashi Prefecture     City      Town      Village
Map of Yamanashi Prefecture
     City      Town      Village
Kōfu Basin, Kōfu City and view of Mt. Fuji
Kōfu Basin, Kōfu City and view of Mt. Fuji
Mount Kita, Yamanashi, Japan's Second Highest Peak
Mount Kita, Yamanashi, Japan's Second Highest Peak
Yatsugatake-Kogen Higashizawa Bridge near Kiyosato
Yatsugatake-Kogen Higashizawa Bridge near Kiyosato

As of April 1, 2012, 27% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Chichibu Tama Kai, Fuji-Hakone-Izu, and Minami Alps National Parks; Yatsugatake-Chūshin Kōgen Quasi-National Park; and Minami Alps Koma and Shibireko Prefectural Natural Parks.[10]

78% of the prefecture is covered by forests, making it one of the most densely wooded prefectures in Japan. Land cultivated for agriculture is mainly restricted to the lower elevations of the Kōfu basin.[11]


See also: List of cities in Yamanashi Prefecture by population

Thirteen cities are located in Yamanashi Prefecture:

Name Area (km2) Population Map
Rōmaji Kanji
Flag of Chuo Yamanashi.svg
中央市 31.69 30,835
Chuo in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Fuefuki Yamanashi.JPG
笛吹市 201.92 69,463
Fuefuki in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi.svg
富士吉田市 121.74 48,782
Fujiyoshida in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Hokuto, Yamanashi.svg
北杜市 602.48 46,888
Hokuto in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Kai, Yamanashi.svg
甲斐市 71.95 75,706
Kai in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Kofu, Yamanashi.svg
Kōfu (capital)
甲府市 212.47 187,985
Kofu in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Koshu, Yamanashi.svg
甲州市 264.11 31,526
Koshu in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Minami-Alps, Yamanashi.svg
南アルプス市 264.14 71,618
Minami-alps in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Nirasaki, Yamanashi.svg
韮崎市 143.69 29,483
Nirasaki in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Otsuki, Yamanashi.svg
大月市 280.25 23,976
Otsuki in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Tsuru, Yamanashi.svg
都留市 161.63 30,311
Tsuru in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Uenohara, Yamanashi.svg
上野原市 170.57 23,158
Uenohara in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Yamanashi, Yamanashi.svg
山梨市 289.8 34,738
Yamanashi in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg

Towns and villages

These are the towns and villages in each district:

Name Area (km2) Population District Type Map
Rōmaji Kanji
Flag of Doshi, Yamanashi.svg
道志村 79.57 1,676 Minamitsuru District Village
Doshi in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Fujikawa, Yamanashi.svg
富士川町 111.98 15,125 Minamikoma District Town
Fujikawa in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi.svg
富士河口湖町 158.4 26,540 Minamitsuru District Town
Fujikawaguchiko in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Hayakawa Yamanashi.JPG
早川町 369.86 994 Minamikoma District Town
Hayakawa in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Ichikawamisato, Yamanashi.svg
市川三郷町 75.18 15,799 Nishiyatsushiro District Town
Ichikawamisato in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Kosuge, Yamanashi.svg
小菅村 52.78 701 Kitatsuru District Village
Kosuge in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Minobu, Yananashi.svg
身延町 302 11,674 Minamikoma District Town
Minobu in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Nanbu, Yamanashi.svg
南部町 200.63 7,222 Minamikoma District Town
Nanbu in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Narusawa Yamanashi.JPG
鳴沢村 89.58 3,152 Minamitsuru District Village
Narusawa in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Nishikatsura, Yamanashi.svg
西桂町 15.22 4,298 Minamitsuru District Town
Nishikatsura in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Oshino, Yamanashi.svg
忍野村 25.05 9,710 Minamitsuru District Village
Oshino in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Showa, Yamanashi.svg
昭和町 9.08 20,338 Nakakoma District Town
Showa in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Tabayama Yamanashi.png
丹波山村 101.3 529 Kitatsuru District Village
Tabayama in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Yamanakako Yamanashi.JPG
山中湖村 52.81 5,826 Minamitsuru District Village
Yamanakako in Yamanashi Prefecture Ja.svg


Main article: List of mergers in Yamanashi Prefecture

List of governors of Yamanashi Prefecture

Name Start End
Katsuyasu Yoshie (吉江勝保) 12 April 1947 29 April 1951
Hisashi Amano (天野久) 30 April 1951 16 February 1967
Kunio Tanabe (田辺国男) 17 February 1967 16 February 1979
Komei Mochizuki (望月幸明) 17 February 1979 16 February 1991
Ken Amano (天野建) 17 February 1991 16 February 2003
Takahiko Yamamoto (山本栄彦) 17 February 2003 16 February 2007
Shōmei Yokouchi (横内 正明) 17 February 2007 16 February 2015
Hitoshi Goto (後藤 斎) 17 February 2015 16 February 2019
Kotaro Nagasaki (長崎幸太郎) 17 February 2019 Present


Yamanashi has a sizable industrial base in and around Kōfu city, with jewelry and robotics industries being particularly prominent. The headquarters of FANUC, manufacturer of factory automation systems, is based in Oshino in the south of the prefecture.[12]

The prefecture is also host to numerous fruit farms and vineyards. Yamanashi is one of the major fruit producing regions in Japan, being the top domestic producer of grapes, peaches, plums, as well as wine.

In addition, roughly 40% of the mineral water bottled in Japan comes from Yamanashi, mainly from around the Southern Alps, Mount Fuji, and Mitsutōge areas. The quality of the water sources in the Southern Alps prompted Suntory Group to open the Hakushu distillery in the northern Yamanashi town of Hokuto.


Yamanashi prefecture population pyramid in 2020
Yamanashi prefecture population pyramid in 2020

Per Japanese census data,[13][14] Yamanashi prefecture had negative population growth from 1950 to 1970 and again in the 21st century, with the population peaking at roughly 890,000 around the turn of the millenium.

Historical population
1920 583,000—    
1930 631,000+8.2%
1940 663,000+5.1%
1950 811,000+22.3%
1960 782,000−3.6%
1970 762,000−2.6%
1980 804,000+5.5%
1990 853,000+6.1%
2000 888,172+4.1%
2010 863,075−2.8%
2020 817,192−5.3%


Nishizawa Waterfall on the Fuefuki River, Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, Yamanashi
Nishizawa Waterfall on the Fuefuki River, Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, Yamanashi
Mount Fuji, Fuji Five Lakes region, Yamanashi
Mount Fuji, Fuji Five Lakes region, Yamanashi

The natural scenery and cultural sights of Yamanashi are popular destinations for both domestic and international tourists due to the prefecture's proximity to the crowded Tokyo conurbation and ease of access by road and rail. Mount Fuji, the Fuji Five Lakes region, the highland resort region of Kiyosato, the city of Kōfu, the Senga Falls, Koshu wineries, the temple of Erin-ji in Koshu, and the Kuonji Temple at Minobu are a few of the most popular places to visit.

The Fuji-Q Highland amusement park at Fujiyoshida with roller coasters Eejanaika, and Takabisha, the world's steepest roller coaster, is also a popular destination for day trips. It also features Do-Dodonpa, the world's fastest accelerating roller coaster. At one point, it was also the world's fastest roller coaster before Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster took the record in 2003.

The natural topography of the region makes Yamanashi popular with mountaineering, hiking and climbing enthusiasts throughout the year. The highest mountain in Japan, Mount Fuji, at 3,776 m (12,388 ft) and the second highest mountain in Japan, Mount Kita, at 3,193 m (10,476 ft) are both located within Yamanashi. The Mt. Fuji summer hiking season in July and August attracts thousands of overnight hikers typically starting at the Fifth Station in the late evening and climbing through the night to witness the sunrise at the summit.

Although not as tall, Mount Minobu, a popular place for Buddhist pilgrimage, offers extensive views from the summit of the mountain. Parts of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, and Minami Alps National Park are all located in Yamanashi.

Given the area's volcanic activity, natural hot springs, or onsens, are found in abundance. Some of the more well known are Shimobe Onsen, Isawa Onsen and Yamanami Onsen.

The mascot of the prefecture is Hishimaru (菱丸), a Kai Ken dog who is based on the local Sengoku-era daimyō Takeda Shingen. He wears a kabuto with the crest of the Takeda clan[15].

Major festivals

Lighting street torches at the Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Fire Festival
Lighting street torches at the Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Fire Festival



Yamanashi Chuo Bank Stadium in Kōfu.

Ventforet Kōfu, the J2 League association football (soccer) team is based in Kōfu. The team's home ground is the Yamanashi Chuo Bank Stadium.

Since 2005 the Fujizakura Country Club in Fujikawaguchiko has also hosted the Fujisankei Classic golf tournament, an annual event on the Japan Golf Tour.


JR Chuo Main Line SuperAzuza passing Yatsugatake, near Hokuto, Yamanashi
JR Chuo Main Line SuperAzuza passing Yatsugatake, near Hokuto, Yamanashi
Chuo Expressway, near Kai, Yamanashi
Chuo Expressway, near Kai, Yamanashi

Railway lines



National highways




Sister states and regions


  1. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Yamanashi-ken" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 1044, p. 1044, at Google Books; "Chūbu" in p. 126, p. 126, at Google Books
  2. ^ 甲府市; Introduction of Kofu City; retrieved 2011-07-13
  3. ^ a b Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" at p. 780, p. 780, at Google Books
  4. ^ Ericson, Steven (1996). The Sound of the Whistle: Railroads and the State in Meiji Japan. Harvard University Press. p. 46. ISBN 0-674-82167-X.
  5. ^ Smethurst, Andrew (1986). Agricultural Development and Tenancy Disputes in Japan, 1870-1940. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 367. ISBN 0-691-05468-1.
  6. ^ Ijiri, Toshiyuki (1991). Paul Rusch. Cincinnati, Ohio: Forward Movement Publications. p. 167.
  7. ^ Ishiguro, Kana (December 8, 2002). "There's cows in them there hills". Japan Times. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  8. ^ "中央新幹線(東京都・名古屋市間)計画段階環境配慮書の公表について" (PDF). Central Japan Railway Company. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  9. ^ "リニア山梨県駅、東京五輪前に 体験乗車に道 JR東海が検討". 日本経済新聞. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  10. ^ "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
  11. ^ "2008 Yamanashi Ken no Aramashi" (PDF). Yamanashi Prefecture. Yamanashi Prefectural Government. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  12. ^ "FANUC History". FANUC Europe Corporation. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
  13. ^ Yamanashi 1995-2020 population statistics
  14. ^ Yamanashi 1920-2000 population statistics
  15. ^ "Yamanashi Prefecture". nippon.com. 2023-04-13. Retrieved 2023-05-16.


35°37′N 138°37′E / 35.617°N 138.617°E / 35.617; 138.617