- This page describes a city in Yamanashi. For the township in Tottori, see Kofu (Tottori).
Coming from Tokyo on the Chuo Line, there are few express trains from Shinjuku to Kofu that continue on to Matsumoto. It is possible to take the journey by local trains at half the price and an extra hour of traveling. To do so, transfer at JR Takao. The Chuo Line takes Suica cards.
The Minobu Line runs from Kofu, through Minobu, to Fuji in Shizuoka. This is a quaint railway line, and it is single tracked in most places. Take a ticket from the machine when you board the train, and pay the driver when you get off. The Minobu Line acts as a local line in Kofu and has many stations within the city.
There are highway buses between Kofu and Shinjuku which on paper take two hours; this is shorter than the local train and challenges the express. In practice, however, traffic delays can lengthen this journey to over three hours. The advantage of the bus is that it is very cheap, costing only ¥2000 one-way which is around half of the price of the express train.
Kofu is very much a car driven city. The entire city is designed around the idea that everyone has a car with most shops being out of the city centre, by the side of dual carriageways.
It is possible to rent electric bikes at various hotels near Kofu station if you are only travelling short distances. It is only ¥500 for a full-day rental.
The mountains in the north side of the city contain some beautiful scenery and some wonderful views of the Kofu basin and Mt Fuji. In town, there are several tourist sites.
- 1 Takeda Shrine (武田神社), 2611 Kofuchumachi (Three kilometers north of Kofu Station.), ☏ , fax: . A shrine dedicated to Takeda Shingen, considered to be among the most powerful warlords during the Warring States Period. It was built where his own residence once stood. There is a small treasure house by the shrine's honden. Shrine grounds are free, treasure house ¥300.
- 2 Maizuru Castle Park (舞鶴城公園), 1 Marunouchi (Just SE of Kofu Station.), ☏ . Kofu Castle was largely demolished in the 19th century. Now it is more of a pretty park than a castle. The walls however remain impressive. Though it doesn't compare well to the great castles of Japan, it is certainly in better shape than Fukui Castle. Reconstruction works are ongoing, with parts of it being rebuilt according to traditional methods. There now exists a castle tower and a very impressive gatehouse (this being separate from the rest of the castle, north of Kofu Station). There are frequent talks of rebuilding the donjon.
- 3 Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art (山梨県立美術館), 1-4-27 Kugawa, ☏ , fax: . Daily 09:00-17:00. This museum has some interesting paintings including several by well known artists.
- 4 Yamanashi Chuo Bank Stadium (山梨中銀スタジアム), 840 Kosemachi (In Kose Sports Park, reachable by bus from the city center.), ☏ . Home of the local football team, Ventforet Kofu.
- 5 Shosenkyo Gorge, Takanaricho (In the north of the city. It takes an hour by bus from Kofu Station.). A famous scenic spot, especially in autumn. Walking between Nagatorobashi (長潭橋, bus stop and free parking) and Shosenkyokageenomori Museum (昇仙峡影絵の森美術館, bus stop and free parking 500 m further) makes for a pleasant and easy two-hours walk with nice waterfalls and huge rocks. Once you are there, you might as well take the ropeway (¥1200) to see more beautiful landscapes around.
- Bike the Arakawa or Fuefukigawa riverside cycling road.
- Pick fruit. Grapes or peaches depending on the season. Fields are scattered in the whole surburban area; ask a local tourist office for the nearest available ones.
- Make houtou noodles.
- Takeda Shingen Festival. The first Saturday in April. A big festival to celebrate the 16th century warlord. Usually a famous Japanese TV actor plays the part of Takeda Shingen himself.
Kofu is famous for grapes and wine.
- 1 Inden-Ya (印伝屋). Inden is the ancient Japanese practice of applying lacquer to deer leather. It appears in one of Japan's oldest texts, the Nihon-Shoki. During the Warring States Period, the local samurai warlord Takeda Shingen had his armor made with inden. This was the beginning of Koshu inden (Koshu is an alternative name for Kai Province, the old name of Yamanashi Prefecture). In addition to his armor, he also had Inden bags made, which were known for holding heavy weapons without giving out. Modern Koshu Inden features a variety of bags, purses, belts, and wallets among other things. They use the lacquer to create fashionable patterns but they still maintain the samurai durability.
Houtou soup (made with thick udon) and raw horse meat are the famous foods of Kofu. Soba and Torimotsuni (chicken livers/hearts/gizzards in thick sauce) are also famous.
Kofu has some pubs, many izakayas, and no clubs.
- 1 The Rink, 1-9-9 Marunouchi (near Kofu's own miniature scramble crossing), ☏ . A small, quiet pub.
- 2 Hops and Herbs (ホップスアンドハーブズ), Miyazawa Bldg 2F, 1-1-5 Chuo (Just off of Orion Street.), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 17:00-00:00, Sa Su 12:00-00:00. A microbrewery.
- 3 The Vault, Muto Bldg B1F, 1-21-7 Marunouchi (near the entrance to Orion Street near Okajima Department Store), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A foreigner pub. It is quite expensive and empty during weekdays but full on weekends.
- 4 JuJu, MK Bldg 7F, Chuo 1-1-17 (Near Orion Square.). A bar.
- 5 Music Box, Marunouchi 1-15-8 (Near Orion Square.), ☏ . A bar.
- 6 Club Goa, Ueda Bldg, 1-1-9 Marunouchi (Below The Rink.).
|Routes through Kofu|
|Suwa ← Kobuchizawa ←||W E||→ Otsuki → Tokyo|
|Nagoya ← Suwa ← Nagasaka ←||W E||→ Fuji Yoshida → Hachioji → Tokyo|
|Shiojiri ← Suwa ← Hokuto ←||W E||→ Otsuki → Hachioji → Tokyo|
|END ←||N S||→ Minobu → Fujinomiya → Shizuoka|
|Kumagaya ← Chichibu ←||N S||→ Fujikawa|
|END ←||W E||→ Koshu → Okutama → Hachioji|