Kofu Yumura Onsen
Yumura Onsen is a hot spring resort in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture famous as the hidden hot springs of Takeda Shingen, a preeminent and prestigious warlord in the 16th century. Yumura Onsen appears in the drawings of Katsushika Hokusai, the world-famous ukiyo-e and printmaker artist from the Edo period (1603-1867). With its many Japanese-style hotels where great Japanese writers such as Dazai Osamu, Ibuse Masuji, and Matsumoto Seicho created classic works while staying there, Yumura Onsen continues to welcome and accommodate a great number of writers, haiku poets, painters, and calligraphers. The hot springs produces quality and mildly alkaline hot water at 1 ton per minute at an average temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. Much of the hot water in comes directly from the hot springs.There are several theories about the origin of this hot spring, the most widely of which concerns Kobo-Daishi, a.k.a. Kukai, the Japanese monk who established the Shingon sect of Buddhism. In 808, he arrived in Kofu from Shinshu (currently Nagano Prefecture) on his way back from the Tohoku (north-east) area and stopped at a nearby Yakuyoke Jizo (a stone statue to protect people against evils). He noticed a big rock in the middle of the road blocking in the way of travelers. When he moved the rock to the side of the road by uttering a magic word, hot spring water gushed out from where the rock had been.
Guests accommodated at the any of the nine facilities in the hot spring town receive a free “Yumeguri Tegata,” a voucher that allows you to enjoy the hot spring baths at the other facilities for only 500 yen per facility.
From Yumura Onsen, Takeda Shrine, formerly the house of Takeda Shingen, is only a 10-minute drive. Shosenkyo, known for the beauty of its valley and vibrant autumn leaves, can be reached by car within 20 minutes. Kai Zenko-ji Temple and Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art are also easily reached by car. Visitors can have fun picking fruit, such as strawberries and grapes. Hoto is a miso-based stew with thick wheat noodles, a known ration for Takeda Shingen in wartime, and with Torimotsuni, chicken giblets braised in a thick salty-sweet soy-based sauce.
The Shingen-ko festival celebrates the legacy of Takeda Shingen and is held in the area every spring (April 8 to 10 in 2011). Fu-Rin-Ka-Zan banners representing the philosophy Shingen adopted from Sun Tzu’s Art of War swirl in the background while 1,500 locals dressed as the troops in traditional armor costumes gather in front of Kofu Station. At nightfall, the troops take to the field with torchlights blazing and of the sound of conch shells being blown. In this area, the cherry trees begin blooming their glorious blossoms in early April. Come and stay at one of the hot spring hotels, and enjoy the nature, historical sites, and local events.