Hot-spring heaven and fruit-park paradise in Yamanashi's Koshu Valley

Hot-spring heaven and fruit-park paradise in Yamanashi's Koshu Valley

Yamanashi Prefecture's Koshu Valley and its surrounding areas are synonymous with fruit production. The region is also known for its alkaline hot springs. For the best of both worlds, head to Fuefukigawa Fruit Park area for open-air bathing, fantastic views, and various types of fruit-themed fun.

Fruits galore at Fuefukigawa Fruit Park

Grapes growing in a Koshu Valley vineyard

Grapes growing in a Koshu Valley vineyard

Fuefukigawa Fruit Park is less than 10 minutes by car from Yamanashishi Station and 20 minutes from Katsunuma's nexus of wineries. The park, which sits atop a hill covered in vineyards, boasts trees and shrubs teeming with peaches, pears, persimmons, and apricots. Locals say the area is particularly stunning in spring, when peach and cherry blossoms color the hillsides pink.

Once in the park, you'll find steamy tropical greenhouses, tiny stalls selling fresh fruits, a foot bath, and even a fruit museum. This child-friendly facility has playgrounds and indoor rest spaces, making it perfect for a family outing. After exploring the park, venture further uphill and unwind at a hot-spring retreat.

Hot springs with a fruity twist

An indoor bath at Fruit Spa Pukupuku

An indoor bath at Fruit Spa Pukupuku

Fruit Spa Pukupuku is an onsen (hot spring) facility perched on a plateau next to Fuefukigawa Fruit Park. Its open-air baths offer stunning panoramic views of the mountains that make up the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park and the Kofu Basin. You might even catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji in the distance if you visit on a clear day.

The city of Fuefuki as seen from Fruit Spa Pukupuku

The city of Fuefuki as seen from Fruit Spa Pukupuku

However, the night view from Fuefukigawa Fruit Park over the city of Fuefuki steals the show: Bathe in the glow of the star-studded sky as you watch the city lights glitter below. In 2003, the vista was selected as one of the New Three Major Night Views of Japan.

The exterior of Fruit Spa Pukupuku

The exterior of Fruit Spa Pukupuku

While most hot springs are characterized by the smell of sulfur, Pukupuku's are different. Seasonal fruits such as pineapple and pear float in the water, filling the air with sweet aromas. The bathing area is made up of six baths, each with a different temperature.

Elaborate stonework is a feature of Pukupuku's luxurious baths

Elaborate stonework is a feature of Pukupuku's luxurious baths

Rose quartz in the women's bath and lapis lazuli in the men's bath imbue the facility with a luxurious touch. "We get a lot of regular visitors, who come here both for the quality of the hot spring and the amazing views," a staff member explains.

Changing rooms at Pukupuku

Changing rooms at Pukupuku

The bathing areas in the recently built facility are modern and well-furnished—the changing rooms feature lockers, vanity tables, and vending machines. Pukupuku offers the use of towels and a variety of other amenities, so even if you visit empty-handed, you can still enjoy yourself.

Massage chairs soothe tired muscles

Massage chairs soothe tired muscles

The lounge at Pukupuku has a range of devices to help you unwind. Relax in a massage chair or try the facility's unique hot stone therapy—eye masks stuffed with warm stones. The gift shop sells a variety of rocks, crystals, and minerals that are said to have therapeutic effects.

Sample a range of local delicacies at Tenku restaurant

Enjoying the view from the terrace

Enjoying the view from the terrace

Once you've worked up an appetite after soaking in the hot springs, head to the on-site restaurant, Tenku. On clear days, the view from the terrace is spectacular, but if your visit coincides with inclement weather, you can relax indoors in the cozy tatami-mat room instead. The restaurant dishes up a variety of fare, including rice with wild plants, and regional specialties like hoto noodles. If you haven't had your fill of fruits yet, try their grape or peach juice.

Shingen soft cream

Shingen soft cream

To round things off, tuck into a bowl of shingen soft cream. Shingen mochi, a soft rice cake coated in soybean flour and brown-sugar syrup, is the quintessential Yamanashi confection. Pukupuku's shingen soft cream is a modern take on this traditional dessert, topped with marshmallows and wafers.

Pukupuku also offers an extensive range of souvenirs, including juicy peaches and other fresh, seasonal fruits. If you're looking for something with a longer shelf life, opt for fruit-infused treats such as peach-mousse pudding or blueberry juice.

Fruit Spa Pukupuku
2589-13 Daiku, Yamanashi-shi, Yamanashi
Business hours: 11 a.m.–11p.m. on weekdays; 10a.m.–11p.m. on weekends. Restaurant opens from 11 a.m. (last order 8:30 p.m.); closed 3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays.
Price per person: 880 yen for adults; 440 yen for children (tax included/free for children aged 3 and younger)
Notes: Face towels, bath towels, and gowns not included in prices shown above
Languages available: Japanese

Fruit Spa Pukupuku

Watch the sunrise at Hottarakashi Onsen

Hottarakashi Onsen is a great spot to watch the sunrise

Hottarakashi Onsen is a great spot to watch the sunrise

If you spend the night in Koshu Valley, it's worth making a trip to Hottarakashi Onsen the following day. This no-frills hot spring—a five-minute drive from Pukupuku—sits 700 meters above sea level and is all about the view. As it opens before daybreak, it's a popular place to watch the sunrise. The simple wood-and-stone construction of the baths further enhances the panorama.

Mt. Fuji as seen from Hottarakashi Onsen

Mt. Fuji as seen from Hottarakashi Onsen

Hottarakashi Onsen has two main baths: Kocchi no Yu and Acchi no Yu, literally "this bath" and "that bath." The hot spring water here is highly alkaline, and some believe it eases muscle and joint pains. The fantastic views more than compensate for Hottarakashi's modest amenities, and consequently, it's usually crowded on the weekends.

The entranceway to Kocchi no Yu

The entranceway to Kocchi no Yu

Hottarakashi Onsen
1669-18 Yatsubo, Yamanashi-shi, Yamanashi
Business hours: One hour before sunrise–10 p.m. (Reception closes at 9 p.m.) *Opens at 4 a.m. in June
Price per person: 800 yen for adults; 400 yen for children up to 12(tax included)
Notes: Above prices vary Kocchi no Yu and Acchi no Yu
Languages available: Japanese

Hottarakashi Onsen