The Koshinetsu region that consists of three prefectures (Yamanashi, Nagano, and Niigata) is surrounded by bountiful nature like mountains, rivers, and the sea. Since it is easy to access from Tokyo or the Kanto region, it is a popular leisure destination for both Japanese and foreigners for resorts in the summer and winter activities like skiing during the winter. In Yamanashi Prefecture – known to house Japan’s highest summit, Mt. Fuji – one can enjoy a striking view of the Reversed Mt. Fuji that is visible from Lake Kawaguchiko (one of the Fuji Five Lakes), along with activities such as pleasure cruising or fishing. Blessed with a good climate, depending on the season, it is possible to go fruit picking for grapes, peaches, cherries, and other bountiful fruits. There are several thrill attractions such as the amusement park Fuji-Q Highland, which is recommended for those looking for excitement! In Nagano Prefecture – called the Rooftop of Japan – you can find Kamikochi at the center of the Japanese Alps (a mountain range with several 3,000m tall mountains) and enjoy some climbing or hiking. There are many must-see places, such as historical attractions like Matsumoto Castle (a national treasure), Zenkoji Temple, and Togakushi Shrine, as well as shopping areas like Karuizawa. There are onsens (hot springs) in each area, starting from Shirahone Hot Springs with its special milky white water to Jigokudani Hot Springs, a famous and unique place where you can see monkeys bathing. While there are lots of delicious foods like beef, vegetables, and sansai (mountain vegetables), you should definitely go out of your way to eat some soba (buckwheat noodles). In Japan, there are an incredible amount of people that think of soba when they think of Nagano Prefecture. In Niigata Prefecture – a prominent area for rice – you should taste the delicious rice, as well as their tanrei (Niigata Sake) and spicy sake! It is the only prefecture facing the Sea of Japan in the Koshinetsu region, so please enjoy the sake with some yummy seafood. Topographically, it is long in the north and south with heavy snowfall areas, mountainous regions, and even coastal areas, so one can enjoy nature, leisure activities, and dishes in every season. In the summer, Kashiwazaki, Nagaoka, and Katakai host firework festivals. There are also many events and winter sports available in the winter, so it is recommended to visit then as well. Recommended souvenirs include Koshu Wine (Yamanashi Prefecture), metal crafts such as knives from Tsubame-Sanjo (Niigata Prefecture), and sweets or jam that use apples (specialty product from Nagano Prefecture). There are sake brands not only in Niigata, but also in Nagano. Please visit the Koshinetsu region – a place where you can discover many things – at least once!
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