Every autumn the fifth-graders in our local public elementary school go on a shizen kyoushitsu “natural classroom” trip for 2 days and 1 night.
This year they went to Yatsugatake, which is a volcanic group of inactive volcanoes located on the border of Nagano Prefecture and Yamanashi Prefecture and is part of the Yatsugatake-Chūshin Kōgen Quasi-National Park. The volcanoes are stratovolcanoes that are 1 million to 200,000 years old and the mountains are made of mainly basalt and andesite. The Mt. Yatsugatake mountain range with its main peak Mt. Akadake (2,899m) and the 3,000m Southern Alps with the lofty Mt. Kitadake (3,192.6m) make a magnificent, powerful mountain view. Yatsu means “eight” and dake means “mountain”.
The children hiked to see panoramic mountain views, harvested rice, cooked their mass dinner, worked on some handicraft souvenir, went to the observatory and watched the night-sky for stars and constellations. If you are ever so lucky to get fair weather, you will get one of the most amazing of night-sky experiences in the Kanto area, which this class managed to get on their trip.
Follow the links below to find out more information about Yatsugatake below:
For activity information, see the Yatsugatake Area Resort page
For beautiful snowy views of Yatsugatake, see Yatsugatake (Japan Web Magazine)
For access information, go to Yatstugatake Area/ Yamanashi Travel Guide
Particularly useful information for planning your own field trip here: Welcome Yatsugatake like where all the best panoramic spots are.
Other important attractions/facilities:
KEEP Senryo lodge and campground and the Yatsugatake Nature Center that offers interactive exhibits about the flora and fauna of the Yatsugatake Highlands, the local culture and history of the Kiyosato area, and information about the hiking trails in the area. The Nature Center holds special events throughout the year, such as film screenings and lectures.
The foothills of Mount Yatsugatake were home to Jomon settlements and was consequently a major center of Jomon culture about 4500 years ago. The two museums below host a great deal of pottery and other cultural artefacts excavated from the area:
Idojiri Archeological Museum Fujimi machi, Nagano located southwest of the Yatsugatake. Watch a HD educational movie (jp) on Youtube about the growth of Jomon settlement ruins in the shadow of Yatsugatake.
17217-1611 Hara-mura, Suwa-gun, Nagano Pref., 391-0100
Hirayama Ikuo Silk Road Museum houses works by Hirayama Ikuo, 9,000 items collected over 35 years are sequentially displayed, giving visitors a taste of the culture of the Silk Road
The Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Archaeology was opened as a venue to view and study archaeological artifacts found in Yamanashi Prefecture. Here one can find earthenware and stoneware excavated from the Kai Choushi Tomb, a nationally designated historical landmark, the Uenodaira site, and the Maruyama Tomb. The museum itself stands amidst the burial mounds and other relics of Kai Fudoki-no-Oka Park.
Useful for field trip study materials may be found at the HP of the Yatsugatake Palaeolithic Research Group that conducts paleolithic research throughout Japan; the site includes descriptions of late paleolithic sites on the Yatsugatake plateau.