Yamanaka's Four Seasons
Kakusenkei Gorge
Yamanaka Onsen District
Area Around the Yamanaka Onsen District
The spring season in Japan is epitomized by cherry blossoms (sakura in Japanese). Yamanaka Onsen is home to a number of famous cherry blossom viewing sites, such as Sakura Park and Ioji Temple. Just outside of the central onsen district, you can see the rivers flowing out of the Wagatani Dam and Kutani Dam lined with the pale pink of cherry blossoms. These short-lived blossoms, which exemplify the beauty of nature in Japan, bloom from around late-April to early-May.
After the cherry blossom season ends, Kakusenkei Gorge suddenly becomes filled with a deep shade of summer green. The summer breeze blows gently along the path lining the gorge, accompanied by the cheerful babble of the river flowing below. Going back into town in the evening, you can hear the melodies of the Yamanaka-bushi, a local folk song, echoing through the streets as people dance and sing, reveling in the atmosphere of the festivals that so characterize Japanese summers.
Yamanaka Onsen's largest event, the Koikoi Festival, welcomes the coming of autumn. Trees start to shed their summer green for their autumn coats of red and yellow, and the foliage in Kakusenkei Gorge transforms into a soothing hue of warm autumn colors. Visitors flock to Kohrogi Bridge to take in the sights of the gorge, later returning to town to dine on the equally colorful and flavorful harvest of fresh seafood and vegetables available only in the autumn season.
From November to February, Yamanaka Onsen becomes quietly covered in a heavy blanket of snow. Kakusenkei Gorge turns into a pristine white while the town becomes enveloped by the steam rising from the hot springs. The winter silence swallows even the sound of the flowing river, adding to the mysterious atmosphere of this fantasy-like winter wonderland.