Minobu Town

Minobu Town

Revitalizing Japanese regional tourism


Restore your mind and body at an international bastion of prayer

Minobu, located in Yamanashi Prefecture, boasts a population of approximately 10,000 residents and is renowned for housing the Minobu-san Kuon-ji Temple, the primary temple of the Nichiren sect of Buddhism, which dates back to the Kamakura period (1185-1333). This temple holds significant stature as one of the three principal temples of Buddhism in Japan. Many surrounding temples, particularly Kuon-ji, have historically provided lodging, known as shukubo, for worshippers from across the nation.

However, in the 2000s, visitor numbers began to dwindle, causing a gradual decline in the vibrancy of both the town and its lodgings. Despite this trend, one particular shukubo has managed to capture the attention of foreign tourists: Kakurinbo, a shukubo with a storied history spanning 550 years. Proprietress Junko Higuchi began renovations approximately a decade ago, successfully attracting individual domestic visitors and foreign tourists beyond the traditional worshippers.

A bastion of prayer

At the dawn of the New Year of the Dragon in 2024, amidst the jubilant celebrations, tragedy struck with the Noto Earthquake. People from Japan and around the globe rallied in support, offering donations and assistance. Amid this crisis, High Priest Nikken, alongside dozens of monks from Kuon-ji Temple, commenced their daily ritual of chanting and reciting sutras, praying for restoration and peace. Additionally, they contributed relief funds to the affected regions. Minobu stands as a bastion of prayer for both the local populace and the global community. Moreover, it hosts World Heritage-listed temples and shrines, alongside a rich tapestry of historical and cultural landmarks, including traditional performing arts, the Guinness World Records-certified oldest onsen ryokan (located in Hayakawa), and the Southern Alps Ecological Village—a wildlife sanctuary inhabited by various fauna. Notably, its proximity to Mount Fuji, heralded as a spiritual sanctuary in recent years, garners international attention.

A center of culture and gastronomy

In recent years, Minobu Town has actively embraced the National Local Gastronomy Tourism Policy championed by the Japan Tourism Agency. Collaborative efforts between Minobu Town, Hayakawa Town, Fuji City, Kawaguchiko and other municipalities within Yamanashi Prefecture have invigorated local economies. Notably, the Local Gastronomy Tourism Commemorative Farm Tour saw collaboration among Minobu’s Kakurinbo, Hayakawa Town’s Healthy Misato, and the Yamanashi Tourism Promotion Organization. Participants hailing from Europe, France, Germany, Israel and North America (including California and Mexico) contributed to the event’s success.

During the tour, participants enjoyed a visit to Hagoromo Shiraito Falls, took part in Healthy Misato’s traditional bonfire festival, experienced Mogura Village and the traditional bee-keeping culture experience, explored Kuonji Temple’s Great Bell Tower and attended a seminar on the history of local gastronomy led by Ayame Osanai, representative of the Food Association.

A taiko drum team-building event was also held by local traditional performance group, Yuranza. The group, which features stage actor Ryo Yoshimi, Japanese traditional dancer Oriha Katou, and taiko drummer Shunichiro Kamiya has gained prominence in Japan and promotes the significance of Minobu on a more global scale. 
Yuranza official website: yuranza.com

Japan Travel Awards 2024

In recognition for her tourism promotion work, Junko Higuchi, proprietress of Minobu Kakurinbo, will be awarded the first prize in the National Tourism and Diversity Excellence Contest organized by the Japan Tourism Agency and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. The award ceremony for the Japan Travel Awards, now in its third year, will be held on 7 March 2024 and will be attended by the 2024 award winners and past winners as well as local government officials involved in tourism.

For the past few years, Metropolis Magazine has spotlighted Junko Higuchi, the representative of Kakurinbo, the largest Nichiren Shu temple in Minobu-cho, Yamanashi Prefecture. Higuchi and her temple have actively contributed to local tourism promotion projects for overseas visitors, making it a popular destination for inbound foreign tourists from around the globe. A few years ago, a freelance reporter from the prominent US newspaper, the Washington Post, visited the region. Their coverage led to an increase in visitors from Europe and the US. These efforts to boost local tourism have spurred a significant tourism development project by the Yamanashi Prefectural Government, which includes plans to construct a helipad in Minobu-cho.

Additionally, the area has been identified as a potential stop for day excursions for large ocean-going cruise ships docking at the nearby port of Shimizu in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Minobu-cho in Yamanashi Prefecture continues to be considered for day excursion tours for large ocean-going cruise ships calling at Shimizu Port in Shizuoka Prefecture. We are committed to furthering tourism promotion in the region through collaborative efforts with Metropolis Magazine and our sister travel website, Japan Travel, which is gaining popularity among inbound foreign travelers. We will persist in our endeavors to enhance tourism in the region through our joint initiatives with Metropolis Magazine and Japan Travel.

Website: http://www.kakurinbo.jp/

3955 Minobu, Minobu-cho, Minamikoma-gun, Yamanashi
Tel: 0556-62-0014
Fax: 0556-62-0045