At first, you think that Kofu is a countryside and is far from the very bustling life you got used to in Sydney, but it is actually an enjoyable place to live if you are willing to explore and find things to make your own fun! These are a few things that can keep you occupied, though it is purely based on my personal experience, so I definitely encourage you to explore Kofu and Yamanashi.
I’m not kidding but I have been doing karaoke MORE OFTEN in Kofu than I did back in Sydney. Karaoke bars are WAY better than in Sydney for two main reasons; the people you go with will most likely be into karaoke than anyone in Australia and 飲み放題 (のみほうだい – all you can drink).
In Kofu, there are many karaoke bars you can go to. But these two are the ones I’ve been to.
a) カラオケスタジアム (Karaoke Stadium) – Used to be called Shidax, it is located on 山の手通り(Yamanote-dori), the same street as Ogino, which is about a half-hour walk from dorm.
b) カラオケBan Ban – Located close to the south exit of Kofu Station. You will need to take a lift for this.
In my situation, I went with at least 8 people. We just pay the free-time price and stay as long as we like (There is an option to stay for a few hours, but that’s no fun!).
Love shopping? Don’t worry! There are department stores in Yamanashi. Sure it’s not as big as the ones in Tokyo, but if you need something, you can easily find them.
Most closest department stores to get to is definitely Yamako and Celeo (formerly known as Eclan). Both are located in the vicinity of Kofu Station – so that will take roughly 30 minutes by foot from the Kaikan, or 10-15 minutes by bike.
There is a much bigger shopping complex, known as イオンモール(Aeon Mall). Think of it as Westfield back in Sydney. You will need to catch a bus though from Kofu Station. (Usually bus stop 1, but there are information boards where it guides you where the buses stop at). Takes about 30 minutes and cost 210 yen each way. It will take you directly to Aeon, so don’t worry about finding your way. In Aeon Mall, there is a cinema where you can watch Japanese or Hollywood movies in the original language.
L’aza Walk is also another big shopping complex close to Kofu. To get there, take a train and get off at 塩崎駅(Shiozaki Station).
温泉 – Hot Springs
A public bathhouse (indoor or indoor depending on where you go) where people bathe and relax. You will get naked in front of everyone and bathe (don’t fret, male and female baths are separate). Definitely a worthwhile experience to try out when you are in Japan, especially during cooler weather.
The best outdoor onsen is in the mountains, so it is advisable to go by car. There is also a small onsen not too far from the Kaikan. It’s 400 yen, and it provides shampoos at a fee if you didn’t bring your own.
Clubs and Bars
Even though the amount of clubs and bars are not as much as in Sydney, there are a few popular ones you can go to. Unfortunately, I hardly go to clubs and bars so you ask the Kofu residents for exact location. There is however a popular bar for both foreigners and Japanese people, known as The Vault, which is run by an Australian man. It’s about 5-10 minutes away from the south exit of Kofu Station.
Arcades and ANIME !!
If you are into arcades, anime and TCG, ココリ(Kokori) which is located near 甲府市役所 (Kofu City Hall), is a pretty good place. On the top floor, there are a few major spots:
- C-Labo – A shop for trading card games. While majority of the cards are from Yugioh, you can find shelves that are cards for other games such as Vanguard, Wixoss and even Duel Masters.
- らんしばん and animate – for all the anime and manga fanatics. They sell merchandises and even tickets for upcoming events. Prices for manga are indicated at the back.
- An electronic store that I rarely go to, but they sell phone cases and power banks.
- Arcade – Rhythm games are extremely popular in Japan and Kofu is no exception. There is 太鼓の達人 (Taiko no Tatsujin), Maimai, Groove Coaster, Jubeat, beatmania, and my personal favorite, Chunithm.
Will update this post as I do more leisure activities.