Yatsugatake walk vol.7

a perfect guide of Yatsugatake area for tourists

Interview with Hokuto-city Mayor Eiko Watanabe
Full of treasures―Healthy and Happy Hokuto! (P.60)

“In this rich and livable natural environment, I will promote initiatives such as support for child-rearing and job security to realize ‘Furusato(Home town) Hokuto’, where the residents can lead healthy and happy lives.”
This is the “Full of treasures―Healthy and Happy Hokuto” declaration, which Hokuto-city Mayor Eiko Watanabe upheld in January 2018. From the many "treasures" we asked her about one she is putting her energy in, the appeal of the "sports" in Hokuto. .

“We have no sea in Hokuto-city, Yamanashi prefecture. However, we have a beach volleyball court on white sand in the woods. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?”, said Mayor Watanabe with a broad smile. The white sand is collected from Hakushu town in Hokuto-city, at the foot of Mt. Kai- Komagatake in the Minami Alps (Southern Alps).
“This is one way of using local production and local consumption. It is said that Hokuto-city has various attractive element for athletes. For instance, the level of air pressure experienced at an altitude of about 1,000 meters is the same as that of the pressure inside of a womb. Therefore, the air pressure can help you to relax and also, the environment with less oxygen is perfect for respiratory muscle training. You can find highland vegetables rich in minerals and eat delicious dishes here. The residents take pride in their hometown because of these charms. That is why these are definitely ‘treasures’”, she said proudly.

Hokuto-city Mayor Eiko Watanabe
She was born in Kobuchisawa-town, Hokuto-city. She was a teacher at elementary and junior high schools before starting to engage in farming at the age of 42. After being a member of the Nagasaka Town Council, and Hokuto municipal council, she assumed the position of mayor in November 2016.


Hakushu Gymnasium
Sand Volleyball Court
Selected as one of the pre-games training camps for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics!

Although Yamanashi is a landlocked prefecture, it has had its only Sand Volleyball Court for more than 20 years. It uses the high-quality white sand of Hakushu town formed by the granite of Mt. Kai-Komagatake. The city was chosen as a Tokyo 2020 pre-games training camp for the French beach volleyball team. “Our city was selected because of its accessibility to Tokyo and the relaxing, lush green environment. I would like to evoke a citywide effort to spread beach volleyball in the city and help to develop the players.

I have held the ‘Hokuto Mayor’s Cup’ since last year.” “The first Hokuto Mayor’s Cup” took place in November 2018, in which 28 teams, mainly from inside the city, participated. The second Mayor’s Cup was held on the 11th of June this year.


Izumi Swimming Pool
Swimming in the pure water region!

There is a heated pool in Oizumi town at the southern foot of Yatsugatake. Although you are not allowed to use a float ring here because it’s a pool for swimming, you can enjoy relaxed swimming in renowned water. This place is usually crowded with families with small children as there are a shallow pool and a pool for infants as well. “The city has organized water-walking classes and swimming classes to promote swimming among citizens. I think those events help them become healthier.”
When coming to the swimming pool, it is recommended that you take time to visit an adjacent children’s park and the Haruhiko Kindaichi memorial Library as well.


Yatsugatake Skating Center
The quality ice is worth boasting about!

As Mayor Watanabe reminisced about the good old days, saying “people used to skate on frozen rice fields and school playgrounds”, skating has been Hokuto city’s forte. It is said that fine ice particles of the rinks at “Yatsugatake Skating Center” help skaters improve their own records. The city has created opportunities for children to enjoy skating through events by the Japan Junior Sports Club Association and city-organized skating classes. Mayor Watanabe added, “I want tourists to skate on the rinks in the woods as well, while enjoying the clear air”