Kofu UFO Incident

February 1975
Katsuhiro Yamahata (left) and Masato Kono (right)
Katsuhiro Yamahata (left) and Masato Kono (right)

Two boys and their parents witnessed a UFO that landed in a vineyard, in Kofu City, Japan in 1975. The boys closely observed the craft for several minutes and encountered two unusual beings. UFOs were reported by other witnesses that were in the vicinity the evening this incident occurred.

The Kofu Incident holds the reputation of being Japan's most credible encounter with extraterrestrial beings. Multiple tangible pieces of evidence, including a UFO landing site, combined with the testimonies of numerous adult eyewitnesses, solidify its authenticity. Even after nearly 50 years since its occurrence, many UFO researchers and enthusiasts in Japan continue to visit and explore the vineyard near Hinode Danchi (Hinode Complex), where the Kofu Incident took place. This incident has become renowned and significant within the realm of Japanese UFO encounters, alongside the Kera Incident in 1972. However, beyond Japan, while there is awareness of the general outline of the Kofu Incident, the specific details remain relatively obscure.

On February 23, 1975, in Kofu City, Japan, two eight-year-old boys, Masato Kono and Katsuhiro Yamahata, were playing on roller skates near Kamicho housing complex. They noticed two shining orange objects in the sky above Mt. Tatsuzawa. The objects approached them, hovering above their heads. The boys described a circular UFO with three spinning devices beneath and a black tubular object extending downwards, emitting clattering noises. Terrified, they fled to a nearby cemetery and hid behind tombstones. The larger UFO flew northeast while the smaller one headed towards a vineyard. Finally safe, they headed towards Masato's house.

Map showing the route of Katsuhiro Yamahata and Masato Kono
Map showing the route of Katsuhiro Yamahata and Masato Kono

As Masato and Katsuhiro reached the road near Hinode Complex, they spotted a bright red flame in the distance. Intrigued, they hurried towards it. They followed a dirt road that led to the fallow vineyards. The boys could see a flickering red light within the vineyard, but as they approached, it quickly transformed into a pale light and revealed a silver UFO that had landed. Overcoming their fear, they approached the UFO, describing its round dome shape atop an inverted flat plate. The dome had shining blue square windows, and the UFO's surface resembled glowing silver stainless steel. It was about the size of a regular car, approximately 2.5 meters in diameter and 1.5 meters in height. The upper dome rotated but eventually stopped, while sand flew up in the stillness of the area. For about five minutes, the boys meticulously observed the UFO, noticing strange raised characters resembling hieroglyphics on its surface. One side had five characters, which they interpreted as "flying saucer." The other side had similar characters, but their exact shape remained unknown. Masato also discovered three semicircular spherical landing gears at the bottom. Suddenly, a door above the characters opened downward, revealing a staircase leading inside the UFO. Masato glimpsed a dimly lit interior filled with machinery and flashing red, blue, and green lights.

Drawing of the extraterrestrial being witnessed by Katsuhiro Yamahata and Masato Kono
Drawing of the extraterrestrial being witnessed by Katsuhiro Yamahata and Masato Kono

Masato peered into the UFO and was shocked to see a small, eerie-faced creature standing inside. The creature measured around 130 to 135 centimeters tall (4.3 to 4.4 feet), with a disproportionately large head and shoulders. Its brown, bald head lacked eyes and a nose, resembling a mask. The face undulated with deep black wrinkles and featured three silver fang-like teeth where a mouth should be. The four-fingered hands and shoes with two divided toes. The creature wore a silver suit connected to the mask and carried a trumpet-like gun over its shoulder. It had long, rabbit-like ears and bow legs. Despite its approach, Masato sensed an overwhelming dread.

Katsuhiro, positioned on the other side of the UFO, heard a clattering sound near Masato. Curious, he circled the UFO towards the noise. Suddenly, someone tapped him on the shoulder twice from behind. Expecting Masato, Katsuhiro turned around and came face-to-face with the same being that Masato had encountered. The creature held what resembled a gun in its right hand and tapped Katsuhiro's left shoulder with its left hand. Katsuhiro felt four fingers touching his shoulder. The creature emitted a squeaky voice, reminiscent of a cassette tape playing at high speed. During a later interview, Masato revealed that the alien did not speak Japanese. Although the being communicated with the boys, they couldn't understand its message. They speculated that the being might have greeted them with a hello.

Drawing of the UFO observed by Katsuhiro Yamahata and Masato Kono
Drawing of the UFO observed by Katsuhiro Yamahata and Masato Kono

Katsuhiro, overcome with fear, collapsed to the ground when he saw the creature. Realizing the danger, he feigned death while keeping his eyes slightly open to observe. The creature briskly moved around, seemingly observing its surroundings. Masato arrived, and while the being's attention was elsewhere, he helped Katsuhiro up and urged him to flee. Katsuhiro, paralyzed with fear, climbed onto Masato's back. They ran out of the vineyard together. Reaching the end, they turned back to see inside the open door of the UFO. Another being sat in a chair, operating a machine and monitoring a TV-like screen. This creature resembled the previous one but was slightly shorter with long arms. Complex instruments covered the wall behind it. Unable to see through the windows, the boys watched for about three minutes, resisting the urge to escape. Suddenly, the creature in the chair noticed them, causing panic to surge, and they fled. Without looking back, Masato and Katsuhiro raced to Masato's house.

While having dinner together at Masato's house, Masato's and Katsuhiro's families grew concerned as the boys hadn't returned home. Suddenly, the boys burst into the house shouting about a UFO they had seen. Trying to explain their experience, their excitement made it hard for them to speak clearly. Initially, Masato's mother scolded them, suspecting it was an excuse for being late. However, the boys insisted and urged their mothers to go outside. Surprised by their earnestness, the mothers reluctantly followed. Outside, they reached a road near the vineyard and saw an orange object spinning in the distance. The mothers initially thought it could be lights from a nearby house, but the object appeared to float and its orange light pulsated. They observed cautiously from a distance, behind a telephone pole, for several minutes, gradually realizing their children were right about the UFO sighting.

Katsuhiro Yamahata and Masato Kono retrace their route through the cemetary
Katsuhiro Yamahata and Masato Kono retrace their route through the cemetary

Masato's mother, Masako Kono, witnessed a flickering light that appeared in a 5 to 10-second cycle. Both Masako and Katsuhiro's mother, Hanae, were surprised by the sight. They noted that the object seemed to be floating low in the air, without any nearby houses or neon lights to confuse it with. Despite their curiosity, the children prevented them from approaching the object. Masako expressed fear and hesitation in an interview, describing the pulsating light as resembling "beautiful fireworks." The mysterious object continued for about five minutes, gradually fading until it vanished suddenly in the same position.

Katsuhiro's mother, Hanae Yamahata, recalled the moment when Masato and Katsuhiro urgently informed them about the sighting. Trusting their seriousness, Hanae and Masako, Masato's mother, followed the boys to the vineyard. There, they witnessed an astonishing sight—a spinning and glowing object that appeared to float above the ground, with its light fluctuating in a cyclical pattern of about five to ten seconds. Convinced by their children's account, Hanae hurried back to inform her husband and Masato's father. The fathers quickly arrived at the vineyard with makeshift weapons, but the fading light vanished into the darkness before they could approach. Although the mothers believed in the UFO sighting, the fathers, including Toshiro Kono, Masato's father, remained skeptical, as they found no trace of the UFO when they later searched the landing spot in the dark.

Katsuhiro Yamahata and Masato Kono mark the location where the UFO landed
Katsuhiro Yamahata and Masato Kono mark the location where the UFO landed

The day after the incident, Masato and Katsuhiro shared their encounter with their classmates at Yamashiro Elementary School, drawing portraits of the creatures and the UFO. The news spread throughout the school, causing a stir among students. Their homeroom teacher, Miyoshi Ueda, listened to their detailed account and discussed it with other teachers. Curious, Miyoshi accompanied the boys to the vineyard during lunch break for a field investigation. In the vineyard, the boys pointed out a depression they believed to be the UFO's landing gear. They also noticed damaged concrete pillars and loose wires, which they claimed were caused by the UFO. Initially, the teachers thought it might be a prank, but the boys spoke sincerely, convincing them that something unusual had occurred. The teachers then informed a reporter from the Yamanashi Nichinichi Shimbun about the incident through the school principal. With the newspaper's assistance, a thorough field survey was conducted, revealing broken concrete pillars, severe damage, and spread wire netting, suggesting a heavy object had been present at the site.

A month after the Kofu Incident, writer and researcher Hiroshi Minamiyama joined Masato and Katsuhiro to investigate the vineyard where the UFO was said to have landed. The vineyard was filled with concrete pillars supporting the vines, and wires were stretched across them in a mesh-like pattern. According to Minamiyama's research, the pillars had an average height of about 170 centimeters (5.6 feet) with a spacing of approximately 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) between them. Drawing on the ground, the boys provided an approximate size of the UFO they witnessed. The drawings suggested a diameter of 4.8 to just over 5 meters (15.7 to 16.4 feet) for the UFO.

Other notable observations from that evening include:

  • Midori Sato — An insurance saleswoman, Mrs. Sato encountered unusual beings while driving home around 5:30 PM. Soon after, she encountered a group of men, women and children that asked, "Did you see a UFO?"
  • Kimio Atsushiba — 34 years old at the time, Mr. Atsushiba was a janitor at the environmental center located approximately 760 yards from the vineyards. He reported that around 6:30 PM he saw a yellow, luminous object moving slowly with a tail of light trailing behind it.
  • Ichiro Minegishi — A second grader that attended the same elementary school as Masato and Katsuhiro, Ichiro saw a blue and white luminous body moving back and forth in the night sky about one kilometer north of the landing site.
  • Genshin Saito — A chief priest of Jokoji Temple, Genshin Saito observed a blue and white luminous object flying in a zigzag pattern to the south of the temple around 7:00 PM.


RINAMARU (February 2021) Dai Ikkai "Koufu Jiken no Kankeisha!? Rinamaru Toujou no Maki [Kyuru Kyuru Radio]" (Episode 1: A person related to the Kofu Incident! Rinamaru's Debut [Kyurkyur Radio]), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhxpX73kjOY&t=1234s
Tsuneo Kira (August 2020) 1975 nen "Koufu Jiken" Genba ni Nokosareta Houshasei Bussitu to "UFO no Genshiro" no Nazo (The Mystery of the Radioactive Material Left at the Site of the 1975 Kofu Incident and the "UFO Reactor"). MU web, https://web-mu.jp/paranormal/10437/
Miyabi, (November 8, 2015), Kofu Incident, UFO Jikenbo (UFO Case Files), http://ufojikenbo.blogspot.com/2015/11/koufu.html
Kofu Incident: A Creepy Alien Got off a UFO to a Vineyard and Tapped a Japanese Boy on the Shoulder in 1975 (August 15, 2021), https://otakupapa.net/en/kofu_incident1/

Official Explanation

Aircraft, meteor, sunset, or bonfire.

Counter Argument

This was an extraterrestrial encounter.


Multiple eyewitness accounts, damaged property, higher levels of radiation.

Incident Map


A selection of most relevant photos related to the Kofu UFO Incident.

Your Favorites (Anonymous, )