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YAMAGATA

There is an area north of Tokyo called the Tohoku region. This area is known for its culture of preserved foods cultivated out of necessity by its steep mountains and hard winters, the hot springs bubbling forth from every corner, its custom of adoring the short springs and summers, and living alongside nature. Situated in the Tohoku region, Yamagata gets its namesake (“mountain shaped”) from its beautiful surrounding mountains that are counted among the list of 100 Famous Japanese Mountains. The center of Yamagata is graced by the Mogami River, making for prosperous rice cultivation and farming.

If you’re thinking of coming to Yamagata for sightseeing, why not start off by choosing a mountain to visit? From ancient times Japan has revered mountains as sacred places, believing them to be the dwelling places of the gods. There is the Zao range famous for its ice-covered trees, and Mount Haguro, which is well-known as a place for Buddhist training. Encounter the beautiful scenery of mountains and rivers interweaving the environs of the Mogami Gorge. Coming down from the mountains you will find hot springs and local cuisine waiting for you. The people of Tohoku are a bit shy, but warm and hospitable. Come and enjoy friendly contact with others and feel the fusion of nature and culture.

    • Spring: 5℃ to 16℃
      Human shogi, dishes with wild vegetables, Yamagata Flower Corridor, field mustard flowerbeds of Mount Gassan
    • Summer: 19℃ to 30℃
      Cherries, Hanagasa Festival, fireworks displays
    • Autumn: 3℃ to 12℃
      Stewed potatoes, Shonai persimmons, grapes, new soba crops
    • Winter: −3℃ to 5℃
      Ice Tree Festival, hot springs, skiing
    • Yamagata
      This is the center of Yamagata prefecture. In this area you’ll find the highly populated towns of Tendou and Sagae. This is a great starting place for sightseeing in Yamagata.
    • Zao
      The Zao mountain range is notable for its dynamic nature. In particular, the ice-covered trees in winter are famous the world over, and it is a bustling mecca to skiers and snowboarders.
    • Yonezawa
      This is a castle town located in the southern part of Yamagata. This town also marks the end of the Mogami River. This area offers the opportunity for a gourmet trip where you can enjoy Yonezawa beef and local wineries.
    • Shonai
      In the vicinity of the Shonai Plain which faces the Sea of Japan, you’ll find the famous sacred Three Mountains of Dewa, and the Sakata area, made prosperous by its cargo ships that sailed the Sea of Japan during the Edo and Meiji periods.
    • Mogami Gorge
      This is the upper reaches of the Mogami River. Its swift current makes it a popular spot for downstream boating. Just a little bit further you’ll find the popular, retro Ginzan and Hijiori hot spring towns in the gorge.
    • By car
      Yamagata boasts one of the largest areas out of all the prefectures in Japan. It is over four times larger than Tokyo. Because of this, we recommend taking the time to enjoy the Japanese scenery by car. Travel by car should be avoided in winter due to heavy snowfall.
    • By bus
      In addition to shuttle buses from the airport, there are buses that connect major stations to hot spring areas, making Yamagata a convenient area to see by bus. Stop by the tourist information booths for details.
    • By train
      The main lines for Yamagata are the JR Yamagata Shinkansen that runs north-south, and the Rikuu Line that runs east-west. When traveling from the Shonai Airport to the southern part of Yamagata, you will need to use both lines. The JR Yamagata Shinkansen also connects to Tokyo Station.
    • By airplane
      There are two airports in Yamagata, the Shonai Airport facing the Sea of Japan in the north, and the Yamagata Airport near central Yamagata. Both locations are a one hour flight from Haneda Airport.
    • Shonai Airport is a one hour flight from Haneda Airport.
  • Yama-dera
    Yama-dera

    Yamagata

  • Zao
    Zao

    Zao

  • Mount Haguro
    Mount Haguro

    Three Mountains of Dewa

  • Ginzan Hot Springs
    Ginzan Hot Springs

    Ginzan Hot Springs

  • Mogami Gorge Basho Line Tour
    Mogami Gorge Basho Line Tour

    Mogami

  • Yonezawa Beef
    Yonezawa Beef

    Yonezawa

  • Human Shogi
    Human Shogi

    Tendou

  • Potato Stew
    Potato Stew

    Yamagata

  • Shonai Airport
    Shonai Airport

    Shonai