• Human Shogi's photo

Human Shogi


Shogi entertainment where people are the pieces

Just as with chess, Indian chaturanga is the origin of the ancient Japanese board game of shogi. Over 90 percent of the unique, five-sided pieces used in shogi are produced in Tendou, Yamagata. Because of this, Tendou features a variety of shogi-themed events and museums. The biggest spectacle among these attractions is human shogi. People are selected as shogi pieces and moved about on a game board by professional shogi players, drawing over 50,000 spectators from across the country. This event is held every year at the end of April in the large plaza in Tendou Park.

  • Human Shogi's photo
  • Human Shogi's photo

Be transported back in time to the Warring States period of Japanese history in a cherry blossom park

The idea for human shogi is based on an actual samurai from the Warring States period, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. In connection with this, 40 of the Tendou human shogi pieces in armor appear on the board as samurai and infantrymen. Watching the pieces divided into two bands and fight is reminiscent of period dramas. This event, held at the end of April is just about the time when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Come enjoy the cherry blossoms and the human shogi tournament.

  • Human Shogi's photo
  • Human Shogi's photo
  • Human Shogi's photo

Enjoy a shogi-making experience at the hot springs

Since you’ve come all the way to Tendou, why not fully enjoy the world of shogi? If you want to learn about history, be sure to stop by the Tendou City Shogi Museum alongside Tendou Station. There you can see chaturanga pieces which are the roots of shogi, and a wide variety of shogi pieces from across the world. If you want to see actual shogi pieces being made, be sure to stop by a shop where you can view veteran shogi craftsmen plying their skills. In some of the shops you’ll find hands-on classes where you can engrave kanji into a shogi piece. Tendou is also famous for its hot springs, so be sure to take a break at one of the hot springs at the end of your day.

For reference

  • Address
    Shiroyama, Tendou-shi, Yamagata-ken
  • Telephone
    023-653-1680 (Tendou Cherry Blossom Festival Executive Committee)
  • Event schedule
    Two days every year at the end of April from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm
  • Price
    Tours are free of charge
  • Recommended season
    End of April


Shonai Airport is a one hour flight from Haneda Airport.
From the Shonai Airport, take the Shonai Bus to Sakata Station (40 min). From Sakata Station, take the JR Rikuu West Line to Shinjo Station (50 min). From there, transfer to the Yamagata Shinkansen and get off at Tendou Station (35 min). The area is a 20 minute walk from the station.


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