Yamagata prefecture, which is situated on the west-most part of Tohoku region, has, since long ago, been an important marine transportation spot with developed Japan Sea routes. It has many cities with long history like Yamagata, Shinjo, Tsuruoka and Yonezawa, so naturally there are many historical temples and shrines including Risshaku-ji Temple and Kaminoyama Castle, in addition to quite a number of traditional arts and crafts represented by lacquer ware and die cast.
It is blessed with natural scenic points: Mogami-gawa River, which forms the vast Shonai Plain at its lower part and then flows into the Japan Sea; Zao Mountan Range, which was an object of mountain beliefs/worship; and mountains like Dewa Sanzan Mountains and Mt. Chokai. The total area of natural parks including Bandai Asahi National Park and Zao, Choukai and Kurigoma Quasi-National Parks reach 17% of all Yamagata land area.
Yamagata has more than 100 hot springs. It also hosts many events such as Yamagata City’s Hanagasa-matsuri Festival and Tendo City’s human shogi, or chess. Yamagata is attractive also because of its tasty specialties: rice farmed on Shonai Plain, locally brewed sake and wine nurtured by clear air and water, soba, fruits like cherries, grapes, and Shonai persimmons, and fresh seafood such as cods and oysters. In Yamagata, you can also enjoy sports like paragliding and skiing, and outdoor recreations such as trekking.
Getting to Yamagata
About 55 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Yamagata Airport. About 1 hour 20 minutes from Kansai International Airport to Yamagata Airport. About 40 minutes from Yamagata Airport to Yamagata Station by bus. About 2 hours 30 minutes from Tokyo Station to Yamagata Station by JR Yamagata Shinkansen Line.