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Featured Destinations

Yamagata

Days needed: 1–3
Approximately 2 hours 40 minutes from Tokyo on the Yamagata Shinkansen

Located in the Tohoku Region of northeastern Japan, Yamagata has an abundance of natural beauty and is well known for agricultural products such as rice and cherries. The prefecture is also known for its ubiquitous hot springs, a source of pride for each town and village. When visiting Tohoku in the nineteenth century, English travel writer Isabella Bird described it as "an Asiatic Arcadia" (an unspoiled, harmonious wilderness), and Edwin Reischauer, US Ambassador to Japan in the 1960s, is said to have referred to Yamagata as "the other Japan – the other side of the mountain." The natural beauty from those times, as well as the down-to-earth kindness of the people remain in Yamagata to this day.

Shinkansen

Travelling route image

Last Updated: 2021-8-26

Travel for less to Yamagata by using a pass

JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)

5 days of unlimited travel for ¥20,000
* Foreigners living in Japan can also purchase a JR EAST PASS!

Recommended Sights

Click the icon below to see a picture of the area.

Map of Yamagata

Location of Yamagata

Picture of the Sankyo Storehouses

The Sankyo Storehouses

The Sankyo Storehouses
Standing alongside a row of Japanese zelkovas are 12 storehouses. They are more than a century old but are still used for storing grain. A museum/gift shop is located on the premises, as is a Shonai historical archive.
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Picture of Mogami River Boat Ride

Mogami River Boat Ride

Mogami River Boat Ride
This attraction is available all year round. Listen to some traditional river songs while enjoying the spectacular scenery of the downstream area.
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Picture of Mount Haguro

Mount Haguro

Mount Haguro
A holy land for mountain worshippers, Mount Haguro is the front gateway to the Three Mountains of Dewa.
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Picture of the Uesugi-Jinja Shrine

Uesugi-Jinja Shrine

Uesugi-Jinja Shrine
This is where Uesugi Kenshin, warlord of the Warring States Period and founder of the Yonezawa Uesugi clan, is enshrined. After being burned down in 1919, the shrine was rebuilt.
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Picture of Zao Onsen

Zao Onsen

Zao Onsen
Located on the mountainside of Zao Peaks, this hot spring features highland spring water approximately 800 meters above sea level. Boasting one of the largest skiing areas in the country, Yamagata Zao Onsen Ski Resort is also located here. Whether you want to visit the Zao Highlands or the crater, or get out a bit more and go to Yamadera Temple, Zao Onsen is an excellent sightseeing base.
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Picture of Ginzan Onsen

Ginzan Onsen

Ginzan Onsen
This attractive hot spring town recalls to mind an era of times past.
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Picture of Yamadera Rissyakuji

Yamadera Temple

Yamadera Temple
Literally meaning "mountain temple," Yamadera is located at the top of a mountain with incredible views. An ancient structure, it is considered to be representative of the older temples in Tohoku.
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Picture of Zao Peaks

Zao Peaks

Zao Peaks
This mountain peak straddles the border between Yamagata and Miyagi Prefectures. Its many natural points of interest include Crater Lake at the top of Mt. Katta and the alpine plants that grow in profusion in the Zao Natural Botanical Garden.
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Picture of Zao

Zao

Zao

Zao is one of the few places in Japan where you can see snow monsters (ice trees) and is an extremely popular destination for Japanese tourists as well. We recommend enjoying some winter sports here, such as skiing.

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Yamagata Model Sightseeing Course

* The images, maps, and schedules are for reference purposes only. For the latest updates on the services and other information, please refer to the websites of each facility.

Yamagata: Retro Ginzan Onsen hot spring and the castle town of a good governor 2 Days 1 Night 

Stay at the popular Ginzan Onsen hot spring, where you can immerse yourself in the atmosphere of a retro Taisho era hot spring town. In addition, enjoy a laid-back journey treading in the haiku poet, Basho's footsteps in Obanazawa and Uesugi Yozan's castle town, Yonezawa. (*Haiku= a traditional form of Japanese poem)

2 Days 1 Night Model Course

First Day
9:30Take the Yamagata Shinkansen from Tōkyō Station.
12:30Arrive at Ōishida Station1and enjoy lunch.
14:00Take the Hanagasa bus2to Ginzan Onsen.
15:002Arrive at Ginzan Onsen and stay for a night.
Take a stroll around Ginzan Onsen.
Second Day
10:30Take the Hanagasa bus to Ōishida Station.
11:30Take the Yamagata Shinkansen from Ōishida Station.
12:30Arrive at Yonezawa Station.3and enjoy lunch.
13:30Take a Yonezawa community bus or taxi4to the castle town area (Uesugi-Jinja Shrine).
15:00Take a Yonezawa community bus or taxi to Yonezawa Station.
16:00Arrive at Yonezawa Station.

Route Map

A Map of Yamagata Model Sightseeing Course

Yamagata: Tread in the footsteps of Basho, a haiku poet, at Yamadera and enjoy the majestic Zao area2 Days 1 Night

Enjoy the spectacular view of Yamadera. Indulge in the Zao Onsen hot springs. View the magnificent scenery from the Okama Observatory in the summer and discover the snow monsters in the winter.

2 Days 1 Night Model Course

First Day
9:30Take the Yamagata Shinkansen from Tōkyō Station.
12:001Arrive at Yamadera Station and enjoy lunch.
13:001Go around the Yamadera worship course.
15:001Yamadera Basho Museum
17:00Take the Senzan Line from Yamadera Station to Yamagata Station.
17:30Depart Yamagata Station by the Yamako Bus.
18:302Arrive at Zao Onsen Bus Terminal Station and check in at the inn. 
Second Day
10:00Take the Yamako Bus from the Zao Onsen Bus Terminal.
11:00After arriving at Zao Katta Sancho bus stop, 3go to Okama Observatory.
13:00Take the Yamako Bus from Zao Katta Sancho bus stop to Yamagata Station.
14:30Arrive at Yamagata Station.

Route Map

A Map of Yamagata Model Sightseeing Course

Travel for less to Yamagata by using a pass

JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)

5 days of unlimited travel for ¥20,000
* Foreigners living in Japan can also purchase a JR EAST PASS!

Local Cuisine

  • Picture of Yonezawa beef

    Yonezawa beef
    Counted as one of the three great regions for producing wagyu, Yamagata produces Yonezawa beef, a sublime way to enjoy steak, sukiyaki, beef pickled with miso and sake lees, stew or any other beef dish.
  • Picture of cherries

    Cherries
    Producing 70 percent of Japan's cherries, Yamagata is truly a "cherry paradise." To eat a freshly picked cherry in the great outdoors of Yamagata is a sublime pleasure.
  • Picture of Tsuyahime, a local rice brand

    Tsuyahime, a local rice brand
    Developed in Yamagata Prefecture, this brand of rice debuted in 2010. Characteristics of Tsuyahime include large, prominent grains, a beautiful white shine, excellent flavor, a pleasant smell and glutinousness (stickiness), also a desirable trait in white rice. It can be enjoyed in restaurants and inns throughout the prefecture.

Take a train through Yamagata and see the Tohoku region

JOYFUL TRAINS
乗ることそのものを楽しめる列車です。食と景観を楽しむ「海里」を紹介します。

Route map of Yamagata

KAIRI: Between Niigata and Sakata (Yamagata) Stations

Enjoy Niigata and Shonai cuisine and the beautiful vistas

The KAIRI ("marine village") train was designed around the concepts of Niigata and Shonai cuisine and the beautiful vistas of the Sea of Japan.
Experience the charms of the region through the foods served aboard the KAIRI.
Enjoy the beautiful vistas of the Sea of Japan and indulge in a luxurious travel experience.

Travel for less to Yamagata by using a pass

JR EAST PASS (Tohoku area)

5 days of unlimited travel for ¥20,000
* Foreigners living in Japan can also purchase a JR EAST PASS!

JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass

Enjoy Hokkaido (Sapporo and Hakodate) as well! 6 days of unlimited travel for ¥27,000

JR Group Contract Ryokan & Hotel Association

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