Yamadera

Yamagata

Regions of Yamagata

Yamagata Prefecture

Nestled between the sea of Japan and saddled against the Zao Mountains, when most Japanese people think of Yamagata, cherries are the first thing that comes to mind. While Yamagata is of course blessed by a bounty of delicious agricultural products such as La France Pears, Yonezawa Beef, dadacha-mame beans, rice, and of course, Yamagata Sake, Yamagata is so much more.

Divided into four distinct regions, Yamagata boasts unspoiled nature and a rich traditional folk culture that has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries.

While Yamagata may be considered off the beaten path by many, for those who are willing to make the journey north and chose the road less traveled, Yamagata is the perfect destination for those who love nature, enjoy farm-to-table food, and want to immerse themselves deeply in traditional Japanese culture among locals.

Top Destinations in
Yamagata

Yamagata City

The capital and center of Yamagata Prefecture, not only is this retro city home to Yamadera, Kajo Park, and the Bunshokan, but it also makes an excellent base for day trips all over the prefecture.

Located scenically in a verdant mountain basin, Yamagata City is characterized by a funky fusion of pop city life while still taking on local flavor as it sits on the precipice of the quiet rural Japanese countryside.

Bordered by mountains, farms, and rice fields, Yamagata City is a culinary hub for foodies who can be assured that not only is the meal on their table going to be made with the highest quality ingredients, but it’s going to be beyond delicious as well!

Kaminoyama

Kaminoyama is a historical hot spring town with Yamagata’s only fully standing remaining castle. During the Edo period, samurai and travelers from all over Japan would stop in this country town to rest their weary muscles in this relaxing town’s healing onsen hot springs.

Kaminoyama is also famous for its sweet fruit and unspoiled nature. Resting just at the foot of the Zao Mountains, Kaminoyama is the perfect gateway for those looking to enjoy walking, hiking, and horseback riding.

Every year, Kaminoyama hosts its famous Kasedori Festival, where participants dance around a flame, hoping to ward off fire and destruction. While it may look unusual, it gives Kaminoyama a local charm and makes it worth the visit.

Takahata

Some of the oldest artifacts from the Jomon Period have been unearthed in Takahata, proving that people have been inhabiting this region for nearly 10,000 years.

Today, however, people are particularly proud of their bountiful fruit production and rich local folklore.  In honor of one of Japan’s most famous children’s book authors, Hamada Hirosuke, being born here, there are commemorative statues and public art displays across the town, giving Takahata a reputation as the “Fairytale Town.”

Takahata is also known for its wine production, and visitors can enjoy and sample the local wines right at the vineyards.