Nestled in Japan’s mountainous Yamagata Prefecture, Yamagata is an atmospheric city that incorporates the tranquil Mogami River and towering Mount Zao. Yamagata is renowned for its hot springs and winter skiing destinations, along with boasting a rural peace and abundance of natural beauty.
Things to do in Yamagata
If you’re looking to carve powder, head up to the Yamagata Zao Onsen Ski Resort, the largest in the Tohoku Region. This year-round outdoor playground features a range of skiing and snowboarding slopes for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. You’ll also find popular mountain trekking routes during summer. Don’t forget to rest your weary muscles in the Zao Onsen, a hot spring dating back to 110 AD.
While exploring the city centre, visit the Mogami Yoshiaki Historical Museum to see historical items from Mogami Yoshiaki’s lifetime. Admire ancient weaponry and firearms used in 16th-century battles, before seeing old artwork and maps of castle towns. Afterwards, check out the Yamagata Museum of Science and Industry, which showcases interactive science and technology exhibits.
Don’t miss seeing the Yama-dera temple, a designated Place of Scenic Beauty and Historic Site. It sits at the foot of a steep hill and dates back to the 14th-century. The nearby Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum boasts exhibits on haiku master, Matsuo Bashō, including the poet’s writing brush and his prominent works.
Venture across to Kajo Park, a diverse parkland near the centre of Yamagata that’s surrounded by a moat. Within Kajo Park you’ll find the historic Yamagata Castle, an old Archery Hall and the Yamagata City Baseball Field. The neighbouring Yamagata Museum of Art showcases paintings and sculptures by local and international artists.
Getting around Yamagata
Yamagata is on numerous railway lines that connect it to nearby cities. It’s just over one hour’s drive from Sendai Airport. The city is serviced by public buses and taxis, but you can also rent bicycles to get around.