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Leisure / Outdoors Spots in Yamagata Area

  • Tsuruoka City Kamo Aquarium
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Imaizumi Okubo 657-1
    This is an aquarium in Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Prefecture, the prefecture’s only one, with the nickname “Jellyfish Dream Hall.” It is known for displaying over 50 kinds of jellyfish and holds a Guinness World Record in this field. The biggest highlight is about 2,000 moon jellyfish swimming in a large water tank five meters in diameter. An exhibition corner of Shonai’s freshwater and saltwater fish, a sea lion show, and the black-tail gull feeding are all popular. There is also a complete exhibition area for children.
  • Chido Museum
    35 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Kachushinmachi 10-18
    This is a museum in Kachu-Shinmachi Town, Turuoka City, Yamagata Prefecture which stores and displays 5,350 important items that fall under eight varieties of Important Tangible Folk-Cultural Properties relating to the heritage of the Shonai area. The museum takes its name from the Chidokan, the Shonai Clan’s samurai school, and items relating to that school are also on display. Several historical buildings such as the former Nishitagawa District Office and the old Tsurugaoka Police Station which are also important cultural properties were dismantled and rebuilt on the premises, which were the site of the Tsurugaoka Castle’s san-no-maru and the official residence of the Sakai family, the domain lord. The beautiful garden in shoin-zukuri style (a traditional style of Japanese residential architecture) is also worth seeing.


  • Yamagata Marugoto-kan Beni-no-Kura
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Yamagatashi Tokamachi 2-1-8
    Located a 10 minute walk from JR Yamagata Station, this tourism and shopping facility focuses on seasonal Yamagata treats, delicacies, and products. The building was originally constructed as a warehouse and home for the Hasegawa safflower merchant family. In addition to restaurants, a souvenir shop, and direct farm shop selling local Yamagata agricultural products, the facility also hosts a tourist information center. At Beni-no-Kura, you can enjoy stone ground, handmade soba noodles; Italian cuisine made with traditional and seasonal vegetables; sweets, and more. At the souvenir shop and direct farm shop, you can purchase traditional Yamagata crafts, rare Japanese legacy vegetables, and other fresh agricultural products.
  • Homma Museum of Art
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Sakatashi Onarichou 7-7
    A garden and art museum a five minute walk from Sakata Station. Built as a garden and villa for the Homma family of wealthy merchants and landowners, the facility was opened to the public as a private art museum in 1947. The museum’s collection consists primarily of works of art passed down for generations in the Homma family, and the museum is filled with ancient writings, antiques, paintings, and other valuable artwork. Other highlights include the Seienkaku, a beautiful wood villa built in the Kyoto style; and the Kakubuen, a traditional garden built around a central pond celebrated as one of the best Japanese gardens in the country and renowned for the beauty of its fall foliage.
  • Denkoku-no-Mori Yonezawa City Uesugi Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Yonezawashi Marunouchi 1-2-1
    A museum dedicated to the Uesugi clan. Take a bus from Yonezawa Station and get off at the “Uesugijinja-mae” stop. The museum building incorporates traditional Japanese elements and is designed to mesh well with the surrounding scenery. Its collection of several thousand items relating to the Uesugi clan includes National Treasure-designated folding screens depicting the streets of Kyoto at the time from overhead, and the Uesugi-ke Monjo, a large collection of ancient writings and documents. Highlights include an exhibit in the museum’s permanent display collection which uses CG to give visitors a glimpse into the culture and lifestyle of the world of the Uesugi foling screens, as well as the Yozan Theater exhibit, which dramatizes the reforms Uesugi Yozan implemented in the domain’s government.
  • Tsuruoka Park (Tsurugaoka Castle ruins)
    76 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Babachou 4
    Built around the ruins of Tsurugaoka Castle, Tsuruoka Park, sprawling in the center of Tsuruoka City, is a renowned destination for cherry blossom viewing in spring. 730 cherry trees grow on the park’s ground, particularly around the castle’s moat, and in spring the tree’s petals cover the waters of the moat. Also selected as one of the 100 best places in Japan for cherry blossom viewing, each year around April the park bustles with great numbers of visitors come to enjoy the flowers. Shonai-jinja Shrine stands on the site where the tower of Tsurugaoka Castle once stood, and the shrine’s treasure house displays various items connected with the lords who once ruled the domain from here. Some of the park’s many other highlights include an ancient Japanese cedar several hundred years old, and a museum dedicated to Tsuruoka-born author Shuhei Fujioka.

    We were lucky enough to visit Yamagata prefecture when the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. Tsuruoka Park is beautifully laid out with the cherry blossoms along that river and all around the park...

  • Yura Beach
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Yura
    This beach is in Yura, Tsuruoka City. Yura beach is selected one of Japan’s 100 Best Swimming Spots, and is famed for views of Hakusan Island and the sunset over the Sea of Japan. There are water facilities for campers near the beach as well as walking trails and a fishing pond on the Island.
  • Shirogane Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Obanazawashi Ginzanshimbata In the ground
    Shirogane Park is a park rich in natural beauty in the hot-spring resort of Ginzan Onsen. A walking path around the park takes about one hour to complete. At the entrance to the park is the Shirogane Falls standing at a height of 22 meters. The crashing water of these waterfalls is a sight worth seeing. Visitors can see the full glory of the waterfall from the viewing point on the other side. Also in the park is the old mine shaft which once prospered as a silver mine, as well as Senshin Gorge and Choda Gorge where visitors can appreciate the beautiful scenery and sounds of the mountain streams.
  • Yamagata Prefectural Museum
    36 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Yamagatashi Kajoumachi 1-8
    Yamagata Prefectural Museum is made up of three facilities, the main building (Kajo Park, Yamagata City), the Educational Resources Museum (Midori Town, Yamagata City), and the Nature Study Park (Hataya, Yamanobe Town, Higashimurayama County). It’s an extensive museum where visitors can learn all about Yamagata. The main building exhibits the Jomon no Megami, a goddess figure from the Jomon period, and the Yamagata Daikaigyu, a mysterious looking sea cow fossil which swam the seas over nine million years ago, and exhibits of folk materials related to the production of rice. The museum is approximately 10 minutes by car from Yamagata Chuo Interchange on the Tohoku Chuo Expressway.

    We used remaining time after arriving in Yamagata to visit this museum. It had a lot of information on the locality, its past and present, and local fauna and flora. Printed sheets on key topics were...

  • Yamagata City Mamigasaki Pool JABA
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Yamagatashi Kojirakawamachi Kawahara 1237
    “JABA” is a facility to refresh, be active and enjoy regardless of age and has a heated pool for exercise through the four seasons. Besides regular use, there are seven types of swim class and five types of health promotion class for guests to choose from according to their needs. The facility includes a casual restaurant and it offers a convenient lunch box for groups of 20 or more with advanced reservation. It is approximately 10 minutes by car from JR Yamagata Station.
  • Observatory in Nishi-Zao Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Yamagatashi Nakasakurada
    Nishi-Zao Park, a popular park with families, has wide slides, a large playground and athletic equipment, and a barbecue area set in an extensive site. From the observatory, visitors can overlook Yamagata City, and on sunny days Mt. Gassan and Mt. Asahi can be seen. It is famous as a leading night view spot of the Tohoku region.
  • Lina World
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Kaminoyamashi Kanakame Mizukami 108-1
    The largest comprehensive leisure land in the Tohoku region is approximately one kilometer from Yamagata-Kaminoyama Interchange. It has a total of 30 attractions on an extensive site such as the Ferris wheel painted in a Hello Kitty design popular with small children and thrilling roller coasters, some of the many cute rides made in collaboration with Sanrio. There is a variety of food available at the restaurant & cafe, such as curry and hamburgers. The park is closed during the winter from late November to early March.
  • JA Tsuruoka Melon Direct Market
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Barashinden 1-4
    This is a tourist farm located about 20 minutes by car from JR Tsuruoka Station. The Shonai sand dunes, with good drainage is one of Japan’s leading melon producing areas. At JA Tsuruoka Saigo fruit and vegetables sorting facility, visitors can experience all-you-can-eat sweet and fresh Shonai sand dune melons for about a month in July with reservations. The types of melons are Andes Melon and JA Tsuruoka’s original melon called the Tsuruhime Melon and Tsuruhime Red Melon. Both the Tsuruhime and the Tsuruhime Red melons are large and have high sugar content and visitors can enjoy their elegant sweet aroma. Visitors can also experience harvesting melons and melons are sold on site at the same venue.
  • Higashizawa Rose Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Murayamashi Tateokahigashizawa 1-25
    Higashizawa Rose Park is a botanical garden located on the banks of the Osawa Reservoir in Murayama City. The Park has over 20,000 rose plants, belonging to around 750 different rose varieties from all over the world. Visitors can view special varieties such as the “Murayama” rose that was cultivated locally in Murayama City, and the rare “Violet” rose. The roses are at the best between June and September; a special “Rose Festival” is held every year during this period. Higashizawa Rose Park was selected for inclusion in Japan’s “Top 100 Aromascapes” in 2001, and was chosen as a location for the “Lovers’ Sanctuary Project” in 2015.
  • Shikinen Suto Winery
    3 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Nanyoushi Akayu 2836
    This vineyard has been operated by a long-established winery since the Taisho period. In addition to wine varieties of grapes, they cultivate a number of grape varieties for picking too. Visitors come from all around the country during grape-picking season—early August to mid-October. From grape cultivation to fermentation, the family does every step for themselves, creating a limited number of bottles of their original wine brand, which you are unlikely to find through normal distribution channels.


  • Naoetei Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Yonezawashi Akakuzure
    Naoe Kanetsugu was a famous chief retainer of the Yonezawa domain who displayed great skill in supervising irrigation works, developing local industries, etc. The Naoe Embankment (Levee) was built by Naoe Kanetsugu to control the Matsukawa River (now called the Mogami River), which was prone to severe flooding. The Naoe Embankment had a total length of approximately 10 kilometers. The Naoetei park has been developed in a section of the former riverbed that contains surviving remnants of the Naoe Embankment. Visitors can enjoy a pleasant stroll while viewing the many stone monuments that celebrate Naoe Kanetsugu’s great achievement.
  • Kaminoyama Tourism Fruit Garden
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Kaminoyamashi Mikami Handouro 1241-47
    This orchard is on the Fruit Line in Mikamiaza Handoro, Kaminoyama City. They host all-you-can-eat cherry picking from early June to mid-July, featuring the popular satonishiki, kiminishiki and taishonishiki varieties (reservations not required). According to the season you can pick other types of fruit too, including grapes, apples, pears, peaches, and rare, high-grade gekko plums.
  • Asahi Shizenkan
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Nishimurayamagunasahimachi Shirakura 745-1
    This is a multi-purpose park in Shirakura, Asahi Town. In this park are various accommodations including a hotel, cottages, and a campsite. There is a restaurant, and other areas for enjoying nature; a ski slope, a ball field, a golf course, tennis courts, and a fishing pond. The restaurant serves the very uncommon ostrich meat, and other menu items using the local fresh vegetables, along with the Asahi Town wine.
  • Kudamonoland
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Yamagatashi Yamadera 1973-1533
    This is a fruit farm along the Yamadera Road in Yamadera, Yamagata City. Using minimal chemicals and organic fertilizer this farm produces cherries, grapes, western pears, peaches and apples. You can enjoy picking the seasonal fruit from around the beginning of June through the end of November. One of the attractions of this farm is that it not only grows the Yamagata trademark satonishiki variety of cherries, but also the equally fine benishuho, and the gassan-nishiki variety known for its large yellow berries.
  • Momiji Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Yamagatashi Higashiharamachi 2-16-7 (Seifuso)
    This park, formerly the shingon sect Houdouji Temple garden, is a garden in Higashihara District of Yamagata City. One can enjoy this traditional Japanese garden designed in the style of a pond surrounded by meandering paths. The pond, Shinjiike, itself is constructed in the shape of the Japanese letter for 'heart.' True to its namesake, Momiji, many varieties of maple trees are planted in this garden. For this reason one can enjoy an extended period of beautiful autumn foliage.

Yamagata Main Areas


Although often overlooked, Yamagata prefecture by no means lacks appeal: the Yamadera temple trail through the mountains, deliciously tender Yonezawa wagyu, and over 100 steaming hot springs, most notably Zao Onsen, await visitors. When winter comes, the snowcapped peaks become dotted with skiers by day and onsen-goers by night, while summer brings the celebration of juicy Yamagata cherries.

Yamagata Photo Album

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