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History / Culture / Tour Spots in Yamagata Area

  • Uesugi-jinja Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Yonezawashi Marunouchi 1-4-13
    A Shinto shrine located in Marunouchi, Yonezawa City, Yamagata Prefecture. The shrine is dedicated to Uesugi Kenshin, a famous commander during the Warring States period and ancestor of the future lord of Yonezawa Domain. The shrine was built on the site of Yonezawa Castle in 1876 and designated an Imperial Shrine of Special Status in 1902. The shrine was destroyed in the Great Yonezawa Fire in 1919; the current buildings were reconstructed in 1923, and visitors can view the beautiful Japanese architecture of the shrine’s main shrine and front shrine. Treasures passed down in the Uesugi clan are kept in the shrine’s Keishoden hall, and many tourists come to view them year round.
  • Chido Museum
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    4.0
    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.

    致道館の次は致道博物館を訪問しよう。しゃれた建物が多い。まずは旧西田川郡役所、ついで旧庄内藩主御隠殿、更に旧警察署庁舎を見学。庭が案外いい。

  • Bukeyashiki District (Kaminoyama Onsen)
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Kaminoyamashi Tsuruhagichou 1
    Samurai residences stand to the northwest of the Kamiyama Castle, constructed in the 1535. The remaining four samurai residences have hook-shaped thatched rooves, with main and separate servant entrances built in typical samurai architectural style. The Miwa family residence and the former Sogabe residence is open to the public for viewing. You can take a look inside the building and also view the garden. Entry into the Miwa house requires an admission fee.
  • Hoshuyama Risshakuji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Yamagatashi Yamadera 4456-1
    A temple of the Tendai sect, Hoshuyama Risshakuji is located across the Tachiya River from JR Yamadera Station on the Senzan Line. Normally called “Yamadera”, it was opened by Ennin in 860 by decree of Emperor Seiwa. Currently, it is designated a Zao Quasi-National Park, with 1,090,000 square meters green lot with about 30 towers—the most historic holy mountain in the Tohoku region. A famous haiku poet Matsuo Basho wrote “Shizukasa ya iwa ni shimiiru semi no koe (Such stillness / The cries of the cicadas / Sink into the rocks)” here. Its remnants remain as “semi-zuka,” and many poets like Mokichi Saito have poems inscribed here.
  • 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.
  • Catholic Tsuruoka Church
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    4.0
    49 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Babachou 7-19
    Tsuruoka Catholic Cathedral is located a five-minute walk from the Shiyakusho (City Hall) mae bus stop on the bus line from Tsuruoka Station. It is a beautiful church with a red roof and white walls, designed by Father Papineau and completed in 1903. A masterpiece of Meiji (1868–1912) period Romanesque architecture. On one of its altars stands the only statue of the Black Madonna in Japan and one of the few in the world. Another feature unique among Japanese churches is that its pictorial windows are not made of stained glass but of pictures painted on transparent paper pressed between two panes of glass.

    Black Madonnas are very unusual in Japan and it is even more unusual to find one in such a small city as Tsuruoka. This little church is very simple and small. The wooden floor and the red carpet...

  • 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.
  • Chidokan Shonai Domain School
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    4.0
    51 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Babachou 11-45
    Sakai Tadaari, the ninth lord of Tsuruoka Domain, established this domain school in 1805 with the aim of reforming samurai customs and cultivating surpassing individuals. The school’s educational policy focused on further strengthening each student’s innate talents. Today, the school is a designated National Historic Site and is open to the general public; facilities such as front Mikado gate, Confucian temple, and lecture hall remain intact. This facility is the only domain school still in existence in the Tohoku region.

    Amazing it is still there, the old school for young Samuraiunder King Sakai , as it used to be. Subject included localized Analects of Confucius ethics...

  • The Old Abumiya Residence
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Sakatashi Nakamachi 1-14-20
    Abumiya was a shipping agent typical of those in Sakata City. The house shows how Abumiya prospered as a major player in shipping in the Sea of Japan. The building has a stone shingled roof typical of townhouses at that time. The house is open to the public and shows what life was like in the day with figures and artifacts on display.
  • Heishindo – Former Kazama Family Residence
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    4.0
    29 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Babachou 1-17
    The Kazama Family was the Tsuruoka purveyors to the government in the Shonai (Tsuruoka) Domain. The former house, Heishindo, located on the east side of Tsurugaoka Castle, was built as a residence and operational base in 1896. It was designated as a nationally important cultural property in 2000 and as a Japanese Heritage site in 2017. Property of the kind of wealthy merchant of that time can still be seen today such as the yakuimon, a type of entrance gate which were originally used as gates for samurai dwellings, the stone-tiled roof with approximately 40,000 stones and the four storehouses around the main house.

    This visit is a must for architecture lovers or history fans. The roof of the house is made of cedar bark, on which several tons of stones have been lit so it doesn't fly off. I would have thought...

  • Tendo Municipal Shogi Museum
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    3.5
    32 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Tendoushi Honchou 1-1-1
    The Shogi Museum in Tendo city, with a 95% share of Japan’s Shogi piece production, hosts exhibitions explaining how the game was born, how it came to Japan, Shogi around the world, how pieces are made, and displays of famous works by Shogi craftsmen, all to help visitors better understand and appreciate the game. It’s eight minutes’ drive from Tendo Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway.

    Tendo City Shogi Museum天童將棋館is one of the “bus-stop” in Tendo City during our 2016 Autumn leaf-viewing Trip. The small museum pretty much told the story of Shogi which was not very interesting to us...

  • Old Silver Mine
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Obanazawashi Ginzanshimbata In the ground
    Discovered in 1456 by Gika Ichirozaemon of Kanazawa, Nobesawa Silver Mine is now a National Historic Site. In its heydays, it was one of Japan’s three largest silver mines. One of the rare pleasures of this mine is the chance to tour it in a yukata.
  • Mt. Haguro Five-Storied Pagoda
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    4.5
    157 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Haguromachitouge 7
    The five-storied pagoda at Mt. Haguro, one of the three sacred mountains of Dewa where Shugendo (a mountain asceticism incorporating Shintoist and Buddhist ideas) was practiced until the Meiji period, has been designated as a national treasure. The current tower is thought to have been reconstructed by Masauji Muto, a head administrator of Mt. Haguro and lord of Shonai in the time of Emperor Chokei of the Bunchu period. It has an elegant appearance nestling within the cedar trees.

    很幸運在五重塔限定開放時間內去參拜,內部可以看到五重塔的中心-神木,僅僅一根神木就可以支撐起整個塔,歷經多次大地震與強風豪雨仍屹立不搖。據說東京skytree就是參照相同原理建造的呢! 從入口到五重塔需要步行一段路,徜徉在林木之間很是消暑,如果有在收集御朱印,可以先在入口受理,參拜回來就可以領取囉! It is a special experience to visit to the...

  • Sanjin Gosaiden, Dewa Sanzan Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Haguromachitouge 7
    Sanjin Gosaiden with its valuable thatched, wooden construction that still retains buildings dating from the Middle Ages, such as the Yamabushi (priest) quarters, was designated an important cultural property in 2000. The shrine has been built at the top of Mt. Haguro and is dedicated to the deities of the three mountains, Mt. Haguro, Mt. Gassan, and Mt. Yudono. The surrounding area is notable for the mountain temples built to conform to the natural landscape.
  • Yamagata Prefectural Museum
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    4.0
    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...

  • Former Main Residence of Homma Family and Villa “O-tana”
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    4.0
    56 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Sakatashi Nibanchou 12-13
    This samurai-style villa built in 1768 by Mitsuoka Homma—the third landlord of Homma Family, wealthy merchant family of Dewa—served as lodgings for the Shogun’s inspection envoys. Featuring a combination of samurai-style and merchant-style construction, this building would be unusual anywhere in the country. The red pines are also wonderful, and are said to live over 400 years.

    A very nicely preserved home of an upper class. Very spacious and interesting architecture of Japanese home using the verendas. I liked the simple decor that made look elegant and functional.

  • Kumano Taisha Shrine
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    4.5
    55 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Nanyoushi Miyauchi 3476-1
    This is approximately a 13 minute walk from Miyauchi Station and is one of three Kumano Shrines in Japan. Boasting more than 1,200 years of reconstruction, also called the Ise Shrine of the Tohoku region, the worship hall is the oldest thatched roof building in the prefecture. Kumano Ogami (Great Diety) is the god of “unification” and is a diety that brings the benefits of “marriage,” and many worshippers visit the shrine as a marriage power spot. Also, it is believed that if you find three hidden rabbits carved on the back of the main hall without assistance, your “prayers will come true” and you will “be happy.” Amulets of cute rabbits etc are available at the reception.

    This shrine is quite far from touristic area, but is worth visiting if you occasionally drop by. It is a classic Shinto shrine, dated by 9th century. As stated in Wiki, shine's large iron bell is one...

  • Jakushou-ji Temple on Mt. Reiryu
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    4.0
    23 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Tendoushi Yamamoto 2205-1
    Jakushou-ji Temple is a Tendai Buddhist temple located on the slopes of Mr. Reiyu in Tendo City. It is the first stop in the 33 Kannon Temples pilgrimage, and is also known as Jakushou Kannon Temple. According to tradition, the Temple was founded in 708 A.D. by the bodhisattva Gyoki, who saw a vision of 33 images of the Buddhist deity Kannon on Mt. Reiyu after being led to the site by the sound of a bell. Praying to Kannon at Jakushou-ji Temple is said to bring good luck with respect to love and marriage, and it is also said that visitors who ring the large “Enfuku” wind-bell in the Temple will be blessed with a happy partnership. The Temple’s Kannon Hall and its gilt-bronze round plaque bearing an image of Kannon have both been designated as Important Cultural Properties, as has a colored ita-e (painting on a wooden panel) depicting heavenly horses.

    ここは花笠音頭にも出てくる有名なところ また、縁結びのお寺としても有名 若かりし日に妻と来て、妻はおみくじに結婚の願い事を書いていたのを思い出します 後から聞いた話ですけどね

  • Yamadera Basho Museum
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    4.0
    46 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Yamagatashi Yamadera Minamiin 4223
    This is a memorial museum for Matsuo Basho, the renowned haiku poet, located along Prefectural Route 19 in Yamadera, Yamagata City. The museum host various events such as haiku contests along with the permanent exhibit displaying drafts written in Basho's own hand, letters, and other archival materials pertaining to his life, as well as a theater corner documenting his life. The museum has tatami mat training rooms and tea rooms available for seminars or tea ceremonies and other traditional cultural art events.

    The gardens around the memorial hall complements the trip to yamadera. You could get a great view of the temple from the gardens, very scenic on an autumn foliage.

  • Matsugasaki-jinja Shrine
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    3.5
    39 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Yonezawashi Marunouchi 1-1
    This shrine is located across from the Yonezawa castle remains in Marunouchi, Yonezawa City. Uesugi Youzan, the chief of the historic Yonezawa clan, is enshrined here as well as Uesugi Kagekatsu and Naoe Kanetsugu. The primary annual festivals are in April and September. The April festival draws many worshipers and visitors, as it falls during the local major Yonezawa Uesugi Festival.

    Originally the site of the castle of Yonezawa, the shrine commemorates the Uesugi family. This is the main attraction of Yonezawa. We visited for the Hatsumode (the first shrine visit for the year...

Yamagata Main Areas

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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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