History / Culture / Tour Spots in Yamagata Area

  • Hoshuyama Risshakuji Temple
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    4.5
    892 Reviews
    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.

    Well worth the hike up. I would recommend wearing spikes up in the snow as it was slippery. Easy hike on the steps and takes maybe 20/30 minutes.

  • Uesugi-jinja Shrine
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    4.0
    258 Reviews
    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.

    I visited this shrine on my way to our hotel to stay in Kaminoyama. Not being totally expected, I was pretty much surprised to see their beautiful garden, well-maintained shrine, exhibition center...

  • Yamagata Castle Ruins (Kajo Park)
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    4.0
    183 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Yamagatashi Kajoumachi 1-7 (management office)
    These castle ruins, in Kajo-machi Yamagata City, is designated as a National Historic Site. It is said that Kaneyori Shiba, the father of the Mogami, built the Yamagata Castle in 1356. Today the ninomaru moat, the earthen mound, and the stone walls remain. A replica of the ninomaru west gate has been reconstructed at the entrance to Kajo Park (Kajo being another name for the castle). Selected as one of Japan's top 100 castles, it is one of the recommended sites to visit in Japan.

    About 650m from Yamagata station to the south bridge across the moat, Kajo Park is easy to get to. There is an elevated walkway around about 90% of the perimeter; it is in the shade and affords nice...

  • Ken Domon Museum of Photography
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    4.5
    93 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Sakatashi Imoriyama 2-13 Inside Iimoriyama Park
    The Ken Domon Museum of Photography is a specialized museum located in Iimoriyama Park along Prefectural Route 355 in the Iimoriyama area of the city of Sakata. Photographer Ken Domon was a native of the area, and the museum contains his entire life's work, about 70,000 photos. The exhibits are changed on a three-month cycle, with each cycle having own theme, so that all the photos are displayed in turn. The museum also contains sculptures and gardens created by artists who were associates of Domon, especially the sculptor Isamu Noguchi.

    I discovered Domon Ken photography, in Rome, when just by chance I saw a huge exposition on his life work. So when we went to Japan, we went to Sakata just to see his museum. We spent a whole...

  • Denkoku-no-Mori Yonezawa City Uesugi Museum
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    3.5
    88 Reviews
    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.

    館内が清潔。ここは好感が持てた。ただし常設展示室は展示品が少ないので物足りない。 ここには、国宝の「上杉本洛中洛外図屏風」が収蔵されているのだが、私が行った日は公開されていなかった。 そこも、物足りなさに拍車をかけた。 複製は展示されていたが、やはり新しくて重々しさが感じられない。

  • Uesugi Clan Mausoleum
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    4.0
    78 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Yonezawashi Gobyou 1-5-30
    Just a 5-minute walk from the Gobyo-mae bus stop on the Yamako bus line bound for Onogawa Onsen. This is a cemetery with 11 generations of the Uesugi clan, notably Prince Uesugi Kenshin down to Narisada, interred in beautiful wood structured mausoleums. It is known for being the resting place of Uesugi Kenshin, a famous warrior during Japan's civil war. This cemetery was the 5th to be designated in 1984 as a National Historic Landmark for former feudal lords. During the Uesugi Yukitoro stone lantern Festival illumination, the snow covered stone and paper lanterns are lit making for otherworldly serene atmosphere. The neighboring Houonji Temple was transported from Mt. Kasuga and rebuilt as the Uesugi family temple.

    Tucked away in the western part of town are 2 hectares of peace, tranquility and a stand of 300-400 year old cedar trees. This is also where the first eleven lords of the Uesugi clan are buried, each...

  • Homma Museum of Art
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    4.0
    70 Reviews
    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.

    Honma Museum of Art was a quick ten minute walk from the train station. The museum itself was quite disappointing and hardly worth the trip for its small exhibition that didn’t allow photos. First...

  • Sake Museum, Toko Brewery
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    4.0
    64 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Yonezawashi Omachi 2-3-22 Yanagi Town Upper Street
    This library museum is located in Oh-machi, Yonezawa City, the Kojima Sake Brewery, the producer of the choice sake, Toko. One can learn about the culture and history of sake making through this exhibit displaying the old instruments and records housed in the sake cellar that has been renovated, while preserving the original structure. In the permanent exhibit room, the feudal lord Uesugi Yozan Hall, is displayed materials pertaining to feudal lord Uesugi Yosan, the ancient head of the Yonezawa clan. Here one can learn of his government and character.

    Tucked away in a small mountain city in Yamagata Perfecture is a hidden jewel. Owned and run by the same Kojima family since 1597, Toko not only makes great saké, they also own this fantastic museum...

  • Yamagata City Folk Museum (Former Saiseikan Hospital Main Building)
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    4.0
    84 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Yamagata-shi Kajomachi 1-1
    This museum is located inside Kajo Park in Kajo-machi, Yamagata City. Built in 1878 as the prefectural hospital, the “Saiseikan” was relocated and restored, and is now used to exhibit items related to local history and medicine. The building is designated as a National Important Cultural Property.

    It’s a little museum, located inside Yamagata Castle Park, north of Yamagata Station, about 13mins walk (1.1km) Honestly, it was in our plan as it look like “just an old building. We decided to pay...

  • Yamadera Basho Museum
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    4.0
    56 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.

    Basho is considered one of the best, if not the best, Haiku poet. If one is really, really interested in this art form, this museum is well worth a visit. If Haiku is not your thing, visiting the...

  • Yamagata Museum of Art
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    4.0
    51 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Yamagatashi Otemachi 1-63
    This museum is located across the way to the east of Kajo Park in Ote-machi, Yamagata City. Exhibited here are not only the Japanese works of Matsuo Basho's Three Mountains of Dewa writings, Yosa Buson's The Narrow Road through the Provinces scroll, but also a collection of Modern French works including Monet and Renoir. The museum also hosts various planned exhibits related to the collections, the Yamagata General Art Exhibits, local art exhibits, photography exhibits, and calligraphy exhibits.

    Living in Paris, I go quite often to Orsay or marmottan museums. The 40 paintings exposed (monet, pissaro, van dongen, Chagall,... ) are very fine. There are very well representating the period...

  • Former Main Residence of Homma Family and Villa “O-tana”
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    4.0
    74 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.

  • Honzan Jionji Temple
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    4.5
    36 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Sagaeshi Jionji Cadastral 31
    Honzan Jionji Temple is located in Jionji in the city of Sagae. It is said to have been founded in 746 by Baramon Sojo. During the Edo period (1615-1868) it controlled 18 villages and land that produced about 505,095 liters of rice, making it the most powerful temple in the Tohoku region. Even though its influence has shrunk in the present day, its former precincts have been designated a National Historic Site, and it contains many Important Cultural Properties, including its main building and collection of Buddhist statues, as well as Jionji Bugaku, a type of dance performed during the Issai Kyoe Festival, held on May 5 every year.

    とても静かで厳かな空気のなか、立派な山門と御堂、三重塔が迎え入れてくれました。ちょうどこの期間は秋の特別展として、阿弥陀堂特別拝観が行われており、通常拝観で目にすることができる聖徳太子立像や十二神将のほかに、阿弥陀如来座像も拝観することができました。本当に立派な仏像でした!聞くところによると、国の重要文化財等の数は、山形県内ナンバーワンとのこと!特に十二神将は海外の展示会にも出品してるほどなのに...

  • Chidokan Shonai Domain School
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    4.0
    70 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...

  • Catholic Tsuruoka Church
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    4.0
    63 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Tsuruoka-shi Babacho 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...

  • Fujisawa Shuhei Memorial Museum
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    4.0
    39 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Babachou 4-6 inside Tsuruoka park
    The Fujisawa Shuhei Memorial Museum is located in Tsuruoka Park in Babacho in the city of Tsuruoka. It contains a permanent exhibition of materials connected with the life of home grown author Fujisawa Shuhei and the world portrayed in his works. Inside the museum is a salon where visitors can peruse books by Fujisawa, books related to his works, videos of interviews with him, and a database of his works. The museum also sponsors events such as lectures and readings.

    荘内神社に行くついでに。時代劇で見たことある作品が多いので、館内の説明に親近感を感じ楽しめました。また、綺麗な館内でした。

  • Shonai-jinja Shrine
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    3.5
    36 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Babachou 4-1 Tsuruokaoka Castle Ruinsite
    Shonai-jinja Shrine is located in Tsuruoka Park in Babacho in the city of Tsuruoka. Sakai Tadatsugu is one of four feudal leaders of Shonai Province enshrined here, and the shrine was built on the ruins of the inner building of Tsurugaoka Castle. The treasure house within the shrine precincts contains precious items associated with the Sakai clan, which are displayed on a rotating basis according to specific themes. From July 1 to July 7, the precincts are illuminated in celebration of the Tanabata Festival.

    鶴岡市内の中心部にある鶴が丘城址にある荘内神社は1877年、明治10年に作られた神社だ。神社では酒井家の初代酒井忠次、2代酒井家次、3代酒井忠勝、9代酒井忠徳が祀られている。神社の社殿は決して大きくはないがとても立派だ。7月に訪れたので七夕が飾られて素敵だった。

  • Dewa Sanzan Shrine
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    4.0
    4 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Haguromachitouge 7
    This shrine is located at the peak of Mt. Haguro in Haguro-machi, Tsuruoka City. The three Dewa Sanzan Shrines, Gassan-jinja Shrine, Ideha-jinja Shrine, Yudonosan-jinja Shrine, each have a different god enshrined. However, because passage to Gassan and Yudonosan is not possible in the winter, the Ideha-jinja Shrine has erected the Sanjin-gosai Hall to represent all three in one space. The existing shrine was erected in 1818 and is designated as an Important Cultural Property.

    羽黒山にあります。テレビで見たことがあったので楽しみにしていました。歩いて登ったのですが、 鐘はついてはいけません的なことが書いてありました。残念でした。

  • Kaikoji Temple
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    4.5
    34 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Sakatashi Hiyoshichou 2-7-12
    This is a temple near Hie Shrine in Hiyoshi-cho, Sakata City. This temple is said to have been built by the famous monk Kukai 1,200 year ago. This temple is the only temple in Japan to have enshrined the statues of the mummified bodies of the Venerable Chukai and Venerable Enmyokai, after one thousand days of ascetic pursuit.

    Kaikoji temple just north of Sakata city centre is home to not just one, but two self-mummified monks. There is a display that shows some of the actual tools and garments the monks used during their...

  • Zenpoji Temple
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    4.5
    30 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Shimogawa Sekine 100
    This temple is located in Shimogawa-sekine, Tsuruoka City. Enshrining the dragon god, this shrine draws believers that work in the fishing industry who pray for safe navigation across seas. This expansive almost 20 hectare landscape houses many Buddhist buildings and the 500 Rakan Statuary Hall (a registered Tangible Cultural Property) built in 1855. Periodically various events are hosted for experiencing zen, such as the Sanzenkai, and the fellowship of zen, zen no tsudoi.

    The temple has a long history that dates back more than 1000 years, but the existing buildings are about 150 years old, on average. Relatively speaking, they are of recent construction, as Japanese...

Yamagata Areas

around-area-map

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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