History / Culture / Tour Spots in Yamagata Area

  • Hoshuyama Risshakuji Temple
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    4.5
    903 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.

    The pictures you find on the internet from this place looks better than the actual place. Most of the climb is just stairs with a few small statues along the way. Most of the path is covered in...

  • Yamagata Prefecture Local Museum Bunshokan
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    4.5
    193 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Yamagatashi Hatagomachi 3-4-51
    Yamagata Prefecture Local Museum Bunshokan is located along Prefectural Route 49 in Hatagomachi in the city of Yamagata. It is housed in the remodeled and repurposed former Prefectural Office and Prefectural Assembly Hall (built in 1916). This English Gothic Revival-style building has been designated an Important Cultural Property by the national government. The museum contains exhibits about the remodeling of the building and the history and culture of the prefecture. In addition, it is possible to rent the hall, the meeting rooms, the central courtyard and other areas for various events.

    We walked in and no one asked for an entrance fee. Interesting exhibition of the history of the building with many authentic details still present.

  • Dewa Sanzan Shrine
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    4.5
    81 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.

    出羽三山は、祖霊の鎮まる“精霊のお山”、人々の生業を司る「山の神」「田の神」「海の神」の宿る“神々の峰”にして、五穀豊穣、大漁満足、人民息災、万民快楽、等々を祈願する“聖地”であった。 加えて「羽黒派古修験道」の“根本道場”として、「凝死体験・蘇り」をはたす山でもある。 すなわち、羽黒山では現世利益を、月山で死後の体験をして、湯殿山で新しい生命をいただいて生まれ変わる、という類いまれな「三関三...

  • Ken Domon Museum of Photography
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    4.5
    97 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
    90 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.

    かなり久しぶりに米沢市に来たら、立派なホールができていて、驚きました。 このホールは、山形県立の「置賜文化ホール」と米沢市立の「米沢市上杉博物館」からなる県と市の合築施設との事です。 常設展示室では、上杉の歴史と文化をテーマに構成されていました。 「上杉本洛中洛外図屏風」の中を疑似体験できる「洛中洛外図の世界」があり、また鷹山公の実像や改革の苦難時代を紹介する「鷹山シアター」を体験しました。 初め...

  • Matsugasaki Park (Yonezawa Castle Ruins)
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    4.0
    92 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Yonezawashi Marunouchi 1-4-13
    A 10-minute bus ride from Yonezawa Station. Records state that the castle which once stood here was built in 1238 and was used as a residence by the Nagai clan, Date clan, Gamo clan, Naoe clan, and Uesugi clan. The castle was demolished in 1873 and the site made open to the general public as a park for the next seven years. In 1857, the site was turned into a municipal park as part of an urban planning project. The park is surrounded by a 20 to 36 meter wide, 800 meter long moat. Also a renowned destination for cherry blossoms, 200 cherry trees surround the moat and are lit up at night during the blooming season, creating spectacular scenery with their pink blossoms and the red castle bridge reflecting off the surface of the water.

    Yonezawa matsuri is a special matsuri since it commemorates a famous historical battle between two samourai clans. The battle is on the last day of the matsuri and it is worth seeing it. In case of...

  • Uesugi Clan Mausoleum
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    4.0
    80 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.

    初代上杉謙信公から斉定、そして茂憲の供養塔がある上杉家代々の墓所。特に見たかった謙信公、赤穂浪士で有名な綱憲、名君治憲公の霊廟が見れて感動しました。余談ですが、謙信公の養父で同じく越後春日山から遺骸を運ばれた山内上杉憲政の墓は南米沢駅近くの照陽寺にあります。

  • Former Main Residence of Homma Family and Villa “O-tana”
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    4.0
    76 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.

    もともとは本間家が庄内藩に献上した日本家屋、後に拝領し本邸として使われました。ぐるっと外を回ってみましたが、やはり大きいですね。さすが本間家の建物です。

  • Sake Museum, Toko Brewery
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    4.0
    71 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.

    Awesome sake museum with tasting options! The descriptions are in English and the staff are very friendly. The museum explains well the history of their sake, how it was made and its development. The...

  • Chido Museum
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    4.0
    60 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.

    鶴岡市のど真ん中、鶴岡公園の隣に有ります。 駐車場完備です。 入館料は800円。 敷地内には、旧庄内藩ゆかりの建物や、明治維新後の官公庁舎を移築されています。 沢山あるので、全部中を覗くと、それなりの時間がかかります。 旧藩主(酒井家)の御子孫は、未だに鶴岡にお住まいのようです。

  • Yamagata City Folk Museum (Former Saiseikan Hospital Main Building)
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    4.0
    93 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.

    A beautiful building with a lovely garden in the middle. The exhibits cover medicine in Japan. I was most impressed by the eye chart that used animals.

  • Yamagata Museum of Art
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    4.0
    54 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...

  • Yamadera Basho Museum
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    4.0
    55 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...

  • Uesugi-jinja Shrine
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    4.0
    13 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.

    上杉景勝、直江兼続の甲冑は迫力があり、これらは見応え十分。 しかし、展示物が少ない。 良いにしようか、普通にしようか迷いつつ、展示物の少なさが頭にちらつくと後者の評価に。

  • Mogami Yoshiaki Historical Museum
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    4.0
    56 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Yamagata-shi Otemachi 1-53
    This museum is on Koen-dori Street in Otemachi, Yamagata City. Located on the ruins of Komyo-ji temple, which was the Bodaiji temple holding the remains of first Mogami Clan lord Shiba Kaneyori, and holds materials connected to the first Yamagata domain lord, Mogami Yoshiaki, and other members of the clan. They display martial pieces like swords and armor, as well as scrolls, paintings, and other valuable items.

    山形城跡の東側にあります。山形繁栄の基礎を築いた最上義光を中心に最上家関係の資料を収集、展示がされています。前には庭園があり、銅像もあります。文翔館といい、メジャーな文化歴史関係の施設が無料なのは山形はいいですね。

  • Chidokan Shonai Domain School
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    4.0
    72 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...

  • Yamagata Prefectural Museum
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    4.0
    53 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.

    城址公園内にある県立博物館、展示室は2階、展示内容は山形の自然&歴史の博物館。目玉の展示物は平成4年に道路工事現場で発見され平成24年に国宝指定された縄文の女神と小学生が見つけた大海牛のマナティやジュゴンの仲間のヤマガタダイカイギュウの化石。他には日本海の誕生と山形台地の成り立ちや出土された化石、植物や蝶・昆虫・鳥などの標本、縄文土器と弥生土器、古墳や稲作、律令体制下における出羽国、武士の台頭と最...

  • Catholic Tsuruoka Church
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    4.0
    64 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.

    鶴ヶ丘城址に近い白い壁と赤い尖塔の建物です。案内板によれば明治期に建てられたようで山形県の文化財として指定されています。内部は畳の上にパイプ椅子が置かれています。入り口の上にはパイプオルガン、音を聞いてみたいものです。

  • Gassan Shrine Main Building
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    4.5
    32 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Higashitagawa-gun
    Gassan Jinja Shrine sits at the top of Mt. Gassan at an altitude of 1,984 meters which rises in northern Yamagata Prefecture. Along with Dewa Jinja Shrine on Mt. Haguro and Yudonoyama Jinja Shrine on Mt. Yudono, it is called “Dewa Sanzan-jinja Shrine” , Three Great Shrines of Dewa (an ancient name for this area). The main god worshiped here is Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto, revered since ancient times as a god of farmers, fishers and sailors. It is still an active training site for devotees of Shugendo religious practices. The mountain is open to the public from early July to mid September, and the mountain paths on the way to it pass through a national park. Visitors can enjoy beautiful scenery and admire rare alpine plants. There are several huts and rest stops along the way, and visitors who make reservations can also find overnight lodging. Access to the main shrine requires some serious climbing, so visitors are urged to plan their visit well and not force themselves to climb beyond their capabilities.

    主なルートは3ルートほどあるようですが、オーソドックスに月山八合目から登りました。 月山八合目までは車で行けますが道が狭くすれ違いが大変なので小型車かバスで行くのがお勧めです。 山頂の月山神社までは岩が多い道のりですが、3時間ほどかければ誰でも登れる山です。山頂の神社境内は撮影禁止なので気を付けて。

  • 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

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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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