Spots in Sakata / Tsuruoka Area

  • National Treasure-designated Five-Storied Pagoda of Mt. Haguro
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    4.5
    215 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Tsuruoka-shi Haguromachi Hagurosan Chinai
    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.

    This little five-story pagoda is glorious. If the scaffolding is up, you can see the amazing inner joinery.

  • Tsuruoka Park (Tsurugaoka Castle ruins)
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    4.0
    93 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 visited the park on 21 Apr and it was the time for full bloom. The park wasnt overcrowded and there were many stalls for food and games. There are buses from train station to the park but they...

  • Ken Domon Museum of Photography
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    4.5
    90 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...

  • Tsuruoka City Kamo Aquarium
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    3.5
    3 Reviews
    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.

    ランチタイムのみの営業で閉店後でもカウンターでアイスクリームと玉こんにゃくを販売している。アイスクリームにはクラゲが入っているが無しも頼める。 歩き疲れたらここで休憩したいが狭いスペースである

  • Koiwai Farm's solitary cherry tree
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    4.5
    68 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Sakata-shi Hiyoshicho 1-2-20
    This is an entertainment complex in 1 Chome Hiyoshi-cho, Sakata City. Built in the remodeled Soma-ya, a famed Sakata restaurant, the 1st floor features Teahouse Kutsurogi Dokoro, and the second floor has a dining theater where you can watch Maiko dances while you dine, as well as the Takehisa Yumeji Art Museum. The main Soma-ya manor was destroyed in the Shonai earthquake of 1894, but was soon rebuilt and is now designated a Registered Tangible Cultural Property.

    Somaro Maiko Teahouse dates back to the Edo Period to when Sakata City served as a key port in the domestic trade network of an isolationist Japan. During this period the Shonai Region produced...

  • Former Main Residence of Homma Family and Villa “O-tana”
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    4.0
    72 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.

  • Homma Museum of Art
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    4.0
    67 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...

  • Chido Museum
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    4.0
    53 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.

    鶴岡城の西側にとても目立つ洋館が2つ立ち並んでいる。1つは元警察署らしいが、洋館なのに大きな鬼瓦があって和洋折衷が馴染んだ感じが良い。もう一つ大きな和風建築があり、外から眺めているだけでも楽しい。中は藩校である致道館にあったものが展示されている。

  • Chidokan Shonai Domain School
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    4.0
    67 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...

  • Shonai Kanko Bussankan Furusato Honpo
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    4.0
    33 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Nunome Nakadori 80-1
    This store is located on National Route 7 in Nunome, Tsuruoka City. It houses mostly shops selling local specialties and souvenirs with shops selling seafood from the Sea of Japan and crab directly sourced from fishing ports. There is also a restaurant serving seafood and local cuisine using the fruits of the seas off Shonai.

    梅ちゃんキムチが美味しいです。 白菜キムチ、白菜の浅漬けキムチ、スルメキムチ、梅ちゃんタレを購入。どれもニンニクがガツンと効いて美味しい。梅ちゃんタレは、味噌ベースでガッツリニンニクか効いて、私好みでした。

  • Catholic Tsuruoka Church
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    4.0
    60 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...

  • Roadside Station Chokai Furatto
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    4.0
    34 Reviews
    Transportation
    Yamagata Pref. Akumigunyuzamachi Sugasato Sugano 308-1
    A roadside station located along National Route 7 in Sugano Sugasato, Yuza Town, Akumi County. The facility hosts a farm fresh shop selling local agricultural products and fresh seafood; a shop selling local specialty products; a café serving seafood rice bowls, curry, and set meals; a light meal corner; ramen corner; and bakery. You can also take sashimi and grilled fish bought at the farm fresh shop to the cafeteria and enjoy it there as a set with rice.

    遊佐町にある道の駅です。食事をするところが充実しています。とくに岩牡蠣のシーズンは混雑することが多いです。

  • Shonai-jinja Shrine
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    3.5
    34 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.

    鶴岡市役所の隣、鶴岡城址内にある神社ですが、上品な空気が漂う神社です。参拝した後御朱印を頂いたのですが、普通の御朱印のほかに、季節の花の御朱印や刀剣御朱印(ちょうど近くの致道博物館で刀剣の展示をしていました)など何種類かあり、私は季節の花の御朱印をいただきました。また、境内には可愛らしく花を浮かべたり、鯛御籤があったり。そして、この神社の人気者の猫「王子」が御守り授与所で寝ていたりするのも、ほんわ...

  • Fujisawa Shuhei Memorial Museum
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    4.0
    38 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.

    藤沢周平ファンの聖地ですね。 定期的に企画展が行われており、何度足を運んでも いつも新しい発見があるのです。 一つ残念な事は、記念館限定品の販売図に品切れが有り、 再訪しても増刷されていない模様でした。 (間違っているかもしれませんが・・) 用心棒シリーズも図録に見当たらないのです。 このシリーズも作って欲しいなー(笑)

  • 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。

  • Heishindo – Former Kazama Family Residence
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    4.5
    32 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 doesnt fly off. I would have thought...

  • Kaikoji Temple
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    4.5
    31 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...

  • Taihokan
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    3.5
    37 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Babachou 4-7 (within Tsuruoka Park)
    This structure, built in 1915, is located inside the Tsuruoka Park, in Baba-cho, Tsuruoka City. This baroque western structure, built in honor of the enthronement of Emperor Taisho, is a Tangible Cultural Property of the city. Used for a long period as a library since its opening, today, it also displays various archival materials pertaining to personages related to Tsuruoka.

    致道博物館からお堀に沿って歩きながら、見事な桜並木を見ながら、春にはきっと素晴らしい景色になるんだろうと話していたら、桜の合間から白い洋館が見えてきました。上には兜のような赤い飾りがあり、説明板を読むと大正天皇を迎えるために建てられた建物で、今は博物館になっているそうです。

  • Yudonosan Sohonji Dainichibo
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    4.0
    29 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Oami Nyudou 11
    Yudonosan Sohonji Dainichibo is a temple located in Oaminyudo, in the city of Tsuruoka. It is a sacred site founded by Kobo Daishi, the founder of the Shingon School of Buddhism, and he is said to have made the principal object of veneration. Since ancient times, the area has been considered a site of spiritual significance for those who attach sacred significance to mountains, and it also has deep connections with the Tokugawa clan. Visitors can see the mummy of Shinnyokai Shonin, who starved himself to death, and a standing sculpture in gilt bronze of the Buddha Shaka Nyorai, which the national government has designated an Important Cultural Property.

    We made the trek out from Tsuruoka via the bus. I asked the driver to let us know when we got to Oami (a good phrase to learn in Japanese!) who duly did so and also pointed out the way to Dainichibo...

  • Dewa Sanzan History Museum
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    3.5
    25 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Haguromachitouge 7
    This museum is on the grounds of Dewa Sanzan Shrine. It displays materials related to the history and culture of Dewa Sanzan (the three mountains of Dewa), and has a collection of valuable items related to the time of Shugendo Buddhism, a syncretism of Shinto and Buddhism. It also has 190 of the 500 bronze mirrors excavated from the Kagami ike bronze excavation, displays statues of the Buddha, lantern poles, and more to attract countless shrine visitors. Open from late April through November.

    Apart from a rather interesting explanation about a local tradition linked to a race with ropes between two parties, not much to watch, and no explanation in English either. Long story short:not...

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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