• Yamagata Prefecture

Tomekichi Aoyama who made his fortune from herring fishing in Hokkaido built his main residence in his hometown of Yuza. The residence building has numerous highlights including the luxurious structure with its abundance of Shunkei lacquerware. Aoyama’s art collections are also on display.
Built in 1893, the rice warehouses are still used today for low-temperature storage using the power of nature. Within the site there is a souvenir shop and the Shonai Rice Historical Museum, and is a popular tourist destination.
The highlight of the aquarium is the jellyfish exhibit with as much as 50 or more varieties of jellyfishes. You can also observe other unique marine creatures. Various hands-on programs are offered, such as the sea lion show and feeding the black-tailed gulls.
The shrine has long been a place of worship for local residents. It is said that your wish will be granted if you can find the three rabbit sculptures hidden behind the main sanctuary. Don’t miss the approximately 900-year-old gingko tree (prefectural natural monument).
Located on the mountainside, Zao Onsen dates back over 1,900 years. The hot spring resort offers accommodation, public baths, footbaths, and bathing facilities for day visitors too.
This ancient temple with a history going back over 1,100 years exudes a sacred atmosphere. The scenery is breathtaking in autumn when the surrounding gorge and mountains are bathed in vibrant colors.
The hot spring village with its wooden inns setting a nostalgic ambience. Enjoy strolling around the village, stopping at the footbaths, souvenir shops, and more. The village gained fame as the setting of “Oshin,” a TV drama series that became popular in many countries.
The gorge is located at the foot of Mt. Omoshiro in Yamagata Prefecture. You can enjoy hiking amid superb scenery created by the brilliant autumn colors of broadleaf trees and the dark green of evergreens.
Located on the road connecting Miyagi and Yamagata, this is one of the most popular roadside stations in the Tohoku region. The extensive facility houses a homemade bakery, buffet-style restaurant, and much more.
In the Minamihara district of Yonezawa City in Yamagata Prefecture, there is a small forest called Totoro’s Forest after the character in the animated film, My Neighbor Totoro.
The roadside station is conveniently located on the road connecting Yama-dera and Zao. The fountain performance in time to music is a must-see. There is also a restaurant, a market for local produce and a gelato factory.
The Chokai Onsen is characterized by its dark brown hot spring water with outstanding moisturizing qualities. Stay at Yurari, highly reputed for its excellent seafood. Apon Nishihama, bathing facilities for day visitors, is also located adjacent to the hotel.
Mogami Gorge is a well-known site for viewing autumn leaves in Yamagata and is said to be the most picturesque place along the Mogami River. The mountain landscape to the left and right that can be seen from the Mogami River changes throughout the four seasons, while Shiraito Falls (120m tall) is one of the best 100 waterfalls in Japan. Both are magnificent sights.
Legend says that the famous military commander, Taira no Masakado, dedicated and donated the approx. 29m-high, 5-storey wooden pagoda. It is said to be the oldest in Tohoku and has been designated a national treasure. Nearby, there is a giant "jiji (old man) cedar tree" thought to be 1,000 years old. Mt. Haguro is a sight worth seeing.
This scenic road is symbolic of Yamagata、 which once prospered as a mecca of mountain worship. The road、 along which practitioners of mountain asceticism walked in the past、 has beautiful new greenery and fall foliage、 and has been selected as one of the best 100 roads in Japan. Bonjigawa Gorge is near Roadside Station Gassan. Kome-no-Ko no Taki Falls is behind Kome-no-Ko no Taki Drive-in.
Sagae produces the most roses in Japan, and those roses are used in a rose bath that has proved popular. The hot spring water, which has a slight viscous feel, is extremely popular for being refreshing and for its skin-beautifying effects. *Note: The rose bath is only available in 2 locations, Kappo Ryokan Yoshimoto (Japanese-style restaurant and inn; TEL: 0237-84-2138) and Hotel Symphony Annex (TEL: 0237-83-1222). Be sure to inquire in advance, as the bath's availability differs.
At Zao, you can go mountain climbing and sightseeing in summer, and ski and view frost-covered trees in winter. The winter frost-covered trees, called "snow monsters," are especially well known. The sight of them rising out of the mountain slope when illuminated is absolutely magical!
The open-air baths were created beside a mountain stream amid the ski slopes at the highest point in the hot spring district. The expansive onsen has 2 baths each for men and women, and is large enough to accommodate 200 people at once. The baths are open from mid April to early November since they are linked to the ski slope course in winter.
One of the best scenic spots in Japan, this gorgeous ravine has stunning spring greenery and fall foliage. Nature's tapestry of blazing crimson-red colors captivates visitors during the autumn-leaf viewing season from around late October to early November.
This seafood market is located right next to Sakata Port. The fish shop on the 1st floor has an array of fresh, delicious fish just caught in the Japan Sea. The restaurant on the 2nd floor affords a view of Sakata Port and serves popular dishes such as a set meal of fresh fish and seafood atop rice at reasonable prices.