10 Best Things to Do in Yamagata

From Wagyu Beef to Ski Resorts, Best Things to Do in Yamagata

Yamagata Prefecture is located along the Sea of Japan in southwestern Tohoku area (northern Japan). The prefecture is best known for over 100 hot springs, magnificent mountain ranges, historical sites and traditional countryside villages. Yamagata Prefecture is where Japanese traditions are kept so well and there are many untouched and hidden places. It’s a perfect gem to sit back and relax in “inaka” (countryside in Japanese) atmosphere if you are tired of the city chaos.

Let’s go off the major tourist routes and discover the Japan’s hideout, Yamagata!

With this Tohoku Region Bucket List, let’s also check out the surrounding tourist attractions: Best Things to Do in Tohoku

1. Yamadera

Yamadera is the temple which has been standing firmly on the edge of the cliff over a thousand year. The temple is one of the greatest scenic views we can spot in Japan. There are approx 1,000 steps on stone path to reach the temple. The overlook view of the valley and the surrounded area from the temple is another spectacular point.

2. Mt.Zao

Zao is a well-known volcanic mountain for onsen and ski resort in Tohoku area. It’s also famous for the “Juhyo”(ice trees) which is very rare natural phenomenon due to heavy snowfall and freezing winds and looks like a crowd of snow monsters! Summer time in Zao is perfect for hiking with cool and dry air.

3. Dewa Sanzan

Dewa Sanzan is three sacred mountains of Haguro san, Gas san and Yudono san. Holy to the Japanese Shinto religion and a popular pilgrimage site visited by many including famed haiku poet Matsuo Bashō. At the foot of Haguro san, a great 5 story pagoda stands surrounded with ancient cedars .

4. Ginzan Onsen

One of the most popular onsen towns in Japan ,Ginzan Onsen, is where Japanese traditional and nostalgic atmosphere remain with classic onsen ryokans (Japanese style hotels) along the river. After relaxing in the great onsen, put on the Yukata (casual Kimono) provided by your ryokan and walk around this small and pretty town. You may feel like being in a different era.

5. “Inaka” views

Yamagata has many beautiful villages and undeveloped ares where you can still enjoy the traditional view of Japan’s countryside (“Inaka” in Japanese). Tohoku area is known for high quality rice and great landscapes of rice fields which are quite common view there, yet very special to us nowadays.

6. Cherry

The best Japanese cherry is produced in Yamagata.

7. Yonezawa Beef

Wagyu Beef from Yonezawa City in Yamagata Prefecture is one of the finest branded beef in Japan.

8. Soba

Yamagata is the place where you can taste the finest soba (buckwheat noodles)

9. Sake

If the place produces good quality rice, they do so with Sake! There are numbers Sake breweries in Yamagata Prefecture and some of them are open for public visitors. Don’t miss a chance to taste the best quality Sake in Japan!

10. Craft works

Yamagata prefecture does lots of traditional craft works especially wood carvings. “Sasano Ittobori” is one of Yamagata’s icon which is curved from a single piece of tree. Yamagaka is also known for the producing centre of Shogi (Japanese chess)pieces.

▽Here are the attractions you should experience across Japan with this Japan Bucket List!▽

▽Check more things to do in Tohoku Region!▽

▶︎10 Best Things to Do in Aomori
▶︎10 Best Things to Do in Iwate
▶︎10 Best Things to Do in Akita
▶︎11 Best Things to Do in Miyagi
▶︎10 Best Things to Do in Fukushima

What did you think about the list?? Yamagata prefecture is truly underrated, one of worth visiting prefectures in Japan! If you wanna explore Tohoku area in Japan, you may be interested in these articles, too!

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Written by

"The world is my oyster" A globetrotter 🌎 and hammock lover 🌞 who loves taking adventures to fuel wanderlust. Born and raised in Japan, I have lived and explored countries around the world. As a resident of Japan and based on my travel experience, I'd love to share my knowledge and tips for travelling Japan with my readers. I hope my story will help you plan your trip and have a great time in Japan 🌈