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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

TOHOKU Yamagata A simple and charming side of Japan

Part of southern Tohoku, Yamagata is famed for its rustic agricultural charms and impressive ski fields

Encased by the Sea of Japan to the west and mountains to the east, Yamagata offers visitors a chance to experience many aspects of Japan in one place. Along the coast sit the fascinating port cities of Tsuruoka and Sakata, while deep inland is Zao Onsen, an area also home to some of the least-known ski slopes in Japan. Scenic valleys and lush farmlands are scattered throughout the area, offering some of the best cherries and rice available, among many other products.

How to Get There

Yamagata Prefecture is accessible via train from Tokyo. Alternatively, you can fly to Sendai Airport and take local trains into the area.

The JR Yamagata Shinkansen serves Yamagata and connects Shinjo in the north of the prefecture with Tokyo (two and a half hours). To fly from Tokyo or further afield, the nearest major airport is in neighboring Sendai Prefecture. The JR Senzan Line connects Sendai City and Yamagata City (90 minutes).

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Don't Miss

    Mt. Gassan, the highest of the Three Mountains of Dewa
    Yamagata Castle, a humble yet historic castle located in the city of Yamagata's center
    Risshaku-ji Temple, which sits at the foot of an imposing hill
    Zao Onsen, the ski and hot spring resort populated by towering snow monsters

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Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    The cold lingers and spring doesn't get into full swing until early-mid April when the cherry blossoms make an appearance. If you're planning to view the blooms lit up in the evening, dress warm.

  • Summer

    Summer is the best time to taste the area’s prized cherries and join the locals in the numerous festivals held across the prefecture. August is peak festival season.

  • Autumn

    Festivals continue into fall with harvest-related events like the Imoni potato festival. Leaves turn early from late September attracting hikers to eastern Yamagata's picture-perfect mountain gorges.

  • Winter

    Ski, snowshoe, visit the "snow monsters" of Yamagata at their peak in early February, or retreat from the cold at a traditional hot spring resort. Although cold, Yamagata remains lively in winter.

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