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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
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 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
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. 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
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. 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
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
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 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 Quaint onsen and towering snow monsters

Part of southern Tohoku, Yamagata is known for snow monsters, impressive ski fields and hot springs

Enclosed by the Sea of Japan to the west and mountains to the east, Yamagata Prefecture is defined by its nature. Along the coast sit the port cities of Tsuruoka and Sakata, while deep inland is Zao Onsen, an area home to hot springs, sparsely visited ski slopes, and spectacular snow-covered trees referred to as "snow monsters." Mountain temple Yamadera is the subject of one of the most famous haiku poems, and Ginzan Onsen is a picturesque hot spring resort town on the site of a former silver mine.

How to Get There

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

The JR Yamagata Shinkansen serves Yamagata and connects much of the prefecture with Tokyo. It takes about two and a half hours to reach the northern terminus at Shinjo. To fly from Tokyo or further afield, the nearest major airport is Sendai Airport in neighboring Miyagi Prefecture. The JR Senzan Line connects Sendai City with Yamagata City in about 90 minutes.

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Don't Miss

    Zao Onsen, the ski and hot spring resort populated by towering snow monsters
    Yamadera, also called Risshakuji, a temple built on an imposing hill
    Mt. Gassan, the highest of the three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan
    Yamagata Castle, a humble yet historic castle located in the center of Yamagata City

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Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    Cherry blossom blooms are particularly beautiful in Kajo Park in Yamagata City and Tsukioka Park, with Kaminoyama Castle in the background.

  • Summer

    Summer is the best time to taste the area’s prized cherries or pick them yourself in Higashine. Join the locals in numerous events held across the prefecture, such as the massive Hanagasa Festival.

  • Autumn

    Festivals continue into fall with harvest-related events like the Imoni-kai potato festival. Leaves start to change color in late September, attracting hikers to eastern Yamagata's picturesque mountain gorges.

  • Winter

    Ski, snowshoe, visit the snow monsters or retreat from the cold at a traditional hot spring resort. Yamagata remains lively in winter even when covered in snow.

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