The quick-moving Mogami River runs the length of Yamagata Prefecture from north to south. The river, known by locals as the “Mother of Yamagata,” is surrounded by beautiful scenery that changes character from season to season. In the winter, the banks and the forested hills that rise from the water are coated with snow. The best way to view this natural wonder is by taking the Mogami River Boat Ride. The boat is fitted with traditional kotatsu heaters, so the ride is toasty even on the coldest days.
The hourlong cruise winds through some of the most scenic parts of the waterway. The highlight of the river descent is the view of the majestic Shiraito Falls. Along the way, the riverboat captain offers guidance and sings traditional Yamagata river songs. A seasonal lunch of local specialties can be reserved up to three days in advance. Reservations for the tour are not necessary unless travelling with a large group.
Boats depart hourly from the River Boat Boarding Area, a five-minute walk from Furukuchi Station. Furukuchi Station is a 20-minute ride on the JR Rinku West Line from Shinjo Station, a stop on the Yamagata Shinkansen.