Amazing Seasons, Life and Culture

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Beautiful Frozen Forest Covered With Powder Snow as Snow Monsters at Mount Zao Range, Zao, Yamagata , Japan = Shutterstock

Beautiful Frozen Forest Covered With Powder Snow as Snow Monsters at Mount Zao Range, Zao, Yamagata , Japan = Shutterstock

Yamagata Prefecture! Best Attractions and Things to do

On this page, I will introduce Yamagata Prefecture located in the southwestern part of the region of Japan. There are many mountains here. And in the winter, a lot of snow falls.The above picture is Mt. Zao's winter landscape. Please watch! Trees are wrapped in snow and transform into snow monsters!

Outline of Yamagata

Zao Onsen Ski Resort and Snow Monster, Yamagata, Japan = shutterstock_11784053381

Zao Onsen Ski Resort and Snow Monster, Yamagata, Japan = shutterstock_11784053381

Map of Yamagata

Map of Yamagata

Yamagata Prefecture is an area in the southwestern part of the Tohoku region, facing the Sea of Japan in the west.

About 85% of the total area in this prefecture is a mountainous area. The water that flowed out of the mountains gathered at the Mogami River and is poured into the Sea of Japan. Many people in Yamagata prefecture live in this river basin.

There are a lot of snow in Yamagata Prefecture. If you go to Yamagata prefecture in winter, you can see a wonderful snow scene. At the same time, you will also see the people struggling to throw away the snow on the roof with scoops etc.

Access

Airport

Yamagata prefecture is divided into many areas by the mountains. Among them, if you travel in Yamagata city, you better go to Yamagata Airport by plane. It takes about 35 minutes by bus to Yamagata Airport to JR Yamagata Station.

At Yamagata Airport, scheduled flights are being operated with the following airports.
Shin Chitose (Sapporo)
Haneda (Tokyo)
Komaki (Nagoya)
Itami (Osaka)

If you go to Sakata City or Tsuruoka City on the Japan Sea side, you should use Shonai airport. At Shonai airport, regular flights are currently being operated with Haneda airport in Tokyo.

Shinkansen (Bullet train)

The Yamagata Shinkansen (bullet train) runs in Yamagata Prefecture. It stops at the following stations from Fukushima station. It is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes from Tokyo station to Yamagata station.

Yonezawa station
Takahata station
Akayu station
Kaminoyama Onsen station
Yamagata station
Tendo station
Sakuranbo Higashine station
Murayama station
Ooishida station
Shinjo station

 

Zao

Smoky Outdoor Onsen (Hot Spring) With Snow in Winter at a Ryokan of Zao Onsen, Yamagata , Japan = shutterstock

Smoky Outdoor Onsen (Hot Spring) With Snow in Winter at a Ryokan of Zao Onsen, Yamagata , Japan = shutterstock

Do you know Zao's "Juhyo"?

Zao is the mountains at the prefectural border of Yamagata and Miyagi prefectures. In these mountainous areas, trees turn like white monsters as seen in the picture above. These snow monsters are called "Juhyo". It is unusual worldwide that Juhyo can be seen much like this.

Jyuhyo occurs when a cold, strong damp wind blows in an evergreens forest called "Aomori Todomatsu" and snow falls into it. In Zao, Juhyo grows from January to February every year. Jyuhyo becomes the most beautiful in early March when the weather is stable. After mid-March, Juhyo will become thinner.

Zao Onsen ski resort is recommended

If you want to see Juhyo, you may want to go to Zao Onsen Ski Resort in Yamagata City, Yamagata Prefecture. There are many ski resorts in the mountains of Zao, both in Yamagata and Miyagi prefectures. Among them, Zao Onsen Ski Resort is the largest. It is approximately 40 minutes by bus from JR Yamagata Station to this ski resort. It is one hour from Yamagata Airport. It is one hour and 40 minutes from Sendai station.

There are two ropeways in Zao Onsen ski resort. You can take these ropeway and go to the summit of the ski resort (altitude 1,661 m). Even if you do not ski, you can ride the ropeways. When you go to the top of the mountain, the world of Juhyo like the photo above is spreading.

The mountains of Zao are volcanoes. That's why hot springs come out. You can enjoy Onsen (hot springs) at Zao Onsen ski resort.

This ski resort is open from early December until the beginning of May. Other seasons, you can enjoy hiking.

>> For details of Zao Onsen ski resort, please visit the official website

Aerial view of a scenic cable car flying over the beautiful autumn valley of Zao, a popular resort for Onsen and skiing in Yamagata, Japan = shutterstock

Aerial view of a scenic cable car flying over the beautiful autumn valley of Zao, a popular resort for Onsen and skiing in Yamagata, Japan = shutterstock

Mount Zao in Yamagata Miyagi Japan = shutterstock

Mount Zao in Yamagata Miyagi Japan = shutterstock

 

Yamadera (Risshakuji Temple)

Yamadera Temple in autumn season, Yamagata, Japan = shutterstock

Yamadera Temple in autumn season, Yamagata, Japan = shutterstock

Tourists enjoy the panorama overlooking the winter mountains from Godaido Hall viewpoint, one of the historical wooden architectures in Risshaku-ji Buddhist Temple in Yamadera, Yamagata, Tohoku, Japan = shutterstock

Tourists enjoy the panorama overlooking the winter mountains from Godaido Hall viewpoint, one of the historical wooden architectures in Risshaku-ji Buddhist Temple in Yamadera, Yamagata, Tohoku, Japan = shutterstock

Yamadera (official name is Risshakuji Temple) is a temple located 7 minutes on foot from Yamadera Station on the JR Senzan line connecting JR Yamagata Station and Sendai Station. It is approximately 15 minutes by express train from Yamagata Station to Yamadera Station.

Yamadera is the place where the well-known haiku poet Basho MATSUO (1644-1694) wrote his famous haiku "ah this silence / sinking into the rocks / voice of cicada" in 1689. In Japan, both Basho and this haiku are very famous is. Many people visit this temple to experience the quietness that Basho felt.

Actually Yamadera is a very wonderful temple.

Built in 860, this temple has a long stone stairway. It has 1015 steps. It is said that anxiety in the heart will disappear by going up this stone stairway.

The most popular building at Yamadera is Godaido from which you can see the surrounding mountains. Besides this, there are wonderful wooden buildings such as Niomon Gate, Okunoin and others.

The surroundings of Yamadera are very rich in nature. Please do refresh your mind with this old temple by all means.

>> For details of the mountain temple, please refer to the official website.

 

I appreciate you reading to the end.

 

 

About me

Bon KUROSAWA  I have long worked as a senior editor for Nihon Keizai Shimbun (NIKKEI) and currently work as an independent web writer. At NIKKEI, I was the editor-in-chief of the media on Japanese culture. Let me introduce a lot of fun and interesting things about Japan. Please refer to this article for more details.

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投稿日:2018-05-28 更新日:

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