Introducing Yamagata Prefecture
As its name (literally 'mountain shape') suggests, Yamagata-ken (山形県) is a land of mountains. Its most famous peaks are the three sacred ones that make up Dewa Sanzan, revered by yamabushi (mountain ascetics) and hikers alike. But it is also a land of hot springs, like Zaō Onsen, with its dramatic caldera lake and challenging ski slopes. Yamadera, the temple perched atop a cliff, has been enchanting visitors for centuries, among them the legendary travelling poet Matsuo Bashō.