Yamagata (山形) is a pleasant, bustling inaka (rural) capital that makes a comfortable base for exploring the mountain trails around Yamadera and as a stopover en route to Zaō Onsen and Ginzan Onsen, tucked away in the surrounding countryside. There's little to draw travellers to the town itself, though the pottery district of Hirashimizu is definitely worth a peek, and when night falls there is plenty of action to be found in the entertainment district.
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