Attractions

Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Yamadera

Risshaku-ji

The 'Temple of Standing Stones', more commonly known as Yamadera, rests atop a rock-hewn staircase weathered over the centuries by unrelenting elements. At the foot of the mountain, guarded by a small lantern, is th…
Top Choice Mountain in Dewa Sanzan

Haguro-san

The 2446 stone steps through ancient cedars to Haguro-san's summit (419m) have been smoothed by centuries of pilgrims. The climb, taking up to two hours, passes Gojū-no-tō (五重塔), a beautiful wooden five-storey pagod…
Top Choice Mountain in Dewa Sanzan

Gas-san

Accessible from July to September, Gas-san (1984m) is the highest of Dewa Sanzan's sacred mountains. From Hachigōme (八合目; eighth station), the route passes through an alpine plateau to Kyūgōme (九合目; ninth station) i…
Top Choice Mountain in Dewa Sanzan

Yudono-san

Accessible from May to October, Yudono-san (1504m) is the spiritual culmination of the Dewa Sanzan trek. Coming from Gas-san, it's a short walk from the stream bed at the end of the descent to Yudono-san-jinja.
Shinto Shrine in Dewa Sanzan

Gassan-jinja

At the peak of Gas-san is the deeply spiritual Shintō shrine of Gassan-jinja. Before entering, you must be 'purifed': bow to receive the priest's benediction, then brush yourself head-to-toe with the slip of paper, …
Shinto Shrine in Dewa Sanzan

Yudono-san-jinja

Beyond the giant red torii (gate) of this shrine, ancient tradition – and stern-faced priests – forbid disclosure of what you witness. It's forbidden to photograph and taboo to discuss this sacred natural shrine, so…
Aquarium in Tsuruoka

Kamo Aquarium

The world's largest jellyfish tank – containing 30 to 40 species at any one time – was given a spark by a Nobel Prize–winning scientist who discovered a fluorescent protein in belt jellyfish and taught the aquarium …
Temple in Tsuruoka

Zenpō-ji

Seven kilometres west of Tsuruoka is this Zen Buddhist temple, complete with five-tier pagoda and large gateway. It dates from the 10th century, when it was dedicated to the Dragon King, guardian of the seas. Near t…
Historic Site in Yamagata

Hirashimizu Pottery District

In the 19th century there were dozens of fiery kilns lining the Hazukashi-gawa turning out beautiful bluish-grey mottled pieces known as nashi-seiji (pear skin), but now only a few remain. You can purchase ceramics …
Historic Building in Sakata

Historical Obata ('NK Agent') Building

This wonderful, unique museum, or rather, the building that houses it, featured in the 2009 Academy Award–winning Best Foreign Language film, Okuribito (おくりびと; Departures). A bunch of other locations around town wer…