The Best Times to Visit Yamagata

The Mogami River, one of the most rapid rivers in Japan, is also known for having one of the most beautiful sakura landscapes in Japan. Known as the “Thousand Sakura Trees”, this 2 kilometer stretch of river bank has over 300 sakura trees lined up, planted in commemoration of the Taisho Emperor’s rise to the throne.  There are also cruises available on the Mogamikyo-Basho line boat that gently goes down the river. Enjoy the spring season as you float across the river.

Photo Cred: Flickr user INABA Tomoaki[email protected]/15297446535/
Okama Crater in Summer
Between Yamagata and Miyagi prefecture is the Okama Crater, on Mount Zao, an active volcano. The Crater is magnificent in its shape and size, but cannot be approached during the winter, making summer the best time to enjoy the outdoors. There are also Onsen relatively nearby, as well as a shrine you can visit and a restaurant and visitors center on a nearby peak (Kattadake). The crater is called Okama due to its resemblance to the cooking pot of the same name. Both Okama Crater and Mount Zao are must-sees if you are interested in hiking and nature.

Photo Cred: Flickr user mrhayata[email protected]/319616892/
Momiji Park in Autumn
The Momiji Park in Yamagata is the prefecture’s representative autumn point of interest. Originally the garden of Hodoji Temple, the park is now open to all, and is especially beautiful when all of its Momiji Maple leaves turn bright red and begin falling in Autumn. Around the end of October to the beginning of November is the best time to visit, and is best enjoyed by taking a stroll around the main pond.
Zao Hot Spring in Winter
The Zao Hot spring, located near Mount Zao (an active volcano) is Japan’s leading hot spring destination, and is very popular as a winter dating destination due to its proximity to a ski resort. Its outdoor hot springs are built up to 4 stories high, and the water is brought down from each level through steps. The village itself was founded about 1900 years ago, and the water is slightly sulfuric in smell, but is good for health. Perfect for those winter days when you just want to warm up and relax in a hot bath. 

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