Yamagata

Restaurant Guide in Yamagata

Yamagata is a prefecture in the Tohoku region that faces the Sea of Japan, but the capital city of Yamagata is located in the inland area. Yamagata is known as the production site of a variety of fruits and is even called the "Fruit Kingdom." Especially, brand cherries such as Satonishiki and the high-quality pear, La France, are well-known. Yonezawa city in

the southern part of the prefecture produces Yonezawa beef famed as one of the three great Wagyus of Japan. Other brand beef named after the production site such as Iide beef and Obanazawa beef are collectively called “Yamagata beef.” Yamagata consumes the highest amount of ramen in Japan, and Yamagata people are known as noodle lovers. It is said that in Yamagata, the custom of eating ramen to entertain house guests began after the World War II. Almost all soba noodle shops in Yamagata prefecture serve ramen as well. Local signature ramen such as Yamagata ramen and Sakata ramen were created, and cold ramen popular in summer is said to have originated in Yamagata. Fall imoni-kai (yam cooking party) is another unique event in Yamagata. It is an interactive community event for which people get together at a communal place such as a river terrace to cook taro and other ingredients in a big pot and enjoy it together. As for tourist spots, Mount Zao which is part of the Ou mountain range is famous as a hot spring and ski resort. Also, tours of the three shrines of Dewa to visit the Shinto shrine on Mount Gassan, Haguro-san, and Yudono-san is popular among middle aged and senior tourists. In Yonezawa city, temple and historical sites associated with the war general, Naoe Kanetsugu, who is known for his unique armor helmet with a letter of “love” on it, remain. As for festivals, Yamagata is known for its Hanagasa matsuri. People parade with sedge hats decorated with red flowers to the rhythm of Hanagasa ondo while calling out “Yassho, makasho.” This annual festival held in August is a festive one since women are the primary dancers.

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