Yamagata - the land of cherry blossoms and ramen
Yamagata is a small province, located in the south of Tohoku, Japan. It is around 170 minutes from Tokyo via Shinkansen and is home to an incredible natural scenery. In the journey of discovery northeastern Japan, moving from Niigata to Yamagata, I went through the spectacular roads, craggy mountains while enjoyed amazingly beautiful spring weather.
The first point in the journey is to discover Sasagawa beach, one of the famous tourist attractions in Japan. Down to the beach, we pass the stone steps. Along the road are those bright-yellow blooming daisies. The sea here is very quiet with crystal clear water. And right upon us, there is a blue tranquil sky. We must say that Sasagawa is as beautiful as a fairy painting, reflecting on the clear blue waters.
Leaving Sasagawa, we get back to the road, visiting the hot springs resort Atsumi. When arriving at this resort, I was surprised to speechless. Atsumi acres situates among the mountains, being like a peaceful town left over from hundreds of years ago. The town with very little inhabitants, covered by mountains and tranquil heaven.
There are numerous places in Yamagata to view cherry blossoms - but Kajo Park is the main place. Most Cherry Blossoms are planted around walkways, which are also illuminated at night.
Yamagata is covered in cherry blossoms
Yamagata also has another hot springs resort - Ginzan Onsen (Silver Mountain Hot Spring). This hot springs town lies in Yamagata Prefecture and borders neighboring Miyagi Prefecture. The area was named "Ginzan" because of a silver mine discovered there around 500 years ago. The whole town wears an ancient architecture. Ginzan Onsen especially beautiful at night when the traditional houses here are lighted up. There are two public baths (300-500 JPY) and free foot bathing service. Guests can also visit a silver mine with more than 500-year history.
Coming to Yamagata in April, you have the opportunity to witness the "summer snow".. You will immensely enjoy going through the high snow walls, being up to 9 meters.
Another interesting destination in Yamagata is to visit the city of Tsuruoka. Traveling to this city, we not only visit the renowned university of the samurai but also enjoy delicious wagashi cake. At the first glance, I thought it is fake food. Wagashi are very lovely traditional Japanese confections that are often served with tea.
These wagashi cakes are very eye-catching and have a sweet taste
Depending on the season, but the people will produce the different types of Wagashi. Normally, spring cakes will be brightly and cheerfully colored. When summer comes, wagashi must be made with a transparent and freshness look. Meanwhile, the autumn version of wagashi is presented in shapes of flaming red maple leaves. Winter version of wagashi must bring diners a warm feeling.
Yamagata is where the Japanese ramen is mostly consumed
Another famous dish in Yamagata is the ramen from Sakata city. Ramen is inexpensive and widely served in every restaurant in Japan. However, each region has different ramen recipes and taste. Yamagata has the highest population of ramen lovers in Japan, and data shows that the people of Yamagata eat over twice as much as the average Japanese citizen. And it's no surprise that you should definitely enjoy the special flavor of local ramen here.