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Yamagata City Area

Yamagata City is an incredibly conveniently located city, being just a short trip away from nationally renowned sightseeing spots like Mt. Zao and Yamadera. Also, you can reach neighboring Sendai city in an hour long drive on the expressway, or reach Sendai Airport in an hour and a half. Not only that, Yamagata City is adjacent to an enormous number of hot springs (onsen), including those in the Tendo Hot Springs and Kaminoyama Hot Springs areas, making Yamagata City a convenient central location for any sight seeing trip to Yamagata Prefecture.
Be sure not to miss the major events in the Yamagata City that attract attention from across the country, such as the Hanagasa Matsuri festival in the summer, Japan’s Biggest Imoni Festival in the fall, or the Yamgata International Documentary Film Festival, which is held once every other spring.

The Bunshokan

The Bunshokan: Once the Prefectural Government Building in Yamagata, it has been designated an Important National Cultural Asset.

Hanagasa Matsuri

Shouts of excitement and the bold sound of taiko drumming fills the air at this festival. Groups of dancers in vibrant costumes and holding hanagasa, hats decorated with flowers, fill up the Yamagata City Main Street to perform the traditional Hanagasa dance, followed by a procession of gorgeously decorated, colorful floats. This beautiful festival that lights up the midsummer night is known throughout Japan as one of the Four Great Festivals of Japan’s Northeastern Tohoku area. During the festival, there is even a Walk-In Corner set up so that anyone can experience the Hanagasa Matsuri dance for themselves alongside seasoned Hanagasa dancers.

  • Location: From the Tokamachi-kado Area to the Bunshokan
  • Access: Approximately 15 minutes by foot from JR Yamagata Station
  • Festival Dates: Yearly from August 5th to August 7th
  • Festival Time: 18:00—21:30
  • For more information, contact the Yamagata Hanagasa Association, Yamagata Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Japanese)
    Address: 990-8501 Yamagata-ken, Yamagata-shi, Midori-cho 1-9-30 Midori-cho Kaikan 3F
    Phone: +81-23-642-8753
    Yamagata Chamber of Commerce and Industry Web Site (Japanese)
Hanagasa Matsuri

Japan’s Biggest Imoni Festival

“Imoni” literally means “simmered potatoes,” and it is a stew combining taro potatoes and beef, among other ingredients. Yamagata is known for its imoni parties in the fall, where friends and family gather along the riverside to enjoy imoni together. In addition to private imoni parties, since 1989 Japan’s Biggest Imoni Festival has been held annually on the first Sunday of September on the Mamigasaki riverbank. The imoni for this event is cooked in an enormous pot 6 meters in diameter using 3 tons of taro potatoes, 1.2 tons of beef, 3,500 sheets of konnyaku, 3,500 onions, 700 liters of soy sauce, approximately 90 liters of sake, and 200 kilograms of sugar. This is all prepared in 6 tons of water, which requires 6 tons of oak firewood to heat. It truly is the biggest and most delicious imoni party in all of Japan.

  • Location: Yamagata City, Mamigasaki River Bank near the Soutsukibashi Bridge
  • Access: Take a shuttle bus directly to and from Japan’s Biggest Imoni Festival on the day of the event. Busses depart from JR Yamagata Station and the Yamagata Prefectural Office.
  • Date of Event: Yearly on the first Sunday of September
  • For more information, contact Japan’s Biggest Imoni Festival Association, Yamagata Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Japanese)
    Address: 990-8501 Yamagata-ken, Yamagata-shi, Midori-cho 1-9-30 Midori-cho Kaikan 3F
    Phone: +81-23-622-0141   Fax: +81-23-622-0146
    Japan’s Biggest Imoni Festival Web Site (Japanese)
Japan’s Biggest Imoni Festival

Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (YIDFF)

This is the first Documentary Film Festival in Asia. There are directors and films from across the globe at this festival, which has a special focus on Asia.

  • Location: Yamagata City Movie Theaters and Public Halls
  • Dates and Duration of Event: Approximately a week in October and/or November in odd years. The next festival will be in 2009.
  • For more information, contact the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Office (Japanese)
    Address: 990-0044 Yamagata-ken, Yamagata-shi, Kinomi-cho9-52, Kinomi Manshon 201
    Phone: +81-23-666-4480   Fax: +81-23-625-4550
    YIDFF Web Site

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[For More Information Contact]
(Japanese and English)
The Yamagata Tourism Information Center
Yamagata Prefecture, Yamagata City, Jonanmachi, 1-1-1, Kajo Central
Phone +81-23-647-2333   Fax +81-23-646-6333   E-mail info@yamagatakanko.com