Yamagata, Japan

Where do you go if you want to experience Japan’s winter with the locals instead of with all the other tourists?

Zao ski, Yamagata, Japan

Yamagata is the destination for the authentic, undiscovered, and playful Japanese experience.

Gassan, Mt Ubagatake, Yamagata

Not only does the area offer one of the leading ski resorts in Japan, but the area is rich with natural resources like onsen, or hot springs where you can relax and unwind. Other natural resources include frost covered trees that are endearingly named, “snow monsters”.  A true wonder of nature, these Aomori white fir trees come in multitudes of varying shapes and sizes. They can be seen up close, lit up, or high above from the ropeway.

Torimotsu ramen

Another sight to behold is the kamakura, or snow huts – a village of snow huts you can sit and be comfortable in. Each kamakura fits a table, chairs, and a menu for six people. You can even slurp on some piping hot ramen and drinks delivered from nearby restaurants. A popular dish is the Torimotsu Ramen and with a catchphrase of, “Love and Chicken Innards Ramen,” you can’t go wrong.

If you’re there at the right time, join the locals for some of the winter festivals. With music, lights, and plenty of activities, Yamagata proves to be a playground destination.


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