Japan Rail Times
Rail Way
to Travel

Have the perfect Yamagata trip with HOTEL METROPOLITAN YAMAGATA!

Have the perfect Yamagata trip with HOTEL METROPOLITAN YAMAGATA!

Yamagata Prefecture (山形県 Yamagata-ken), located in the Tohoku Region, is a highly recommended but underrated place to visit the next time you’re in Japan. While other tourists flock to the hotspots of Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, escape the bustle of tourist crowds and enjoy Japan’s unique rural atmosphere and natural beauty in Yamagata! Home to beautiful attractions such as Yamadera, Zao Onsen, and Ginzan Onsen (more on those later), you will be all set for a Japan trip of a lifetime.


Make HOTEL METROPOLITAN YAMAGATA your one-stop base!

(Image credit: JR-EAST HOTELS)


A hallmark of any good trip is a hotel which offers much more than just a place to rest your head. The accessibility, comfort, and experience of the hotel is what makes a great itinerary excellent. And if you’re looking for such an accommodation for your next trip to Yamagata, look no further than the HOTEL METROPOLITAN YAMAGATA


和洋室(昼)2M.jpg (2.04 MB)

(Image credit: JR-EAST HOTELS)


As tourists with tight timelines and an unfamiliar grasp of a foreign land, convenience and accessibility is paramount. Whenever I’m travelling, it’s always a relief to know that my hotel is just a few steps away from the main train station—no more further walking or transport swaps at the end of a long day (else my weary feet will complain, “So near yet so far!”). HOTEL METROPOLITAN YAMAGATA offers just that—being directly connected to JR Yamagata Station (山形駅 Yamagata-eki) means that you will have the world at your fingertips and an easy way to bed. Furthermore, with three luxuriously cosy rooms offered (Deluxe King Double, Standard Twin Room, Japanese Juniorsuite), you will definitely be in for a treat. 


(Image credit: JR-EAST HOTELS)


HOTEL METROPOLITAN YAMAGATA isn’t just a place to stay either—a night here guarantees an immersive cultural experience unlike any other. The hotel, in particular the South Building which has been newly opened in November 2020, is embellished with natural material sourced directly from Yamagata. Enjoy the different textures of lacquer such as Akebia, Zao stone, and a variety of prefecture-produced wood which serves to create a healing space that will captivate your five senses. In addition, craftwork hailing directly from Yamagata, specially curated by designer Suto Osamu (須藤修), is featured throughout the hotel—deepening the authentic Yamagata experience. Along with the top-notch service of HOTEL METROPOLITAN YAMAGATA’s staff, your stay here will be made perfect. 


(Image credit: JR-EAST HOTELS)


For all the foodies out there—don’t worry, your taste buds won’t be forgotten during your stay at the HOTEL METROPOLITAN YAMAGATA. For dinner, indulge in local Yamagata cuisine such as Yonezawa beef and Yamagata beef Teppan-yaki. Sourced directly from the prefecture and delicately prepared by skilled chefs, be ready for a gastronomical joyride. Breakfast too is the pride and joy at HOTEL METROPOLITAN YAMAGATA. Savour a unique local Yamagata breakfast made with special seasonal foods at the Brasserie&Bar La Gare. What a perfect way to start a day of exploration!


Address: 1-1-1 Kasumicho, Yamagata, 990-0039
Nearest station: Yamagata Station (山形駅)
No. of rooms: 116
Tel: +81-23-628-1111


Direct access to popular must-visit spots

Zao Okama Crater is easily-accessible by a direct bus from HOTEL METROPOLITAN YAMAGATA. (Image credit: Yamagata Prefecture)


And explore Yamagata, you definitely will. Connected directly to JR Yamagata Station, HOTEL METROPOLITAN YAMAGATA provides unparalleled  access to many popular tourist spots. Notable examples include Yamadera (山寺), which is only around a 15-minute direct train ride (3 stops via rapid train, 5 stops via local train) away. A 40-minute direct bus ride whisks you away to Zao Onsen (蔵王温泉), where you can enjoy comforting hot spring baths or ski through snow capped peaks during winter. For a more old-world atmosphere, Ginzan Onsen (銀山温泉), while further, is straightforward to travel too from JR Yamagata Station. A direct train to Oishida Station (大石田駅 Ōishida-eki), then a bus transfer there (total travel time around 2.5 hours) will transport you to the world of rural Yamagata. 



photo6222194172429970000.jpg (418 KB)

Be rewarded by this grand view of the Yamagata valleys—worth every sweat and aching leg muscle! (Image credit: Celia Lim)


Mark my words—visiting these three unique Yamagata attractions will make you fall in love with the prefecture. Travel the footsteps of Buddhist priests who lived over a thousand years ago as you ascend 1,000 steps up to Yamadera Temple. 


Yamadera’s steps may seem daunting at first, but there are plenty of rest stops along the way, and the locals there will cheer you on! (Image credit: Celia Lim)

Be awestruck by the beautiful natural scenery which surrounds you every step of the way, and be rewarded with vast, tranquil views which sprawls across the Yamagata horizon at the end of your climb. I highly recommend a visit to Yamadera for a quintessential experience of Yamagata culture, nature and beauty. 

photo6222194172429969999.jpg (290 KB)

There it is! The famed Risshakuji Temple—also known as the Yamadera Temple—a uniquely Yamagata sight. (Image credit: Celia Lim)


End off your day with delicious Tempura (some of which are made from vegetables grown in the surrounding mountains) in the quaint local restaurants located at the mountain foot. (Image credit: Celia Lim)


Yamadera (山寺)
Address: 4456-1 Yamadera, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata 999-3301
Nearest station: Yamadera Station (山寺駅)
Admission fee: ¥300 (High School students and older), ¥200 (Middle School students), ¥100 (Elementary School students and younger)
Tel: +81 23-695-2816


Zao Onsen

Zao Ropeway. (Image credit: JR Times / Sue Lynn)


Yamagata is famous for its hot springs, so what’s a Yamagata trip without visiting some of its popular onsen villages? Zao Onsen is a hot spring village packed with activities that are suitable for different groups of visitors all year round.


rsz_1snow_monster_4.jpg (1.31 MB)

(Image credit: Yamagata Prefecture)


Take the ropeway up for a panoramic view of Mount Zao—some of the slopes are open for skiers and snowboarders to have their fill of adrenaline-pumping winter activities. 


(Image credit: Yamagata Prefecture)


Alternatively, take a stroll amongst the Snow Monsters—one of Zao Onsen’s must-see attractions in winter, which are actually snow-covered trees due to the heavy snow conditions in the higher altitudes of Mount Zao. Don’t forget to strike a pose next to these gargantuan trees!


Zao Onsen (蔵王温泉)
Address: Zaoonsen, Yamagata, 990-2301
Nearest station: Yamagata Station (山形駅)
Opening hours: Varies by facility
Tel: +81 23-694-9617


Ginzan Onsen

(Image credit: JR Times / Sue Lynn)


Nestled in the mountains of sleepy town Obanazawa is the quaint Ginzan Onsen, which was an old silver mine before it became one of Tohoku’s most well-known hot spring villages. A quick fun fact: Ginzan Onsen is said to be one of Miyazaki Hayao’s main inspirations for the famous Studio Ghibli’s film “Spirited Away”! With no modern buildings and wide roads in sight, you’ll definitely feel “spirited away” as you transport back in time with the Taisho Period infrastructure all around you. 


(Image credit: JR Times / Sue Lynn)


While Ginzan Onsen is a great hot spring destination for those visiting Yamagata any time of the year, it is best visited in winter when the old shophouses and hot spring inns are blanketed in snow, and all the retro street lamps are lit at dusk. A truly winter wonderland experience in rural Tohoku!


(Image credit: JR Times / Sue Lynn)


Ginzan Onsen (銀山温泉)
Address: 429 Ginzanshinhata, Obanazawa, Yamagata 999-4333
Nearest station: Oishida Station (大石田駅)
Opening hours: Varies by facility
Tel: +81 237-28-3933


In closing

With the ultimate blend of culture and nature, Yamagata definitely belongs in the top few of anyone’s “To Visit next in Japan” list! And don’t forget to book a stay at HOTEL METROPOLITAN YAMAGATA—the surefire way to make that perfect Yamagata trip even more seamless. Enjoy!

Share this article: