A short walk from JR Kaminoyama Onsen Station, Kaminoyama Castle is a reconstructed structure serving as a local history museum. The original Kaminoyama Castle was built in 1535 and dismantled in 1873. The current building is built in the Ninomaru compound (not the exact spot where the original tower stood).
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Eboshiyama Park is one of Japan's 100 Famous Cherry Blossom Spots for very good reason. The hillside park is full of spectacular cherry trees and pine trees. Adjacent to the park is Eboshiyama Hachimangu Shrine with Japan's largest stone torii gate. The park is a short taxi ride from JR Akayu Station on the Yamagata/Ou Line.
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A major summer festival in the Tohoku region, the Yamagata Hanagasa Matsuri is held annually during Aug. 5-7. For three evenings, a flower hat (hanagasa) dance parade is held along a 1.2-km parade route near JR Yamagata Station. I revisited this festival, held since 1963, on Aug. 7, 2009. Also see my YouTube video here.
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A short walk from Yamagata Station's west side (nishi-guchi) is Kajo Park, the site of Yamagata Castle. Besides stone walls, moats, and reconstructed gates and turret, the park has museums (Kyodokan City Museum and Yamagata Prefectural Museum) and sports facilities. I revisited the park in Aug. 2009.
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Mountain temple perched on a steep cliff. Also known as Risshaku temple, it belongs to the Tendai Sect as a branch temple of Enryakuji on Mt. Hiei in Shiga Prefecture. Near Yamadera Station on the JR Senzan Line, about 20 min. from Yamagata Station.
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Uesugi Shrine in Matsugasaki Park is on the site of Yonezawa Castle, hence the moats and stone walls. Home of the Uesugi clan, the castle was destroyed in 1873 by the order of the Meiji government. Uesugi Shrine enshrining Uesugi Kenshin, was built in its place. The park is noted for cherry blossoms in April. The shrine is a short bus ride (or bicycle ride) from Yonezawa Station.
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