What to Do in Sakata City
Located on the Sea of Japan coast sits Sakata a medium-sized traditional style city and a must visit destination in Yamagata Prefecture. Thanks to its close proximity to Shonai Plain, the home of some of Japan’s most high-quality rice, the city has played a very important role in the culinary development of this pocket of Japan. Filled with amazing food and fascinating Edo Period artefacts, whether you’re visiting for a few hours or a few days, time in Sakata is time well spent.
When it comes to big names in the world of sake you can't go past Hatsumago, a local favorite that's now an internationally recognized sake icon. The name Hatsumago translates to first grandchild, and over decades this particular brew has become a very symbolic gift given to people celebrating the arrival of their first grandchildren. With its fruity but clear taste, this brew has become a go-to easy drinking sake in Yamagata Prefecture. If you're traveling around the area you should definitely pick up a bottle to try firsthand.
Situated in what's widely been regarded as one of the best rice growing climates in all of Japan, the Shonai Plain, Sakata city flourished as a successful centre of rice growing during the Edo period. In 1893 the Soko Rice Warehouse was built by the Sakai family as one of their main areas of operation. To this day 11 of the Sakai family's building are still in use and if you're visiting the area you can explore them firsthand. Surrounded by towering zelkova trees, it's a great way to spend an afternoon learning more about Sakata city's history.
The warehouse and nearby museum were established as tourist destinations in 2004 and they've remained a well trodden cultural centre by visitors and locals alike. Learn all about the history of the city of Sakata and just how rice production works in this collection of fascinating exhibits. Wander through the museum and the rustic warehouses to fully appreciate the often overlooked time, effort and care that goes into creating the rice we take for granted every day.
Once you've finished exploring the museum it's time to visit the Old Teahouse and Event centre. Here you can eat lunch, enjoy local performances and fully immerse yourself in the culture of Sakata city. This well preserved teahouse stands tall relatively untouched over decades of existence, giving the area an undeniably traditional feel.
Dating back to the Edo period this classic building was once the residence of the Honma family, a wealthy clan who made their fortune working as merchants in the shipping trade. These days thanks to its rich history and well preserved interior and exterior, the building is one of the city's most popular tourist destinations, and definitely worth exploring while you're in town. The house has a rather diverse history and as a result its interior is a mix of traditional Japanese merchant style housing crossed with a samurai residence. If you’re travelling by public transport the house is a 20 minute journey on foot from Sakata Station, which gives you plenty of time to soak up the city’s atmosphere.
- Facility Name
- Yamagata Pref. Sakatashi Saiwaichou 1-chome
- Information Sources:
- NAVITIME JAPAN