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Getting Around Yamagata

  • Thanks to its position as a popular tourist destination, Yamagata is a very a very well connected prefecture. Serviced by a number of shinkansen and local trains, Yamagata station is definitely going to be your main connection to and from the area. If you’re looking for places a little off the well worn path, then there’s a good chance the area’s bus network can get you there. Otherwise the final option is renting a car, the city of Yamagata is filled with plenty of rental car options. In summer driving is a breeze, but in winter this option is best for the more confident driver as snow covered roads can be a little treacherous.

    Getting Around Yamagata

    Getting Around Yamagata

    Yamagata is serviced by a Shinkansen that connects the area directly with Tokyo. The Yamagata Shinkansen service began in 1992, and has continued to be the main way many visitors access the area. Traveling from Tokyo the train makes stops at Fukushima and Yamagata before finally arrive in at Shinjo Station. A direct trip from Tokyo station to Yamagata station on the Yamagata Shinkansen takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes and costs 11,000 yen each way. There are a number of other alternative shinkansen routes to the area from Tokyo including the Akita Shinkansen and the Tohoku Shinkansen, both which stop at Sendai station. From there you can get a local train or bus to Yamagata station.

    Getting Around Yamagata

    Getting Around Yamagata

    The Yamagata area is connected by a network of local trains that will easily get you to all the major sightseeing hotspots in the area. When traveling along the Sea of Japan coast of Yamagata the recommended line to ride is the Uetsu Line. This line connects Akita with Niigata and is the most convenient train line to move between Sakata and Tsuruoka. If you’re travelling from Sendai station, chance are you’ll be riding the Senzan line the local train that connects Sendai Station in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture to Yamagata Station. This line connects with the Tohoku Shinkansen, and provides access to western Miyagi Prefecture and eastern Yamagata Prefecture. The last line serviced by this station is the Aterazawa Line, which connects Kita-Yamagata Station in Yamagata with Aterazawa Station in Oe, every train on this line runs through and stops at Yamagata station.

    Getting Around Yamagata

    Getting Around Yamagata

    The prefecture is also home to a number of bus lines that weave up the neighboring mountains and service the harder to reach areas. The most popular bus routes are the ones travelling to Zao Onsen village and Mt. Zao. Most of the vital buses stop at Yamagata station making it a convenient transport hub. If you’re travelling to the Zao Okama Crater Lake, take the Katta Peak (Katta Sancho) bound bus from JR Yamagata Station, from station to lake this journey takes about one and a half hours. If you’re heading to the hot spring mecca that is Zao Onsen, take the Zao Onsen bound bus run by Utoria Express from the JR Yamagata Station, the scenic trip up the mountain takes approximately 40 minutes from station to destination.

    Getting Around Yamagata

    Getting Around Yamagata

    Finally if you do have your driver’s license it may be worth considering renting a car during your stay especially during the winter months when waiting for public transport in the snow is less than ideal. The main road through the area is the Yamagata Expressway (also known as the Yamagata Jidosha-do) which is the national expressway in the Tohoku region of Japan. Owned and operated by East Nippon Expressway Company, the expressway begins in southern Miyagi Prefecture and heads west, crossing over into Yamagata Prefecture. As the route passes to the north of the Yamagata city area, it’s your main connection to many of the area’s hidden gems. Do be wary to check road reports in winter ahead of your trip however to avoid any unsafe locations or closed roads.

    Getting Around Yamagata

    Getting Around Yamagata

    Yamagata
    Address
    Yamagata Pref. Yamagatashi Futabachou 1-chome
    Phone
    Shinjo
    Address
    Yamagata Pref. Shinjoushi Tamonmachi
    Phone
    Sendai
    Address
    Miyagi Pref. Sendaishi Miyagino-ku Tsutsujigaoka 1 chome
    Phone
    Kitayamagata
    Address
    Yamagata Pref. Yamagatashi Kitamachi 1-chome
    Phone
    Aterazawa
    Address
    Yamagata Prefecture Nishimurayama county town Oe
    Phone
  • Zaonsen
    Address
    Yamagata Pref. Yamagatashi Zaouonsen
    Phone
    0236949328
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