This art museum was opened by the Homma merchant family in 1947, making it Japan’s first private art gallery to be established in the postwar period. The museum’s main building, called Seienkaku, is the family’s former villa, built in the traditional shoin-zukuri architectural style over 200 years ago.
The name Yamagata means “mountain shape” and is certainly an apt name for this prefecture: there are lots of mountains here to satisfy your outdoor ambitions. You can make a pilgrimage to the top of the three sacred mountains of Dewa, or ski and snowboard between the “snow monsters” of Mount Zao. But Yamagata is not all mountains, and has its fair share of historical and artistic points of interest as well, including the Dewa Sanzan five-tiered pagoda, Japanese garden Kakubu-en, and the Domon Ken Museum of Photography.
TOKYO (NARITA) TO Yamagata
Things to do in Yamagata
Ken Domon was one of the photographers that best represented postwar Japan: a master in the field who established the concept of realism in photography. This commemorative museum, Japan’s first museum of photography, is home to his entire body of work: over 70,000 photographs.
Located in what was once the outer courtyard of Tsuruoka (Sakai) Castle, the Chido Museum is a collection of historical buildings from the late Edo, Meiji, and later periods that have been relocated here and now illustrate the history and culture of the area.
With a peak elevation of 2,236 meters and its foot dipping into the sea, Mount Chokai is a beautiful free-standing mountain sometimes called the “Fuji of Dewa.” It has long been revered as the guardian of the surrounding area’s inhabitants.
At the base of Mt. Chokai is Tamasudare Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the Tohoku region. It is said to have been named by Kobo Daishi, founder of Shingon Buddhism, and is popular as a “power spot” because of the negative ions generated by the rushing water.
Let the river carry you away to experience the spectacular Mogami Gorge on this scenic boat ride! Along the way you will get to stop at 120m Shiraito Falls, considered one of the top 100 waterfalls in Japan.
These images were carved from andesite volcanic rock deposited in the Sea of Japan by an eruption of Mt. Chokai. In 1864, wishing for the proliferation of Buddhism and the people’s salvation through enlightenment, Priest Kankai, the 21st head of Kaizen-ji Temple of Fukura in Yuza, called for the creation of these holy images.