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Onsen, Wagyu and JFK

As you can check out my latest post, I visited Yamagata Prefecture, situated in the Tohoku region, northeast of Japan, in 3 days and 2 nights, in late July.

Yamagata is famous for onsen or hot spring and as the kingdom of food, so let me introduce a popular onsen resort and a production area of wagyu beef.

  1. Ginzan Onsen
    The hot spring resort is derived from the name of “Nobesawa Ginzan”, which once prospered as a large silver mine in the early Edo period. About 100 years ago, each inn was rebuilt into a Western-style 3- to 4-storied wooden structure all at once, and bridges and roadsides were also improved.

    After WWII, the westernization of the hot spring resort has settled down, and the appearance has become closer to Japanese style. In 1986, they enacted the “Ginzan Onsen House Preservation Ordinance” and decided to preserve the tasteful inns to utilize for tourism reconstruction.
    In 1999, the number of tourists increased due to the extension of the Shinkansen, and they are still making efforts to make it a hot spring resort that makes the best use of tradition.”Ginzan Onsen”, which seems to have jumped out of the world of painting, is said to be a model for the stage of the blockbuster anime movie “Spirited Away” released in 2001.Winter may be the best season because the gas lamps that light the silver world are more romantic, but it is a hot spring resort that you can enjoy no matter what season you visit.
  2. Yonezawa
    Yonezawa City is located at the southernmost tip of Yamagata Prefecture and in the Yonezawa Basin, which extends to the foot of the Azuma Mountain Range, which is the source of the Mogami River, “the mother river of Yamagata”, and borders Fukushima Prefecture.
    In addition to the abundant hot springs, Yonezawa is a “city rich in nature’s blessings” where you can easily enjoy summer mountain climbing and skiing. The townscape as a castle town was formed because the Date clan dominated the Okitama region, including the city for 212 years and the Uesugi clan for 272 years. Both clans were in the samurai class.
    The prototype of the current town was built by Naoe Kanetsugu, a renowned vassal of the Uesugi clan.There are many celebrities who are related to the city, but Uesugi Yozan is the most famous.Yozan is known as the 9th feudal lord of the Yonezawa clan, for his achievements in rebuilding the clan, whose finances were so tight. In addition, his political beliefs were similar to democratic ideas even in the feudal era at that time, and former President John F. Kennedy named Yozan as Japan’s most respected politician.Speaking of Yonezawa, wagyu beef is known all over Japan. Weather conditions with large temperature differences throughout the year, clear air and clean water make special marbled beef.
    I enjoyed the Yonezawa beef course at a famous restaurant for lunch.

Would you like to go to Yamagata Prefecture with these two posts?

Yuki Takano, a member of iTWS japan LLP
e-mail: yuki.takano@i3ws.co.jp

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