The city of Yonezawa is located in Okitama, the southernmost region of Yamagata Prefecture. Located two hours away from Tokyo by shinkansen, Yonezawa is a great place to visit for those looking to learn about the deep history of Japan and see its beautiful natural sights.
Built as a castle town, Yonezawa is the former home of the Uesugi clan of samurai. With a reign lasting 272 years, this rich history still lives on in Yonezawa today. In fact, the current location of Uesugi Shrine is where Yonezawa Castle once stood. Visitors can stop by the Uesugi Museum, located near Uesugi Shrine, to see documents, artifacts, and artwork from Yonezawa's history.
The layout of Yonezawa began to take shape during the Kamakura period (1185-1333). The Date clan ruled for 212 years, and the Uesugi clan ruled for 272 years, both having dominion not only over Yonezawa, but over the Okitama region. Due to the influence of these clans, Yonezawa took the form of a castle town. The current layout of the city was devised by Uesugi clan retainer Naoe Kanetsugu.