Yonezawa is located in the southernmost tip of Yamagata prefecture right by the Azuma Mountains where it shares a border with Fukushima prefecture. The mountain range is also where the Mogami river, which cuts across Yamagata, originates.
With an area of 548.74㎢, Yonezawa is the 4th largest of Yamagata's 35 municipalities.
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.
While its summers are warm and humid, its temperatures plunge rapidly during winter, which is characterised by heavy snowfall. It is one of several municipalities that have been classified as a severely heavy snowfall zone.
At its peak, the annual snowfall in urban regions can exceed 100 cm, while in some rural areas this can even exceed 10 m!
The majority of the Azuma Mountains south of the city is contained within Bandai-Asahi National Park, where you can enjoy the majestic seasonal sights that the mountains offer. Yonezawa is also renowned for its onsen hot springs, which are collectively known as "Yonezawa's 8 Springs". In addition to Onogawa Onsen in the city outskirts, Yonezawa is home to Ubayu Onsen, Odaira Onsen, Namegawa Onsen, Shintakayu Onsen, Goshiki Onsen, Yunosawa Onsen, and Shirabu Onsen, which is one of three famed onsen sites in Yamagata with a history extending as far back as the 14th century.
Yonezawa is a city blessed with a rich natural landscape that can be enjoyed throughout the year regardless of season. Drop by for some skiing in the snowy alps, or go on a hiking trip after all the snow has melted!