Shonai, Home to the Bountiful Mogami River
Located along the Sea of Japan in Yamagata Prefecture, the Shonai region has been a famous rice-growing region since ancient times.
Wrapped in abundant nature, including the Mogami River and Dewa Mountains, there is so much to see in Shonai.
Here are some attractions in Shonai that you'll want to visit by rental car.
Mount Haguro is one of the Three Mountains of Dewa. It has flourished as the home of the Shugendo school, a religion centered around mountain asceticism which is unique to Japan.
The five-story pagoda on the mountain is the only such pagoda in the Tohoku region to be registered as a national treasure. It has a quaint appearance and is said to have been built by samurai Taira no Masakado.
It is sometimes lit up for special events, and also serves as the venue of a variety of gatherings including concerts and live music events.
Other attractions to check out include the ancient tree of “Jisugi” which has stand witness to history for over a thousand years, and the Suga waterfall which is also known as the Fudo waterfall.
Tsuruoka Municipal Kamo Aquarium
Tsuruoka Municipal Kamo Aquarium, the only aquarium in the prefecture, is home to a diverse range of creatures from the ocean, lakes, and rivers.
The aquarium marks its name in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest variety of jellyfish.
Visitors can enjoy watching the colorful jellyfish drift through their tanks, or also try tasting them in jellyfish ramen noodles and ice cream at this fun, unique aquarium.
Boating on the Mogami River
The Mogami River - see it gather speed with the waters of the early summer rains. Depicted in the poem of Japan’s famous poet Matsu Basho, the Mogami River has brought riches to Yamagata with its abundant waters, and can be considered the spiritual home of the prefecture's residents.
You can enjoy a one-hour boat ride on this famous river.
Experience the rich river first-hand while gazing at the scenery with seasonal overlays and listening to the boating songs and deceptively eloquent talks of the boat guide.
Tsuruoka Municipal Fujisawa Shuhei Memorial Museum
The Tsuruoka Municipal Fujisawa Shuhei Memorial Museum is located in Tsuruoka Park, which once was home to Tsurugaoka Castle.
The museum was opened in 2010 in memory of the Tsuruoka-born author Shuhei Fujisawa, who is known for historical fictions, such as The Twilight Samurai and After the Flowers.
Putting on display materials such as manuscripts, notes, and writing implements, the museum also reproduces the author’s study which had existed in Tokyo.
Here you don't have to imagine where these famous works were created; you can see it first-hand!
Experience Shonai by rental car!
The central train station in Shonai can be accessed by Shinkansen bullet trains and express trains.
However, many of these attractions are far from the central station, and rail access to these places from the central station is not very convenient.
Aside from rice, Shonai is also a gourmet paradise full of culinary delights, such as hatahata fish, oysters, salmon, sandfish, and other delicious seafood.
We hope you'll take on the challenge of exploring Shonai by rental car.