• TOKYO
  • YAMAGATA

SAVOR THE FLAVOR

Savor popular confectionary unique to Tokyo in a “depachika,” then set off on a tour to enjoy gourmet food that is only available in Yamagata. This is a luxurious tour that will allow you to enjoy Yonezawa beef, cherries, Japanese sake and other gourmet delights, along with grand, panoramic views.

Official Tokyo Travel Guide
http://www.gotokyo.org/en/index.html

Local government official website
http://yamagatakanko.com.e.db.hp.transer.com/

TRAVELER

  • Miss TamChiak
    Blogger
    Reside in Singapore
  • Chehui Peh
    Masters student
    Reside in Tokyo
    Home country: Singapore

Singapore Changi Airport

JAL038 Examine the directions from your country

  • Miss TamChiak

    <Flight>
    The seat is of course comfortable, the take-off was on time and the aircraft is great.

Haneda Airportmore

The airport serves as an air gateway for Tokyo. The passenger terminal is filled with various commercial facilities, and visitors can command a panoramic view of Tokyo Bay from the rooftop observation deck, so that every one, even those who are not flying, can enjoy the terminal.

Tokyo Metropolitan Area

Day1

TOKYO

Samurai Training Tokyomore

"Try out the authentic samurai experience!"
Yumenoya is place dedicated to Japanese cultural experiences produced by the Takafuji-ryu style of creative traditional Japanese dance with a history of over 80 years. The main content is the Samurai Experience.
The Samurai Experience is the only service of its kind in the Asakusa tourist area.
Change into a hakama (man's formal divided skirt) and after learning basic sword forms and movements, try out what you learned in a staged sword fight. At the end, you'll receive an official "Samurai Training" certificate from the school.
The entire experience takes just about 60 minutes, so it's easy to fit into your schedule.

  • Miss TamChiak

    <Samurai Training>
    Want to know how to fight like a samurai? Take a Samurai Lesson at Asakusa! Have fun learning some basic Samurai skills here. After changing into a hakama or kimono, we learnt basic sword forms and movements. It's really interesting to learn about the arts and we did a sword fight with our partners at the end. In addition, we also receive an official Samurai Training" certificate from the school! The entire experience takes in a little over an hour, so it's easy to fit into your schedule. ""

  • Chehui Peh

    <Samurai Training >
    The day started off with the exciting job of choosing a Yukata to wear. With heaps of choices one will be spoilt for choice but fear not for the professionals are there to help. Following the you'll have to put on these baggy black pants-like garment called a Hakama, which would allow for easy movement, even a split when you can manage it. It kept me upright and reminded me of exactly why I find paintings of Japanese women in Kimono so elegant- once the geta (traditional wooden clogs) are on my feet, the tight hem of the Yukata makes it impossible to take big steps or to jump around like a deranged rabbit. After the hour session however, I’m pretty sure despite my neat laminated Samurai certificate I’m further away from becoming one than when I started, albeit with a better grasp of ‘how to fake a death scene’.

Walk
3 minutes

Ebisuya Rickshawmore

The Ebisuya Rickshaw is currently one of Japan's most popular activities.
The rickshaw driver is dressed in a cool ninja style, and the excellent riding comfort and the nimble and unique guide will add another layer of excitement to your trip. In addition to guiding you to the major tourist spots, your driver will take you to small, out-of-the-way places hidden among the small back streets that are characteristic of Asakusa and unreachable by buses or taxis. See the Geisha Town, Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple, and get food info only known by locals that you can't find in any guidebook. On the way, the driver will take the perfect photos of you in their favorite spots with their favorite photo compositions! These are sure to make excellent mementos for any trip. If you're wondering, "Where should we go besides Senso-ji Temple?", leave it to us. We will expertly introduce spots where you can walk and have fun. You're certain to have a fulfilling tour of Asakusa even after getting off the rickshaw. For a thorough taste of Tokyo's Asakusa, leave everything up to the Ebisuya Rickshaw!

  • Miss TamChiak

    <Rickshaw Ride>
    If it is your first time to Asakusa, why no hop on the rickshaw to have a nostalgic ride while discovering Japanese culture? The rickshaw drivers speak good English and they are cheerful, friendly and certainly very macho! They will bring you around the lively and nostalgic downtown streets and you will also pass by the bright and colourful Senso-Ji Temple - Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple.

    <Soba lunch>
    Namiki Yabusoba is a famous soba restaurant in Asakusa, Tokyo. Established since 1913, it is said that one of the biggest and oldest restaurant of Yabusoba with recipes passed down from generation. Their specialty is the thick dipping sauce with strong soy sauce flavor. The noodles are hand-made from 100% buckwheat flour that was milled in the same day and gives it a moderate bite.

  • Chehui Peh

    <Rickshaw Ride>
    Complete with hand-printed signs and bright smiles the team at Ebisu-ya greets our little group, before escorting us to our pretty little carriage for one. The friendly rickshaw drivers then proceed to give us a tour of the lesser-known Asakusa around the vicinity of the temple.

    <Soba lunch>
    A tiny unassuming shop on one of the side streets, this Edo-style soba shop named Namiki boasts long queues at its entrance during meal times, making it hard to miss even for a first timer. The delicious, chewy and fragrant soba noodles were perfect together with the thick soy sauce dipping sauce, and the tempura was fried to perfection and was crunchy whilst being light on the tummy.

Toei Asakusa Line
Asakusa Station → Asakusabashi Station
3 minutes / 180 yen

JR Sobu Line (JR EAST PASS)
Asakusabashi Station → Shinjuku Station
20 minutes / 170 yen

Depachika (Isetan Shinjuku Store)more

RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS

Located near the Shinjuku Sanchome subway station is the Shinjuku branch of Isetan department stores, whose aim is to be the "world's best fashion museum". This "fashion" can also be felt on the food floor.
This floor features a lineup of food from in and outside Japan, such as well-reputed delicatessen items made with fish, meat, and vegetables, exquisite sweets, and ingredients that would make foodies sing praises. The variety of food on this floor is garnering a lot of attention.
With visually beautiful Japanese sweets that change with the seasons, a sake-tasting corner, and a delicatessen serving Japanese food that should definitely be tried when visiting Japan, Japanese culture can be experienced on the food floor.

  • Miss TamChiak

    <DepaChika (Department Store Underground Food Shops)>
    We went to Isetan and fell in love with the depachika (department store food hall) because they have everything to keep your tummy full! Sample your way through cakes cookies, tea etc and you can literally get your lunch, brunch and dinner here. There are beautiful bento boxes and even wine for purchase. This is a true representation of Japan in terms of taste, presentation, and service.

    <Dinner at Kaiten-Zushi restaurant>
    Kaitenzushi are less expensive sushi restaurants, where the sushi dishes are presented to the customers on a conveyor belt. We went to Ginza nNumazuko, a sushi-bar in Ginza that serves fresh sushi on a conveyor belt.

  • Chehui Peh

    <DepaChika (Department Store Underground Food Shops)>
    The basement of Isetan department store is a heaven of food, food and more food. Complete with a supermarket as well as a cooked foods section where everything from bento to snacks to confectionaries and Japanese desserts can be found, it is a one-stop shop for everything. The atmosphere here is bustling, busy and crowded as people mill around hunting for food to fulfill their cravings. The Japanese snacks section was my favorite. There were old shops selling wagashi (fine Japanese desserts), nutty snacks, and even one that did Japanese fusion desserts, resulting in a case full of puddings and toppings in vacuum packs for easy transporting. For those that would love a bit of Japanese sake, the sake section is filled with shelf after shelf of sake, ranging from the spicy ones to the sweeter options.

    <Stroll Around Shinjuku>
    Shinjuku is a busy transport hub that is always loud, bright, and embodies just what a cosmopolitan city would be. Despite having lived in Tokyo for a while I constantly still get confused and lost admist the sea of people and tall buildings. What I love about Shinjuku, however, is how everything can be found here, and for all ages and budgets.

    <Stroll Around Ginza>
    Ginza is an upscale shopping district in the middle of Tokyo. Compared to Shinjuku, the lights here are a little less glaring, and it is a little less loud. I love the new Tokyu department store in Ginza. The rooftop terrace boasts really great views of the crossing below.

    <Dinner at Kaiten-Zushi restaurant>
    Located in an unassuming building on one of the main streets of Ginza, Numazu serves affordable and fresh sushi. Despite being a conveyor belt sushi establishment, they focus more on the quality and freshness on the fish rather than the novelty factor.

JR Chuo Line (JR EAST PASS)
Shinjuku Station → Tokyo Station
13 minutes / 200 yen

Hotel Ryumeikan Tokyo

  • Miss TamChiak

    <Stay at Ryumeikan Hotel Tokyo>
    If you are planning a trip to Tokyo and looking for room stay, my recommendation is to book Ryumeikan Hotel Tokyo which is in a walking distance from Tokyo station. The hotel is relatively new and the bed is very comfortable.

  • Chehui Peh

    <Stay at Ryumeikan Hotel Tokyo>
    Conveniently located across Tokyo Station, the hotel boosts beautiful views of the streets below and of surrounding buildings and their rooftop gardens. Rooms are comfortable and more spacious than one might imagine for a hotel in the middle of the city.

Day2

TOHOKU(YAMAGATA)

8:08 Tokyo Stationmore

October 2012 saw completion of the preservation and renovation work on the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building. The red brick facade long loved as the symbol of Tokyo Station has made a comeback, along with the history and grandeur of the original building dating nearly a hundred years back. The occasion also saw the reopening of Tokyo Station Hotel and Tokyo Station Gallery. The former is the only hotel situated within an important cultural property of Japan. The interior is designed in a sophisticated, classical European style to blend with the splendor of the Marunouchi Building exterior.

JR Yamagata Shinkansen Tsubasa 127 (JR EAST PASS)
Tokyo→Yonezawa
10,490 yen
*1 adult / normal period – charge for seat reservation on an ordinary car - fee Show details

  • Miss TamChiak

    <JR Shinkansen>
    To get to Yamagata from Tokyo, we bought the JR EAST PASS(Tohoku area) for unlimited rides on the Shinkansen and limited express trains to Eastern Japan. Japan’s shinkansen, or bullet train, never fail to amaze me. Every time a train arrives, the cleaning crews will clean the whole train within 7 minutes.We first alight at Yonezawa, which is in the southern part of Yamagata Prefecture. It is on the Yamagata Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Yamagata. There are hourly departures from Tokyo, with the trip taking just over 2 hours.

  • Chehui Peh

    <JR Shinkansen>
    The two and a half hour bullet train towards Yamagata is operated by JR East, complete with omotenashi and comfort the entire way. Before getting on the journey, the 7 minutes angel (or crew) work at high speed to clean and sterilize the trains. Punctuality is a must, and when there is a slight delay, even just a 2 minute one, repeated apologies are made over the intercom.

10:22 Yonezawa Stationmore

Yonezawa Station is located in the center of Yonezawa City, one of Yamagata Prefecture's main cities and the gateway to the southern area of the prefecture. The tourist information center "ASK", located within the station, offers information on tourist attractions. The 2nd floor of the station has an exhibition of local products and a sales corner. Various tourist spots such as the Uesugi-Jinja Shrine and Onogawa Onsen can be reached from the station by car or bus.

Yonezawa Shimin Junkan Bus clockwise (blue)
Yonezawa Ekimae→Omachi Ichome
About 10 minutes・200 yen

Sake Brewery Museum, Toko-no-Sakaguramore

The Kojima Main Store is a sake brewery founded in 1597 to cater to the Uesugi clan of the Yonezawa Domain. It was one of the few sake brewers that was allowed to make sake during the incessant prohibition orders of the Edo period. At the Sake Brewery Museum, visitors can view various displays, such as the restoration of the residence of the sake brewery and the sake brewing process.

  • Miss TamChiak

    <Toko-no-Sakagura Japanese Sake Brewery>
    Yonezawa is also a favorite amongst sake lovers and the best-known local tipple is Toko. Be sure to visit the Sake-Brewing Museum Toko Sake Warehouse where you can understand the traditional Sake-Brewing within Yonezawa. Stated since 1597, Toko has been around for more than 400 years and Mr Kojimaya Zaremon is now the 23rd generation is taking care of it. They have 54 sake breweries in Yamagata and are the 4th biggest around. They export to 13 countries world wide.

    <Lunch in Yonezawa city>
    Yonezawa may be an unassuming rural town but do you know that it is known throughout Japan for its beef (Yonezawa-gyū). Its beef became famous after an Englishman named Charles Henry Dallas, an English teacher at the Yonezawa clan school, took a Yonezawa-gyū to his friends at Yokohama in 1875. They love it and words start spreading about how delicious it is.Yonezawa-gyū are fed such rice straw that sucked up the minerals. Most of the cows are raised and fattened for the period as long as 32 months, which explains secret to the quality and flavor of the meat.

  • Chehui Peh

    <Toko-no-Sakagura Japanese Sake Brewery>
    A Sake Brewery that is headed by its 23th generation and been around since 1597, Toko still retains their tradition today by brewing fragrant.

    <Lunch in Yonezawa city>
    Yonezawa is famous for their beef, and to be honest I don’t think I’ve ever had beef that was this tender, juicy and delicious in my life. I almost cried at first bite because it was too delicious for me to bear to eat it, and yet it would be the biggest waste if I couldn’t finish it.

Yonezawa Shimin Junkan Bus counterclockwise (yellow)
Omachi Ichome→Yonezawa Ekimae
About 10 minutes・200 yen

JR Ōu honsen Line(JR EAST PASS)
Yonezawa→Yamagata
About 45 minutes

JR Senzan Line (JR EAST PASS)
Yamagata→Yamadera
About 20 minutes

Yamadera(Risshaku-ji Temple)more

Yamadera(Risshaku-ji Temple) was built more than 1000 years ago, and attracts faithful worshippers as a representative holy ground of the Tohoku region. Ascend 1,015 stone steps in a cedar grove on the mountainside marked by strangely shaped rocks, and enter a world of serene stillness. This temple is also famous for being where one of Japan's most prominent poets, Matsuo Basho, wrote his well-known haikus.

  • Miss TamChiak

    <Risshakuji-Temple (Yamadera)>
    The temple was founded over a thousand years ago in 860 as a temple of the Tendai sect under the official name Risshakuji. Its popular name, Yamadera, literally means “mountain temple” in Japanese. The temple is a nationally designated Place of Scenic Beauty and Historic Site.You need to take about 1015 steps to climb up to the top. But it was not difficult at all. Just do it at your own pace and when you reach the top, all is worthwhile as you will get to see the great view down onto the valley. The temple is easily accessible by train. You can take a short walk to one of several entrances at the foot of the mountain.

  • Chehui Peh

    < Risshakuji-Temple (Yamadera)>
    Risshakuji-Temple, also known as Yamadera (literally translated as Mountain Temple) got its nickname from the fact that it was built into and on rock ledges on a mountain. A Buddhist temple belonging to the Tendai sect, this temple was a pilgrimage point for monks in the past looking to attain Nirvana, and it still remains a spiritual spot today. From the foot of the mountain to the top where the main hall, Okunoin, is located, there are 1,015 steps in total, which will take you around 30 to 40 minutes to complete. The climb isn’t easy as the steps are steep, but signs along the way remind you that these difficult steps taken would help you to forget your troubles, giving you motivation to go further.

JR Senzan Line (JR EAST PASS)
Yamadera→Yamagata
About 20 minutes

JR Ōu-honsen Line(JR EAST PASS)
Yamagata→Kaminoyama Onsen
About 15 minutes

Kaminoyama Onsen (Koyo)

  • Miss TamChiak

    <Nippon no Yado Koyo>
    Kaminoyama is a small onsen(spa) city. From Yamagata or Yonezawa, you can take the train to Kaminoyama Onsen Station and visit different onsen. Since there are so many things to see in the prefecture, I recommend you to spend your night at Koyo where you get the best of both worlds – a scrumptious dinner and very good onsen.

  • Chehui Peh

    <Nippon no Yado Koyo>
    Koyo reminded me of exactly why I love Ryokans – the service is impeccable, the rooms are beautiful, the onsen makes me wonder why I haven’t permanently moved to an onsen town yet, and the food,I still have dreams about the mouth-watering dinner Koyo served.

Day3

Kaminoyama Onsen (Koyo)

Free shuttle bus
Kaminoyama Onsen Ekimae→Katta Chusha-jo
About 1 hour

Zao Okama crater lakemore

RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS

The Okama is a crater lake with a circumference of 1,000m and a depth of 27m. It is also known as “Goshikinuma” (lake of five colors) for the changes in the colors of the water surface from the intensity of light. Okama is a popular sightseeing spot that is representative of Zao. Visitors can enjoy the sight of alpine plants in summer, and views of red autumn foliage from September to November. When the roads are opened around the end of April, the snow forms walls above 10m high close to the sides of the road leading to the mountain top.

  • Miss TamChiak

    <Zao Okama (crater lake)>
    This natural lake formed in the crater of a volcano is the symbol of Mt. Zao. The lake was 27m deep but it was gradually buried over years due to the collapse of Goshikidake cliff walls. It is sometimes called the Five Color Lake due to the way its water changes colors from day to day. The circle crate is surrounded by the three mountains of the Zao Mountain Range, i.e. Kattadake, Kumanodake, and Goshikidake. This lake was named Okama after Japanese traditional cooking pot (kama) from its shape, and has been beloved by all.Crater Lake Viewing Season happens early May to late October. There are two buses per day between Kaminoyama Onsen Station on the Yamagata Shinkansen and the Katta park outside of winter. The one way trip takes about one hour and is free of charge!

    <Lunch at Liza restaurant>
    After the visit to Mount Zao which takes up about half a day, you can drive down to Zao Liza World to have a slice of pizza!

  • Chehui Peh

    <Zao Okama (crater lake)>
    While talking to a really nice lady at the onsen about my plans to go up to Zao Okama, she gave me a piece of really valuable advice- if the crater lake is blocked by fog, wait it out for the strong winds atop the mountain would clear it up soon enough. This proved to be true later, where the cloudy skies had us worried that we would miss the view, but the winds gave us a cheeky glimpse of the crystal blue colors lying peacefully in the crater every once so often. A volcanic explosion created Okama crater about 800 years ago. The crater lake really is worth all the fear riding up the lift with its shining emerald waters glittering in the middle of the rocks, not to mention the possibility of being able to see five colors reflected on the rocks by the waters due to the sunlight, giving the lake its nickname goshikiko (lake of five colors).

    <Lunch at Liza restaurant>
    Liza restaurant serves a hearty serving of handmade pizza for lunch. Upon placing your order, the chef proceeds to knead the dough till it is ready to bake in the stone oven in the back.

Taxi
15 minutes

Kaminoyama City Sightseeing Fruit Orchardmore

One of the pleasures of traveling in Yamagata is being able to pick fruits in different parts of the prefecture. Bountiful harvests can be enjoyed in each season at fruit orchards. Yamagata cherries make up about 70% of total domestic production volume for cherries. With their bright ruby color, these cherries are also known as the gemstones of the fruit orchard. The orchard bustles with large crowds who come to pick cherries from the beginning of summer throughout the season.

  • Miss TamChiak

    <Fruit picking at Takahashi Fruit Land>
    One of my favorite destination in Yamagata Prefecture is Takahashi Fruit Land where we get to pick the seasonal fruits. Grapes were in season during my visit in September so we get to try a few varieties of grapes. All of them were so sweet! Takahashi Fruit Land makes fruits all year round with 100% organic farming.

  • Chehui Peh

    <Fruit picking at Takahashi Fruit Land>
    Takahashi Fruits Land was a fruits dream come true for me. Yamagata itself is known for the amazing varieties of fruits grown all year round. Each season will pave the way for the harvesting of different fruits, so you could visit all year round to taste the delicious fruits that Yamagata can offer

Taxi
15 minutes

Kaminoyama-Onsen Station

JR Yamagata Shinkansen Tsubasa (JR EAST PASS) Show details

  • Miss TamChiak

    <Overall impressions>
    Yamagata (Yamagata-ken) is a large prefecture along the Sea of Japan coast in the Tohoku Region. The prefecture is blessed with natural beauty such as Mount Zao. It also has more than 100 hot spring locations. More importantly, it is the largest producer of cherries and pears in Japan. A large quantity of other kinds of fruits such as grapes, apples, peaches, melons, persimmons and watermelons are also produced.

  • Chehui Peh

    <overall impression>
    Our trip ends with a shinkansen ride back to Tokyo, where we all knocked out again in the first half an hour. I woke up just in time to say goodbye to the golden rice fields blurring before my eyes, and the stunning panoramic views of agriculture towns. Yamagata, you’re beautiful.

Tokyo Station or other places

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM TRAVELERS

A trip to Yamagata lets you explore the more rural yet beautiful part of "Japan" which many do not know. You get to understand how sake and good quality beef came about, as well as breathe in fresh air and enjoy stunning view at Mount Zao. It's a very different experience altogether and you can truly experience Japan at its best.

Miss TamChiak
Blogger
Reside in Singapore
  • Hobby

    Eating, writing, photography.

  • Number of visits to Japan

    6times

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM TRAVELERS

Just a short two-hour trip away from Tokyo is Yamagata, the land of panoramic, lush green nature landscapes, unforgettable delectable cuisine, onsen, and friendly smiles. There, you can find endless things to do in the day ranging from active hiking to appreciation of Yamagata’s food produce, and yet be able to spend the evenings slowly immersed in an onsen listening to the trickling of water and the sighs of the wind gently grazing your face. For Yamagata, you won’t regret it.

Chehui Peh
Masters student
Reside in Tokyo
Home country: Singapore
  • Hobby

    traveling, discovering new things, photographing, snorkeling, food

  • Length of stay in Tokyo

    3 years

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