Yamagata Prefecture

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Yamagata Prefecture
山形県
Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese山形県
 • RōmajiYamagata-ken
Flag of Yamagata Prefecture
Official logo of Yamagata Prefecture
Location of Yamagata Prefecture
CountryJapan
RegionTōhoku
IslandHonshu
CapitalYamagata
SubdivisionsDistricts: 8, Municipalities: 35
Government
 • GovernorMieko Yoshimura
Area
 • Total9,325.15 km2 (3,600.46 sq mi)
Area rank9th
Population
 (June 1, 2019)
 • Total1,079,950
 • Rank35th
 • Density120/km2 (300/sq mi)
ISO 3166 codeJP-06
Websitewww.pref.yamagata.jp
Symbols
BirdMandarin duck (Aix galericulata)
FishCherry salmon (Oncorhynchus masou)
FlowerSafflower (Carthamus tinctorius)
TreeCherry

Yamagata Prefecture (山形県, Yamagata-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Tōhoku region of Honshu.[1] Yamagata Prefecture has a population of 1,079,950 (1 June 2019) and has a geographic area of 9,325 km² (3,600 sq mi). Yamagata Prefecture borders Akita Prefecture to the north, Miyagi Prefecture to the east, Fukushima Prefecture to the south, and Niigata Prefecture to the southwest.

Yamagata is the capital and largest city of Yamagata Prefecture, with other major cities including Tsuruoka, Sakata,Shinjō, and Yonezawa.[2] Yamagata Prefecture is located on Japan's western Sea of Japan coast and its borders with neighboring prefectures are formed by various mountain ranges, with 17% of its total land area being designated as Natural Parks. Yamagata Prefecture formed the southern half of the historic Dewa Province with Akita Prefecture and is home to the Three Mountains of Dewa, which includes the Haguro Five-story Pagoda, a recognised National Treasure of Japan.

History[edit]

Sankyo Warehouse in Sakata City, related to Kitamaebune and transport on Mogami River.

The aboriginal Ezo (蝦夷) people once inhabited the area now known as Yamagata. Yamagata and Akita Prefecture were known as Dewa Province until the Meiji Restoration.[3]

During the Heian period (794–1185), the Fujiwara (藤原) family ruled the area. Yamagata City flourished during the Edo period (1603–1867) due to its status as a castle town and post station, famous for beni (red safflower dye used in the production of handspun silk). In 1689, the famous haiku poet, Matsuo Bashō visited Yamagata during his five-month trip to the northern regions of Japan.

Geography[edit]

Map of Yamagata Prefecture

Yamagata Prefecture is located in the southwest corner of Tōhoku, facing the Sea of Japan. It borders Niigata Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture on the south, Miyagi Prefecture on the east, and Akita Prefecture on the north. All of these boundaries are marked by mountains, with most of the population residing in a limited central plain.

As of 31 March 2020, 17 percent of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Bandai-Asahi National Park; Chōkai, Kurikoma, and Zaō Quasi-National Parks; and Goshōzan, Kabusan, Kennan, Mogamigawa, Shōnai Kaihin, and Tendō Kōgen Prefectural Natural Parks.[4]

Cities[edit]

Thirteen cities are located in Yamagata Prefecture:

Name Area (km2) Population Map
Rōmaji Kanji
Flag of Higashine Yamagata.svg Higashine 東根市 207.17 47,910 Higashine in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Kaminoyama Yamagata.JPG Kaminoyama 上山市 240.93 29,974 Kaminoyama in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Murayama, Yamagata.svg Murayama 村山市 196.98 23,643 Murayama in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Nagai Yamagata.JPG Nagai 長井市 214.67 26,466 Nagai in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Nanyo Yamagata.JPG Nan'yō 南陽市 160.52 31,112 Nanyo in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Obanazawa Yamagata.svg Obanazawa 尾花沢市 373.32 15,237 Obanazawa in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Sagae Yamagata.JPG Sagae 寒河江市 139.03 40,131 Sagae in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Sakata, Yamagata.svg Sakata 酒田市 602.97 99,341 Sakata in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Shinjō, Yamagata.svg Shinjō 新庄市 223.08 34,937 Shinjo in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Tendo Yamagata.JPG Tendō 天童市 113.01 61,947 Tendo in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Tsuruoka, Yamagata.svg Tsuruoka 鶴岡市 1,311.53 125,389 Tsuruoka in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Yamagata, Yamagata.svg Yamagata (capital) 山形市 381.58 248,772 Yamagata in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Yonezawa, Yamagata.svg Yonezawa 米沢市 548.51 81,707 Yonezawa in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg

Towns and villages[edit]

These are the towns and villages in each district:

Name Area (km2) Population District Type Map
Rōmaji Kanji
Flag of Asahitown Yamagata.JPG Asahi 朝日町 196.73 7,020 Nishimurayama District Town Asahi in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Funagata yamagata.JPG Funagata 舟形町 119.03 5,101 Mogami District Town Funagata in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Iide, Yamagata.svg Iide 飯豊町 329.6 6,970 Nishiokitama District Town Iide in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Kahoku Yamagata.JPG Kahoku 河北町 52.38 18,301 Nishimurayama District Town Kahoku in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Kaneyama Yamagata.svg Kaneyama 金山町 161.79 5,205 Mogami District Town Kaneyama in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Kawanishi Yamagata.JPG Kawanishi 川西町 166.46 14,967 Higashiokitama District Town Kawanishi in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Mamurogawa Yamagata.JPG Mamurogawa 真室川町 374.29 7,506 Mogami District Town Mamurogawa in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Mikawa Yamagata.JPG Mikawa 三川町 33.22 7,562 Higashitagawa District Town Mikawa in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Mogami Yamagata.JPG Mogami 最上町 330.27 8,442 Mogami District Town Mogami in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Nakayama Yamagata.JPG Nakayama 中山町 31.23 11,153 Higashimurayama District Town Nakayama in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Nishikawa Yamagata.JPG Nishikawa 西川町 393.19 5,225 Nishimurayama District Town Nishikawa in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Oe Yamagata.JPG Ōe 大江町 153.92 7,894 Nishimurayama District Town Oe in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Oguni Yamagata.JPG Oguni 小国町 737.56 7,376 Nishiokitama District Town Oguni in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Oishida Yamagata.svg Ōishida 大石田町 79.54 6,945 Kitamurayama District Town Oishida in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Okura Yamagata.JPG Ōkura 大蔵村 211.59 3,044 Mogami District Village Okura in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Sakegawa Yamagata.JPG Sakegawa 鮭川村 122.14 4,132 Mogami District Village Sakegawa in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Shirataka Yamagata.JPG Shirataka 白鷹町 157.74 13,482 Nishiokitama District Town Shirataka in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Shonai Yamagata.JPG Shōnai 庄内町 249.17 20,940 Higashitagawa District Town Shonai in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Takahata Yamagata.JPG Takahata 高畠町 180.26 23,367 Higashiokitama District Town Takahata in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Tozawa Yamagata.JPG Tozawa 戸沢村 261.31 4,431 Mogami District Village Tozawa in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Yamanobe Yamagata.JPG Yamanobe 山辺町 61.36 14,147 Higashimurayama District Town Yamanobe in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg
Flag of Yuza Yamagata.JPG Yuza 遊佐町 208.39 13,615 Akumi District Town Yuza in Yamagata Prefecture Ja.svg

Mergers[edit]

Climate[edit]

The climate of Yamagata Prefecture is characterized by long, hot, and humid summers and long, snowy winters. Both spring and autumn are short, the former often cold, the latter often warm, but both quite dry and sunny. Yamagata Prefecture, along with northern parts of Miyagi and Iwate are the transition areas from humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa/Cwa) to humid continental within the Japan mainland. Winter temperatures rarely fall below −10 °C (14 °F) in populated areas; they frequently rise above 30 °C (86 °F) in July and August. Precipitation falls all year round and the remnants of one or perhaps two typhoons usually pass through between August and October. The winters see heavy snowfall especially at higher elevations, though the Japan Sea coast (Sakata) is milder and has more rain. Snowfall for Shinjō is typical of populated mountainous areas, snowfall for Yamagata City typical of the valleys. The central mountains around Gassan may see as much as 3,000 centimetres (98.43 ft) of snow in a season with depths up to 8 metres (26 ft) at higher elevations.

Climate data for Yamagata, Yamagata
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 18.1
(64.6)
17.3
(63.1)
23.7
(74.7)
33.3
(91.9)
33.4
(92.1)
35.6
(96.1)
40.8
(105.4)
38.9
(102.0)
36.1
(97.0)
32.3
(90.1)
26.9
(80.4)
20.1
(68.2)
40.8
(105.4)
Average high °C (°F) 3
(37)
4
(39)
8
(46)
16
(61)
22
(72)
25
(77)
28
(82)
30
(86)
25
(77)
19
(66)
12
(54)
6
(43)
16
(61)
Average low °C (°F) −4
(25)
−4
(25)
−1
(30)
4
(39)
10
(50)
15
(59)
19
(66)
20
(68)
16
(61)
9
(48)
3
(37)
−1
(30)
7
(45)
Record low °C (°F) −20.0
(−4.0)
−19.0
(−2.2)
−15.5
(4.1)
−7.3
(18.9)
−1.8
(28.8)
3.0
(37.4)
6.7
(44.1)
8.4
(47.1)
3.0
(37.4)
−2.4
(27.7)
−7.2
(19.0)
−15.0
(5.0)
−20.0
(−4.0)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 75
(3.0)
70
(2.8)
67
(2.6)
68
(2.7)
81
(3.2)
103
(4.1)
144
(5.7)
149
(5.9)
134
(5.3)
76
(3.0)
81
(3.2)
77
(3.0)
1,125
(44.3)
Average snowfall cm (inches) 163
(64)
147
(58)
71
(28)
3
(1.2)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
12
(4.7)
92
(36)
491
(193)
Source: Japan Meteorological Agency[5]
Climate data for Shinjō, Yamagata
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13.3
(55.9)
14.0
(57.2)
19.5
(67.1)
30.2
(86.4)
33.5
(92.3)
32.6
(90.7)
36.9
(98.4)
37.4
(99.3)
33.9
(93.0)
27.9
(82.2)
22.5
(72.5)
19.0
(66.2)
37.4
(99.3)
Average high °C (°F) 1
(34)
2
(36)
6
(43)
14
(57)
20
(68)
24
(75)
27
(81)
29
(84)
24
(75)
18
(64)
11
(52)
4
(39)
15
(59)
Average low °C (°F) −4
(25)
−4
(25)
−2
(28)
3
(37)
9
(48)
14
(57)
19
(66)
20
(68)
15
(59)
8
(46)
3
(37)
−1
(30)
7
(45)
Record low °C (°F) −19.6
(−3.3)
−20.2
(−4.4)
−16.5
(2.3)
−9.3
(15.3)
−2.1
(28.2)
3.7
(38.7)
7.6
(45.7)
10.9
(51.6)
4.1
(39.4)
−0.8
(30.6)
−5.8
(21.6)
−15.2
(4.6)
−20.2
(−4.4)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 181
(7.1)
145
(5.7)
112
(4.4)
98
(3.9)
107
(4.2)
131
(5.2)
186
(7.3)
175
(6.9)
153
(6.0)
152
(6.0)
195
(7.7)
211
(8.3)
1,843
(72.6)
Average snowfall cm (inches) 283
(111)
242
(95)
134
(53)
20
(7.9)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
28
(11)
168
(66)
878
(346)
Source: Japan Meteorological Agency[6]
Climate data for Sakata, Yamagata
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15.5
(59.9)
21.6
(70.9)
22.6
(72.7)
28.6
(83.5)
31.3
(88.3)
31.8
(89.2)
36.9
(98.4)
40.1
(104.2)
35.1
(95.2)
30.9
(87.6)
24.2
(75.6)
19.0
(66.2)
40.1
(104.2)
Average high °C (°F) 4
(39)
4
(39)
8
(46)
14
(57)
19
(66)
23
(73)
27
(81)
29
(84)
25
(77)
19
(66)
13
(55)
8
(46)
16
(61)
Average low °C (°F) −1
(30)
−2
(28)
1
(34)
5
(41)
11
(52)
16
(61)
20
(68)
21
(70)
17
(63)
10
(50)
5
(41)
1
(34)
9
(48)
Record low °C (°F) −16.9
(1.6)
−12.8
(9.0)
−9.9
(14.2)
−3.7
(25.3)
−0.2
(31.6)
7.5
(45.5)
9.5
(49.1)
13.2
(55.8)
7.0
(44.6)
1.4
(34.5)
−5.1
(22.8)
−12.5
(9.5)
−16.9
(1.6)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 153
(6.0)
115
(4.5)
104
(4.1)
106
(4.2)
117
(4.6)
128
(5.0)
186
(7.3)
176
(6.9)
185
(7.3)
174
(6.9)
224
(8.8)
202
(8.0)
1,861
(73.3)
Average snowfall cm (inches) 138
(54)
120
(47)
43
(17)
1
(0.4)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
10
(3.9)
64
(25)
375
(148)
Source: Japan Meteorological Agency[7]

Economy[edit]

Fruit[edit]

Persimmons in October, Yamagata Prefecture.
Yamagata cherries, such as these, often sell for US$30 per pound or more.

Yamagata Prefecture 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.

Demographics[edit]

As of October 2014, Yamagata Prefecture had a population of 1,131,000.[8] The prefecture also has one of the oldest populations in Japan. As of 2004, 12.8% of the population was aged between 65 and 74, and 12.1% was over 75 (the fourth and third highest in Japan, respectively).[9] Over 40% of households in Yamagata contain one or more relatives aged 65 or over (one of the three highest in Japan).[10]

Per Japanese census data,[11] and,[12] population of Yamagata has changed significantly with Yamagata 2020 having roughly same population as Yamagata 1930

Historical population
YearPop.±%
1890 742,600—    
1920 969,000+30.5%
1930 1,080,000+11.5%
1940 1,119,000+3.6%
1950 1,357,347+21.3%
1960 1,321,000−2.7%
1970 1,226,000−7.2%
1980 1,252,000+2.1%
1990 1,258,000+0.5%
2000 1,244,147−1.1%
2010 1,168,924−6.0%
2020 1,079,950−7.6%

Culture[edit]

Festivals and events[edit]

Yamagata Prefecture has a number of annual festivals and events.

The largest is the Yamagata Hanagasa Festival (花笠祭り) which takes place in Yamagata City on the first weekend in August, when thousands of people perform the hanagasa dance in the city centre and attracts up to 300,000 spectators. Yamagata City is the home of the bi-annual Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in October.

In February, a snow lantern festival is held in Yonezawa at the Uesugi Shrine. Hundreds of candle-lit lanterns light pathways dug into the snow around the shrine. Yonezawa is also the site of the Uesugi Festival (上杉祭り, uesugi matsuri) in mid-spring. The festival's highlight is a re-enactment of the Battle of Kawanakajima on the banks of the Matsukawa River.

In September, Yamagata Prefecture is famous for its imoni, a taro-root stew popular in Northern Japan during the autumn. Imonikai, taro-root soup parties, are very popular during this season, and many tourists come to Yamagata Prefecture specifically for its particular style of imoni.

Art[edit]

Beginning in 2003, Yamagata city officials with the aid of Tōhoku University of Art and Design began a three-year project in which the Buddhist art of the city's temples would be catalogued and compared to a set of guidelines in order to identify "cultural assets".[13] One hundred and ninety temples have had their works of art examined and several significant examples of Buddhist sculpture have been discovered. At Heisenji Temple, in the Hirashimizu district, a particularly rare statue, a seated Vairocana Buddha made from zelkova wood, was found. Other significant works include sculptures from the Heian period (794–1185) and Kamakura period (1192–1333).

The Yamagata Museum of Art, located in Yamagata City, was opened in 1964 through the efforts of a foundation led by Yoshio Hattori, the president of Yamagata Shimbun and Yamagata Broadcasting Co, Ltd. The permanent collection consists of three types of art: Japanese and Asian, regional, and French. Special exhibitions are held periodically.

Language[edit]

Yamagata Prefecture is known for its local dialect Yamagata-ben, sometimes thought of as backward sounding in other parts of Japan. The 2004 movie Swing Girls (スウィングガールズ), co-written and directed by Shinobu Yaguchi, is set in Yamagata and makes use of Yamagata-ben for comedic purposes.

Sports[edit]

The sports teams listed below are based in Yamagata.

Football

Volleyball

Basketball

Transportation[edit]

Airports[edit]

Railways[edit]

Tourism[edit]

The temple of Yama-dera, carved into the mountainside near the city of Yamagata, is a major attraction.

The Dewa Sanzan are three holy mountains that form a traditional pilgrimage for followers of the Shugendō branch of Shintō. The famous Gojudo (five-story pagoda) is at the base of Mount Haguro, the lowest of the three mountains.

Mount Zaō is a famous winter ski resort, also known for its snow monsters (frozen snow-covered trees) in the winter, and the Okama crater lake, also known as the Goshiki Numa (Five Color Lake) because its colour changes according to the weather.

Media[edit]

Newspapers[edit]

  • Yamagata Shimbun [1]
  • Yonezawa Shimbun
  • Shonai Nippo
  • Okitama Times [2]

TV and radio[edit]

Film[edit]

  • Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival[14]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Yamagata prefecture" in Japan Encyclopedia, pp. 1038-1039, p. 1038, at Google Books; "Tōhoku" in p. 970, p. 970, at Google Books
  2. ^ Nussbaum, "Yamagata" in p. 1038, p. 1038, at Google Books
  3. ^ Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" in p. 780, p. 780, at Google Books
  4. ^ 自然公園都道府県別面積総括 [General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture] (PDF) (in Japanese). Ministry of the Environment. 31 March 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  5. ^ Yamagata Station, Japan Meteorological Agency
  6. ^ Shinjo Station, Japan Meteorological Agency
  7. ^ Sakata Station, Japan Meteorological Agency
  8. ^ "Population by Prefecture (1920-2014)". Stat.go.jp. Archived from the original on 24 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Table 12. Percentage of Population by Age (3 Groups) and Sex for Prefectures - Total population, October 1, 2004". Stat.go.jp. Archived from the original on May 20, 2005.
  10. ^ "Statistical Maps of Japan - 2000 Population Census of Japan" (PDF). Stat.go.jp. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 18, 2006.
  11. ^ Yamagata 1995-2020 population statistics
  12. ^ Yamagata 1920-2000 population statistics
  13. ^ "Yamagata: City unearths wealth of Buddhist Treasure". The Asahi Shimbun. December 5, 2006.[dead link]
  14. ^ "YIDFF Official Site". Yidff.jp. Retrieved 2014-02-14.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°26′N 140°8′E / 38.433°N 140.133°E / 38.433; 140.133