By the sea of Japan, Sakata in Yamagata prefecture was once a prosperous harbor. Today, not many travelers are reaching the charming city; and that’s a pity. Sakata features many attractive sights, including the only maiko school of Tohoku. As for us, even if it does not belong to the Heisei 100 landscapes, we had the chance to be there at the time of the Sakata Matsuri (酒田祭り)- mid-May. That’s when the shishi, the lions symbol of the city, come to life.
How to get there?
Sakata is far away on the Sea of Japan coast, with no Shinkansen station. Five hours at least are necessary to reach it. The easiest being via Niigata (Joetsu Shinkansen to there, and then JR Inaho line). 15000 yen, included in JR pass. Another option is to reach Sendai first and then take a bus.
The Sakata Matsuri was held from the 19th to the 21st of May in 2017 and is always held on a weekend around these days.