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All abroad Mogami’s Japanese Wellness Prefecture Tour: Yamagata

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

Welcome back to Mogami's Japanese Wellness Tour

Through this virtual wellness tour around Japan, we hope to introduce to you a few wellness-related facts about each prefecture alongside traditional Japanese crafts (伝統工芸品 dentou-kougei-hin) that have been practised, mastered and treasured over decades, especially as incorporating creativity and hands-on arts is one of the wellness principles that we focus on at Mogami.

At Mogami, we appreciate that practising your creative self is essential to long-term wellbeing.

Our goal is to highlight each prefecture's wellness practices to empower you to take control of your holistic wellbeing in a way that works for you.

Come along to discover, learn, and experience each prefecture's beauty and speciality.

Onto our second destination of our tour: Yamagata

Ginzan Onsen

Did you know?

Yamagata is home to several wellness-focused resorts and accommodations, which offer a range of amenities such as hot spring baths, yoga classes, and organic cuisine. Some of the most well-known wellness resorts in Yamagata include Zao Onsen and Kaminoyama Onsen.

Yamagata is also famous for its cherry blossoms, especially the ones in the castle town of Tsuruoka.

Cherry blossoms in Tsuruoka

Japanese Traditional board game: Shogi (将棋)

Originating in Japan, Shogi is a captivating two-player strategy board game often likened to Western chess due to its similar rules and objectives.

However, unlike Western chess, Shogi pieces are not distinguished by colour, but rather by a character written on one side. This unique aspect allows for the pieces to be flipped over and "promoted" to a stronWesternger piece, adding an extra layer of strategy to the game.

The game's origins can be traced back to the 8th century when it was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks from India.

Shogi pieces

Yamagata Traditional Crafts: Tendo Shogi (天童将棋)

Yamagata in Japan is renowned for its traditional craft of Tendo Shogi Pieces, which are primarily produced in Tendo City, Yamagata City, and Murayama City.

The prefecture's rich history of producing wooden crafts, combined with its ideal climate and natural environment, has made it a hub for creating high-quality wooden goods. Japanese oak, known for its durability and beauty, is the preferred wood used to craft the Shogi pieces.

The skilled craftsmen in Yamagata have honed their craft over generations and are known for their expertise in creating traditional crafts, including Shogi pieces.

Historically, Tendo Shogi pieces were established in the late Edo period as part of the clan's economic policy. Nowadays, these pieces come in a variety of types, including "押し駒" pressed pieces, "書き駒" written pieces, "彫り埋め駒" carved pieces, and "盛り上げ駒" heaping up pieces. The pieces range from popular to high-end and Yamagata boasts the largest production volume of Shogi pieces in Japan.

Yamagata Traditional Festival: Ningen Shogi Festival (人間将棋)

"Ningen Shogi" (Human Shogi) is a traditional festival Tendo since 1956 where warriors, dressed in armour and kimonos, act as Shogi pieces and play the game of Shogi.

The event is held annually in mid-April at Maizuruyama, a location known for its 2,000 sakura trees that are in full bloom during the festival, adding to the beauty and excitement of the event.

Ningen Shogi Festival

Photo credit:

Tendo Shogi craftsmen & local businesses based in Yamagata


What sparked your interest in this feature? Comment below.

We are thrilled to have you join us on a journey of discovery and immerse yourself in Japan's vibrant yet harmonious culture.

Stay tuned for our next destination next month! 👋🏻



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