After spending my afternoon in Yamagata City in the beautiful Kajou Park I went for a short side trip later that day to Kaminoyama.
It only takes a bit more than 10 minutes by local train to go from JR Yamagata Station to Kaminoyama-Onsen Station with the “JR Ou Line”.
Although it’s just a 10-minute train ride the landscape you get to see is breathtaking!
I can’t say often enough how beautiful Tohoku is!
Kaminoyama is famous for onsen, so you’ll run into hot springs for your feet here and there.
The good thing about walking to a tourist attraction is that you’ll discover so many other tiny, but interesting things that you won’t find in any tourist guide book!
Kaminoyama is a fairly small town, so I suggest just walking around for a while if you have time to and enjoy the atmosphere!
As you can see Kaminoyama Castle is quite close to the station, so you can pleasantly walk there in about 15 minutes.
And there it is: “Kaminoyama Castle”
As with many castles, esp. during high season (such as cherry blossom season), you could find some people dressed up as samurai and the kids (or whoever else wants to) can take photos together with them in front of the castle!
Speaking of which .. I just noticed that I’ve never done it myself. It’s about time I try! *g*
Kaminoyama Castle had some nice exhibitions, but not too much about the castle or the history of it, but more about the nearby Mt. Zao and other locations of interest nearby.
I wanted to visit Mt. Zao, but didn’t have enough time to. I got some information how to access it, though.
Next time I’ll definitely go!
I was surprised that besides all the Japanese explanations they had German ones as well. No English, only German!
Before leaving I asked the staff about it and apparently Kaminoyama has a German “sister city” and recently some visitors came and that’s why they put it up.
Well, I surely enjoyed being able to read explanations in my mother tongue for a change! :D
From the top floor you had a very nice view, overlooking Kaminoyama.
All the pink-ish cherry blossom trees, the green of the other trees and the blue of the mountains in the background make up a beautiful landscape scenery.
Cherry blossom trees in full bloom together with castles are my favorite photo motif!
Around Kaminoyama Castle you’ll find a beautiful garden.
If you walk from the castle keep to the garden, you’ll come across another hot spring for your feet from where you can enjoy the view of the castle and the garden at the same time (not pictured in the photo).
As it was spring, it was quite colorful. I guess in winter it’s rather boring unless it’s all snow-covered.
From within the garden you’ll probably be able to take the best castle shots.
The garden wasn’t too big, but had to offer a lot. There was also a small pond.
There were also some tiny fish in it, but I couldn’t see any koi.
For me the pond was the best spot to take a photo of the castle with the garden in the foreground!
The castle is on a small hill, so even if you’re not on the top floor of the main keep, you’ll have quite a nice view!
You can also walk up and go “behind” Kaminoyama Castle.
First of all you’ll get another nice view of the castle, but …
… there’s also a little shrine there. Displayed in the photo are the ema of that shrine.
And then it was time to leave the castle.
I still had some time before it would get dark, so I walked around some more.
They had some tourist information guide maps (with English!) on them at several spots of the town.
I found out that there was a shooting location of the movie “Departures (Okuribito)” – a Japanese movie that I wanted to watch for a long time, but still haven’t yet.
I’m sure some of you have watched it? I had time, I was close, so I figured I could as well check it out.
It wasn’t difficult to find the location. They also put up information boards and photos of some movie scenes that were taken there.
As I haven’t seen the movie yet, I had a big question mark above my head and just took a photo of the building that apparently appeared in the movie. I guess people who’ve seen the movie want to hit me know, but I promise I’ll watch it as soon as I have some time!! ^-^;;
And then I was on my way back to the station. There are also some smaller shrines and temples on the way.
Like I said before – if you walk, you’ll run into many interesting things that you can’t find in any tourism guide book, so I highly recommend it!
Back at Kaminoyama-Onsen Station from where I went back to Yamagata City to have dinner and then took the night photos of the lit-up castle and cherry blossoms that I posted in my previous entry.
As you can see I did quite a lot on the first day of my Golden Week Vacation although my day started around noon!
I didn’t have to rush, so you could easily do the same as well!
Next up: Yamadera (a very famous temple complex up in the mountains of Yamagata Prefecture)
Thanks for reading.