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Yamagata Prefecture facts for kids

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Yamagata Prefecture
Japanese: 山形県
Map of Japan with Yamagata highlighted
Capital Yamagata
Region Tōhoku
Island Honshu
Governor Mieko Yoshimura
Area (rank) 9,323.34 km² (9th)
 - % water 0.02%
Population  (Octber 1, 2012)
 - Population 1,151,863 (35rd)
 - Density 123.55 /km²
Districts 8
Municipalities 35
ISO 3166-2 JP-06
Prefectural Symbols
 - Flower Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)
 - Tree Cherry
 - Bird Mandarin duck (Aix galericulata)
 - Fish Cherry salmon (Oncorhynchus masou)
Symbol of Yamagata Prefecture
Symbol of Yamagata Prefecture
Emblem of Yamagata Prefecture.svg

Yamagata Prefecture (山形県 , Yamagata-ken) is a prefecture of Japan. It is part of the Tōhoku region on the island of Honshu. Its capital is Yamagata.


The aboriginal Ezo (蝦夷 ) people once lived in the area now known as Yamagata.

Yamagata was part of Dewa Province until the Meiji Restoration.

This area was called "Yamagata" for the first time in Heian period. However, different characters were used to write it. The reason why this area was called Yamagata is not clear. In Nanboku-chō period, Yamagata was written in same kanji that it is today.


Yamagata Prefecture is located in the southwest corner of Tōhoku. It faces 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.

The Mogami and the Zaou are the two major rivers in the prefecture.


Thirteen cities are located in Yamagata Prefecture:

National parks

National parks cover about 17% of the total land area of the prefecture. They include:

  • Bandai-Asahi National Park

Shrines and temples

Ōmonoimia jinja is the main Shinto shrine (ichinomiya) in the prefecture.


Yamagata is a farming area. It grows the most cherries and pears in the country. Over 70 percent of cherries in Japan are grown in Yamagata. Growing apples is important around the city of Yonezawa. The safflower is a symbol of Yamagata Prefecture. The number of farms growing safflower have steadily decreased since the 18th century. Yonezawa beef is bred in Yonezawa city. It is one of the most famous varieties of beef in Japan. Yonezawa is also known for its soba noodles.

Shogi (chess) pieces are made in the city of Tendo. The pieces are carved from wood.


Hanagasa festival has been held since 1963 and is one of the major festivals in Tohoku region. At the festival, the dancers dance with "Hanagasa" that is a hat decorated with red flowers. Uesugi snow lantern festival is held on the second weekend of February. The candles in more than 300 snow lanterns and 3,000 snow lamps are lit up.

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