Enjoy a Fun-Packed Family Adventure in Scenic Uetsu

  • We recommended hiring a rent-car

This four-day itinerary is packed with family-friendly destinations in the midst of the breathtaking natural beauty of Niigata, Yamagata and Akita prefectures. Start off by relaxing and clearing your mind in the healing forests of Tozawa Village in Yamagata Prefecture. Then, head to Tsuruoka city where the kids can let off some steam in the Kids Dome Sorai, marvel at the wonders of the Kamo Aquarium and have a go at fishing and other outdoor activities. Then on to Yusa, where you can enjoy the fantastic ponds and scenic spots. Finally, Nikaho City in Akita Prefecture is jam-packed with amazing adventures for all the family where you can experience life on a ranch, high-tech technologies and the wonders of science.

Itinerary

3
nights
4
days

Day One

JR Tokyo Station → JR Shinjo Station → Genso no Mori (forest)→ Shiraito Falls Drive-in → Kids Dome Sorai→ Shonai Hotel Suiden Terrasse (Overnight stay)

Day Two

Kamo Aquarium → Sea fishing, pond fishing → Hotel Yaotome (Overnight stay)

Day Three

Travel to Yusa → Maruike Pond (Yusa Town) → Chokai rest area → Mototaki Fukuryusui Underflow → Tsuchida Ranch (Nikaho City) → Guesthouse Ichie (Overnight stay)

Day Four

Shirase Antarctic Expedition Memorial Museum → TDK History Museum → Children's Ferrite and Science Museum → Kisakata rest area → JR Kisakata Station

Day One

01

Genso No Mori (Forest)

Walk along the path which takes you right up to this mysterious forest, where you will find a 1,000-year old giant cedar tree. A popular spot for TV commercials and movies.

Access:
About 15 minutes by car from Takaya Station
About 40 minutes by car from JR Shinjo Station
Address:
Tozawa-mura, Mogami-District, Yamagata 999-6401

*Walking Period: June to November, closed during winter.

02

Shiraito Falls Drive-in

Take a break and have a browse at the souvenir stores, then a bite to eat, while taking in the magnificent Mogami River.

The “Parlor Shiraitonotaki” restaurant has something to suit all the family. Their famous rice-fed pork used in the delicious “Falls Burger” dish has a total of three burgers that will surely be enough to feed all the family.

Address: 1496-1 Furukuchi, Tozawa, Mogami District, Yamagata 999-6401

URL www.shiraitonotaki.com/

03

Kids Dome Sorai

An indoor kids play area inside a circular dome building designed by the world famous Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban. For children aged 0 to 6th grade.

With huge net jungles and secret bases, a climbing zone, and a workshop zone where more than 1,000 different materials and more than 200 different tools can be used at any time, Kids Dome Sorai is a beautiful space for kids to explore, play, and create in.

Access: About 10 minutes by car from Tsuruoka Station, around 30 minutes on foot
Address: Shimotorinosu-6-1 Kitakyoden, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-0053
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10 am to 7 pm (Last entry: 6 pm)
Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays 10 am-6 pm (Last entry: 5 pm)
* On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, booking is required.
Closed on the second and fourth Wednesdays (excluding holidays)

URL www.sorai.yamagata-design.com/

04

Shonai Hotel Suiden Terrasse

Next to the Kids Dome Sorai, the world’s first hotel designed by Shigeru Ban appears to floats on the rice fields, allowing guests to enjoy the seasonally-changing rural landscape. Wooden guest rooms provide a welcoming, warm space. The restaurant offers meals carefully prepared with local, organic products.

With a natural hot spring that wells up from 1,200 meters underground, your body and spirit is sure to feel reborn.

Access:
10 minutes by car from the Tsuruoka Interchange
Address:
Shimotorinosu-23-1 Kitakyoden, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-0053

URL www.suiden-terrasse.yamagata-design.com/

Day Two

01

Kamo Aquarium

Kamo Aquarium, Yamagata’s only aquarium, is home to the world’s largest jellyfish exhibition. The highlight of the exhibition is the “Jellyfish Dream Theater”, where you can view about 2,000 mini moon jellyfish floating about.

02

Sea Fishing, Pond fishing (Yura)

With rental fishing gear, you can have a go at catching the local fish from the pond. Enjoy time outdoors as a family at the fishing pond facing the sea.

Nearby is the uninhabited island of Hakusanjima, where you can climb 263 steps to the view of the Sea of Japan from Hakusan Shrine.

Access:
About 15 minutes by bus from Mise Station on the JR Uetsu Line
* Late April to October 20

URL www.kaijo-turibori.info

03

Hotel Yaotome

Located in Yura, Tsuruoka City, Hotel Yaotome boasts an excellent location right in front of the Sea of Japan with all rooms having a sea view.

Yura Beach has also been selected as one of the country’s top 100 places to see the sunset.

The cuisine using fresh seafood caught at the Yura Fishing Port is also a plus.

Address:
3 Chome-16-31 Yura, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 999-7464

URL www.yaotome.in.net

Day Three

01

Maruike Pond (Yusa)

This pool gets its sole source of water from Mt. Chokai’s underground streams and has a diameter of about 20 m and depth of 5 m. It is called “Mysterious Pond” due to its clear, emerald green water.

The lighting depends on the time and season you visit, and changes the pond’s color.

* May be closed due to winter snow

Access:
About 10 minutes by car from JR Yusa Station
25 minutes by car from Sakata-Minato Interchange

URL www.yuzachokai.jp

02

Chokai Rest Area

A rest area in Yusa, featuring a market with farm and fresh fish produce, a regional specialty store, a restaurant with seafood and farm produce, a ramen store and bakery, and a fast food store.

The fresh fish market features live demonstrations and the freshly cooked black halibut is delicious.

Access:
About 20 minutes on Route 7 from Sakata Minato Interchange towards Akita
Address:
Sugano-308-1 Sugasato, Yuza-machi, Akumi-gun, Yamagata 999-8531

URL www.chokai-flat.com

03

Mototaki Fukuryusui Underflow

The Mototaki Fukuryusui Underflow is where Mt. Chokai’s subterranean waters pour out from a 30 m wide and 5 m high rock surface, giving a refreshing, healing feel. The abundant spring water gushes all year round and the contrast of the green moss covering the rock’s surface and the white mist from the falls creates an elegant scene that will appeal to budding photographers. The water has been selected as one of the Heisei Period Top 100, and is about a 10-minute walk (700m) from the parking lot.

Access:
About 15 minutes by car from JR Kisakata Station

URL www.navi.nikaho-kanko.jp

The adjoining “Midori no Milk House” offers juicy cherries, fresh Jersey cow milk, fresh sausages, toast with cheese, and other delectable treats.

Access:
About 25 minutes by car from JR Kisakata Station
Address:
Toshiyama-4-6 Baba, Nikaho, Akita 018-0413

URL www.tsuchidabokujou.web.fc2.com

04

Tsuchida Ranch

This guest ranch is located in Highland at an altitude of 500 m with Jersey cattle grazing in the pasture. You can also interact with other animals such as rabbits, sheep, horses, etc.

Guests can look forward to dining on natural rock oysters and snow crabs, as well as dishes using seafood caught from the Sea of Japan.

Access:
Free shutle from JR Nikaho Station
Address:
Onawashiro-190 Mitsumori, Nikaho, Akita 018-0403

URL www.nikaho-ichie.jp

05

Guesthouse Ichie

Guesthouse Ichie exhibits a calming, quintessentially Japanese ambiance where you can enjoy the beautiful view of Mt. Chokai. In the large communal bath, you can enjoy a mild alkaline hot spring that is gentle on your skin. In the open-air bath, you can enjoy the view of the sunset and the countryside surrounding the Sea of Japan while bathing.

The Antarctica Experience Zone features exhibits such as the model displays of the Shirase expedition vessels and crew members, as well as pick up and touch real ice brought back from Antarctica.

Access: About 5 minutes by car from JR Gimpo Station
Address: Iwagata-15-3 Kurokawa, Nikaho, Akita 018-0302
Opening hours: 9 am – 5 pm (Last entry 4.30 pm)
Closed: Monday (the next day if a holiday), New Year’s holiday (12/29-1/3)
Admission fee: 300 yen general admission/200 yen for elementary and junior high school students

URL www.shirase-kinenkan.jp

Day Four

01

Shirase Antarctic Expedion Memorial Museum

This memorial museum was founded to commemorate the achievement of Army Lieutenant Nobu Shirase, originally from Gimpo, Nikaho City, Akita Prefecture, who led the first Japanese Antarctic Expedition.

In the “History Zone”, you can look through products and technologies TDK gave the world centered on magnetism, and in the “Future Zone”, you can experience what life may be like in 2035.

Access: About 5 minutes by car from JR Nikaho Station
Address: Gashomen-15 Hirasawa, Nikaho-shi, Akita-prefecture
Opening hours: 10 am -6 pm (last entry at 5.30 pm)
Closed: Mondays (or the following day if Monday is a national holiday)
Admission fee: Free

URL www.jp.tdk.com/museum/

02

TDK History Museum

The museum not only presents an overview of what TDK stands for and how the company has evolved in the larger context of industry and society, it also acquaints visitors with its unique technologies and offers visual and hands-on demonstrations of how the company will contribute to the evolving world of the future.

03

Children's Ferrite and Science Museum

Learn about science through play. You can also join the museum’s very own science classroom where a variety of experiements are conduted under the supervision of science instructor, Denjiro Yonemura known for his entertaining scienec shows.

Outdoors, have fun bouncing and flying through the air on the giant jumping pillow or enjoy a stroll as a family through the rose gardens.

Access: About 5 minutes by car from JR Nikaho Station
Address: Takarada-4-1 Hirasawa, Nikaho, Akita 018-0402, Japan
Opening hours: 9 am – 5 pm (Last entry 4.30 pm)
Closed: Mondays (if a national holiday, the next day)
Admission fee: 500 yen for high school students/300 yen for children

URL www.ferrite.jp

04

Kisakata Rest Area

A popular rest area where you can buy local confectionery and local sake, as well as souvenirs from the prefecture, and a selection of regional products and dishes using regional produce.

On the 4th floor, there is a day-use hot spring where you can enjoy wonderful views of the Sea of Japan while bathing. The 6th floor features an observation tower with magnificent views of Mt. Chokai, Kujukushima and the Sea of Japan. The view of the sunset is simply stunning.

Access:
About 5 minutes by car from JR Kisakata Station
Address:
73-1 Oshiogoshi, Kisakatacho, Nikaho-shi, Akita

URL www.kisakata.nemunooka.jp