On this three day course, you’ll visit Tozawa, Shonai, and Mikawa in Yamagata Prefecture. In the village of Tozawa, you’ll enjoy boat rides on the Mogami River, hand make your own soba noodles, and even stay at a local farm house. In Shonai, you’ll visit a historic soy sauce shop and try delicious food at the Classe. In Mikawa, you’ll stay in the rural “Denden no Yado” inn located in the plains of Shonai. You’ll also stop by the Mikawa Cultural Exchange Hall (Atoku-Sensei no Kan), the location of the Academy Award winning movie, “Departures”. Indulge yourself in nature, food, history, and hot springs in this authentic Japanese countryside experience.
In the Mogami District of Tozawa in Yamagata Prefecture, change trains at Shinjo Station and get off at Furukuchi Station on the JR Rikusai Line.
Soba Making Experience
Tozawa Domain Funabansho, where the soba making facility and boat ride departure area is located, is a five minute walk from Furukuchi Station. Trying out soba making before taking the boat ride. Beginners need not worry, as you will be guided throughout the experience, from kneading to cutting the noodles. There’s nothing like eating soba noodles made with your own two hands.
Access: 5 minute walk from Furukuchi Station
Address: 86-1 Furukuchi Tozawa-mura, Mogami-gun, Yamagata-ken 999-6401
Cost: 2,000 yen per person (at least 2 people per group)
Reserve up to 3 days in advance
Mogami River Boat Ride
The ravine that runs between Furukawa and Kiyokawa is called the “Mogami Gorge”. Listen to sailor songs while slowly floating along the Mogami Gorge’s beautiful natural scenery. There are even female sailors. The boat runs all year, making it possible to enjoy the boat ride in different ways each season.
Departure and Destination:
Furukuchi Port (Tozawa Domain Funabansho) to Kusanagi Port (Kawanoeki, Mogami Gorge Kusanagi)
86-1 Furukuchi Tozawa-mura, Mogami-gun, Yamagata-ken 999-6401
The boat ride runs on an approximately 12km route along the Mogami River and lasts approximately one hour.
Operates every day of the year
Tozawa no Botamochi
“Tozawa no Botamochi” is a specialty shop selling botamochi made with local Tozawa village rice. They sell red bean paste, soy flour, and sesame varieties of the sweet mochi treat. You can take out, or even eat inside the shop.
Address: 374 Furukuchi Tozawa-mura, Mogami-gun, Yamagata-ken 999-6401
Business hours: 8:30-17:30
Depending on the season, you can also enjoy mountain plant gathering, trekking, rice reaping, vegetable picking, and snow shoveling, all adding to this great experience.
Tozawa Country Life Farm Experience info Click here for details
Experience Country Life on a Farm
If you’re staying overnight in Tozawa village, we recommend this farm life experience. You can experience the feeling of returning to your aunt and uncle’s house in the country, rather than just renting a private room in someone’s house. Another bonus of this experience is that you can enjoy local dishes made with fresh ingredients.
Start at JR Furukuchi Station and take the Rikusai Line to JR Amarume Station. We recommend renting a bicycle for free in front of Amarume Station on a sunny day and riding around the town.
This soy sauce brewery was founded in 1823 and makes and sells soy sauce, miso, and the local food shoyunomi. They also sell over the counter versions of their products which are perfect as Shonai souvenirs. You can also take tours of their warehouse and view their impressive garden.
For lunch, the restaurant Yaku-Checchiano, established under the direction of Masayuki Okuda, chef of Al-Che-cciano, is a top recommendation. Here you can enjoy a menu filled with dishes using Shonai-produced vegetables, pork, and beef.
Shonai Machi Shinsangyo Zokan Classe
Classe is a base for sightseeing housed in a rice granary in front of JR Amarume Train Station.
Also located inside Classe are "Nandemo Bazaar Addeba”, a bazaar selling a variety of vegetables, handmade and local items, and "Amarumesei Pan", a bread bakery loved by many locals.
Address: Sawada-108-1 Amarume Shonai-machi, Higashitagawa-gun, Yamagata-ken 999-7781
URL: Click here for details
Yaku-Checchiano URL Click here for details
Ooimochiya is a mochi shop long loved by residents of the area. They sell all sorts of mochi, including kusa mochi, tochimochi, daifuku mochi, and red bean mochi.
You can also try different soups with mochi in it, such as oshiruko, and the sweet zenzai in the confectionary shop. Try the fluffy, soft mochi in oshiruko and other options as a set!
Address: Yokoyama-220 Yokoyama Mikawa-machi, Higashitagawa-gun, Yamagata-ken 997-1301
Business hours: 9:00-17:00 (Confectionary shop 11:00-15:00
Take a breather from your travels in the relaxing atmosphere of the lodge’s rooms and the soothing water of the hot springs. We recommend the one night, two meal plan which includes dinner within the lodge.
Denden no Yado
Denden no Yado is a lodging facility with separate buildings for each guest facing a garden. Along with the facilities lodging guest-only bath facility, guests can also use the “Nanohana Onsen Denden” hot spring that’s connected to the building for free.
Mikawa Cultural Exchange Hall Atoku Sensei no Kan
“Atoku Sensei no Kan” was completed in 1928 and has a romantic Taisho era architecture style. It’s also the film location of the Academy Award winning movie “Departures”. The garden on the grounds is beautiful in spring when several varieties of flowers bloom at once.
Open January 4th-December 28th 9:00-17:00
Closed every Monday
Entrance to the residence and garden are free
At FOODEVER, you can enjoy Tsuruoka’s best food for lunch in the various restaurants and food courts. You can also find souvenirs here.
Tsuruoka is Japan’s only recognized UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.
If you're renting a car, we recommend the courses below.
JR Tokyo Station→JR Shinjo Station (rent a car here)→Soba making experience→Mogami River boat ride→Tozawa Botamochi→Stay at farm
Tozawa→Hanabusa Shoyu (Shonai)→Classe→Ooimochiya→Overnight stay at Denden no Yado (Mikawa)
Atoku Sensei no Kan →Vegetable Home Cooking Naa →Tsuruoka Station (return rental car here)→FOODEVER→Niigata→JR Tokyo Station
If you plan to rent a car, we recommend going to Vegetable Home Cooking Naa in Tsuruoka for lunch on the third day.
Vegetable Home Cooking Naa
This restaurant is a remodeled farm that was built over 120 years ago. Here you can enjoy a menu filled with fresh vegetables from the owner’s own garden, as well as Shonai’s fish and meat.
The white and brown rice served here is organically grown.
They offer children's plates, as well as a tatami room and private rooms that make bringing children along much easier.
Address: 41 Fukuda Tsuruoka-shi, Yamagata-ken 997-0006
Business hours: Lunch 11:30-14:30, Dinner 17:30-21:30
Closed Tuesdays and every third Wednesday of the month
Access: 10 minute drive from Tsuruoka Station
URL Click here for details