Case Studies

Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture

Tanbo Art and Making Rice Business Promotion Council

Promote the Historical and Attractive Yonezawa by Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of Kanetsugu Naoe’s Death, Known as the Samurai of Love

  • Sights
  • 2019
  • 2018

This year’s design was selected from the public, and it is the pattern made with the good things of Yonezawa such as scenic spots, sightseeing spots, local specialties, and Yonezawa in kanji. The kanji “rice” is expressed in “hot spring, apple, rice, carp”, and “Zawa” is expressed in “Azumarenpo, Hinohoenotaki, Mogami River, Yonezawa beef, Otakapoppo (woodcarving), and hydrangea”.

Rice planting was held in late May with 150 elementary school students in the city, as well as some 200 people from outside the prefecture and overseas. The rice harvesting experience event will also be held in autumn, and lunch with rice ball and boiled potatoes is provided to participants. There will be also a bathing voucher for the beauty skin bath Onogawa Onsen located at a place within about five minutes on foot from the venue, and a two kilogram gift of the harvested rice will be given.
In mid-July, the colors of the rice plants in five colors will be clear to be seen, and it will be the best time to be watched. Videos of rice plants growing are being spread on the Internet via live camera. While watching the appearance of rice field changed every day, please enjoy the scenery many times on the viewing platform.

As a tourist attraction in the neighborhood, there is the Uesugi Shrine which is built on the site of the remains of Honmaru of the Yonezawa Castle. Kenshin Uesugi, a busho (Japanese military commander) in the Sengoku period, is enshrined at Uesugi Shrine. In the Keishoden (Treasure Hall) in the shrine, there are mainly many important cultural properties such as the remains of Uesugi, as well as the “love” of placket armor. The Snow Lantern Festival Yonezawa in mid-February, and the Yonezawa Uesugi Festival which starts in the spring annual festival on April 29, are ceremonies related to Kenshin. Various events have been held over several days, such as the Battle of Kawanakajima which is said to be the greatest battle in the history of the Sengoku period, and it is recreated in a riverbed. As it is held just when the cherry trees are in full blossom, a lot of street stalls line up and it is crowded with people enjoying cherry blossom viewing and walking. Why don’t you visit the city of Yonezawa, which is full of all seasons’ events and attractions?

Yonezawa creates designs of historical figures related with this area every year such as “Kageatsu Uesugi and Yukimura Sanada” in 2016 and “The 450th Anniversary of Masamune Date’s Birth” in 2017. This year their designs will be based on “the 400th Anniversary of Kanetsugu Naoe’s Death” and “the 10th anniversary of Kanetan (Yonezawa’s mascot character).” In this design, you can see the samurai Kanetsugu Naoe who is the main character of the NHK taiga drama, famous for his “helmet of love,” together with Kanetan.
Thanks to the beautiful Mogami river, a class A river which comes from Mount Azuma, Yonezawa basin has been popular for its agriculture based on rice cultivation since ancient times. Close to the rice fields, there is Onogawa Onsen which is known as “The Hot Spring of beauty” a name designated by Ono no Komachi who was known as one of top three beautiful women in the world. It is also the “home of fireflies” thanks to its beautiful water springs in rich nature. The best season to admire the rice paddy art coincides with the best seasons to view the fireflies in July, so if you visit then you can enjoy them both. Also do not miss the chance to try Yonezawa’s rice and feel its beautiful natural environment.
This project has been running for 13th years to promote the attractiveness of this sightseeing city Yonezawa in depth through agricultural experiences they organize to get everyone to have a better understanding for the areas agriculture and environment. They hope that you can enjoy seeing, eating and having fun through these series activities and events!

Tanbo Art and Making Rice Business Promotion Council


Rice paddy field: 2949-1 Oaza Yanazawa, Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture
Observatory: in the ground of Luciole Onogawa, 2650-2 Onogawa, Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture