Sakata / Yamagata
A small treasure full of colors and traditions
An MSC Cruise will take you on the edge of the fertile plains of Shonai, well-known for its cultivation of rice, in the Yamagata Prefecture, where Sakata rises.
The first historical references regarding this city date back to the Edo period (1603-1868) where thanks to the rice and sake trade, as well as the cultivation of the safflower, which was used in the production of oils and tinctures, Sakata became the second most important port in Japan. Nowadays, the city is still a very active commercial centre and it proudly shows off a collection of architecture pieces that is unique in Japan. Here, indeed, the merchants chose to distinguish themselves by building unique properties and enchanting public buildings for the community.
Just 10 minutes by bus from the station you can admire the 12 Sankyo storehouses, built in 1893. This is one of the most historic places in Sakata. Rice is still packed here and shipped to the rest of Japan and the rest of the world. One of these storehouses is now a museum with a souvenir shop and local products on sale. The surroundings have remained unchanged in time: the storehouses are surrounded by Zelkova trees, which provide the right ventilation in the summer and provide protection from the rigid winters.
An MSC excursion will take you to the hinterland of Sakata, where the three Dewa Sanzan mountains rise up. One if these is called Haguro-san and at its summits stands the shrine of rebirth. You can easily explore this cultural site, which is open all year, by following a footpath through a magical forest of cedar trees. You will come across 33 carved sculptures along the way, which bring prosperity to those who find them all.
Once back down in the valley you can visit the Ken Domon Museum of Photography, dedicated to the famous photographer of the same name, who was born in Sakata. Before his death, he donated some 70,000 photographs to the city, which were put on display in this museum. By exploring its rooms you will discover the realistic and unique style of Domon in documenting post WWII Japan.
An Asia Cruise offers you all this.