Yamagata Prefecture is located in northern Japan’s Tohoku region, where the autumn colors begin to appear around the end of October every year.
The natural beauty of the area, where the magnificent mountains are dyed red and yellow, is perfect for setting your heart and mind at ease.
This year, why not relax and stay at a ryokan inn where you can appreciate the spectacular autumn leaves from the privacy and comfort of your room or an open-air bath?

1. Miyamaso Takamiya: 100+ year-old ryokan overlooking the vivid mountains (Zao Onsen, Yamagata City)

Zao Onsen is located at the western foot of the Zao mountain range in the southeastern part of Yamagata City. The long-established Miyamaso Takamiya Ryokan, founded in 1716, is built on a hill in this hot spring resort.
The building is a solid Japanese-style wooden building that’s over 100 years old, and the combination of white walls and bold wood hues is an iconic image.
From Yamagata Station, take the Yamako Bus bound for Zao Onsen and get off at the last stop. From there it takes about 5 minutes to walk to this Yamagata onsen ryokan. Shuttle bus service is also available with a reservation.

“Hinakura” guest room

For private relaxation, the “Hinakura” villa is recommended. This two-story renovated storehouse now serves as a guest house with a serene atmosphere.
There’s a tatami room and a square in-floor fireplace that’s useful for warmth on cold nights or for cooking to experience the feel of a traditional Japanese house.

Like Hinakura, “Rian Sansui” is another relaxing room. It was designed by Kiyoyuki “Ken” Okuyama, an industrial designer from Yamagata who has done work for Ferrari.
The room centers on a concept of “harmony between tradition and innovation” with modern tables and chairs in a traditional Japanese room.
Both Hinakura and Rian Sansui have in-room open-air baths overlooking the vividly colored mountains so you can enjoy a refreshing soak while taking in the beautiful autumn scenery. The best time to see the leaves is from mid-to-late October.

Miyamaso Takamiya has a total of 9 baths. One of the inn’s attractive points is the option to sample so many hot springs, including the semi-open-air “Seseragi-no-Yu” bath, where you can hear the murmuring of the river, the “Open-air stone bath” at the top of an elegant wooden staircase, and the traditional “Open-air tub” bath created by a Yamagata craftsman.
There’s also a private bath if you want to relax with your family or alone, so be sure to reserve a time slot on the day of your stay and enjoy yourself.
International guests who stay…

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