Surrounded by mountains, fields, rivers and the sea, Tsuruoka city is rich in seasonal blessings.
With more than 50 varieties of indigenous produce including dadachi-mame and Atsumi turnip, superior varieties of "living cultural treasures" are the inheritance of this region. Even today, a unique food culture and family ceremonial dining/local cuisine that is closely related to the spiritual culture of shugendo and Kurokawa Noh from the Three Mountains of Dewa is still being passed down in this region.
Vegetarian Diet of the Three Mountains of Dewa
The Vegetarian Diet of the Three Mountains of Dewa has been passed down since ancient times as a "diet for life" that was studied by ascetics deep in Mount Gassan and other mountains. The food is prepared with traditional methods using vegetables such as seasonal wild plants and mushrooms from the base of the mountain without using any meat or fish. Eating while giving thanks to nature refines the body and the soul.
Dadacha-mame - a kind of edamame (top); Moso-jiru - a traditional food in spring (bottom)
Dadacha-mame, a special type of edamame from Tsuruoka, has a unique sweetness and umami flavor that is said to be the most delicious in Japan. In addition, there are many simple yet deep flavors, including Atsumi turnip and other indigenous produce that has long been farmed using slash-and-burn farming, as well as local cuisine such as miso soup made with seasonal ingredients, and delicious rice and mellow sake.
Shonai coast sunset (top); Buddhist mountain monks and the five-storied pagoda, which is a National Treasure (bottom)
The amazing Mount Haguro Sugi-Namiki features a 350-year old cedar-lined stone-step path to the shrine and a five-storied pagoda that is a National Treasure. It is so beautiful that it was awarded three stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japan. We hope you will also visit the magnificent rural scene of the Shonai Plain with a backdrop of Mount Gassan and Mount Chokai, as well as the sun setting into the Shonai coast, and Tsuruoka Park, which is one of the Japan's Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots.
Cherry harvest (left); Fishing boat cruise (right)
There are also Japanese spiritual and cultural experiences to be enjoyed, such as shugendo (Buddhist mountain asceticism), vegetarian cuisine and the Zen meditation practices by the monks in the Three Mountains of Dewa. There are also harvest experiences for indigenous produce and fresh fruits that are a living cultural treasure, as well as cooking experiences, including soba (buckwheat) pounding. There are many other programs to enjoy, too, including candle-making experiences and Japanese lime bark (Japan's oldest textile) weaving experiences in a castle town, and a fishing boat cruise on the Sea of Japan.
Kamo Aquarium has more varieties of jellyfish than anywhere else
Atsumi hot springs
Please come and enjoy nature and history experiences in the mountains, villages and seas around Tsuruoka, including touring the Three Mountains of Dewa, which represent the past, present and future, and visiting the production areas for indigenous produce, the Kamo Aquarium, which displays more varieties of jellyfish than anywhere else in the world, and the castle towns. Be reborn on your journey as you refresh body and soul by staying at a hot spring hotel where you can enjoy the traditional food culture.
Download the PDF version of the "Story Book" with tour itineraries filled with stories.[PDF/7MB]