OK, let me put this out there: Yamagata-ken, just like any sensible prefecture in Japan, loves tourists. But you get the feeling that Yamagata Prefecture Tourist Division tries a little harder to promote its treasures. They even occasionally invite journalists up for a spin around the countryside.

"Ahhh, Yamagata. Land of stunning natural scenery, abundant produce, vibrant culture, friendly people . . ."

Nice work if you can get it, right?