Yamadera: 1,000-step staircase to paradise

Travel Nov 8, 2014

Yamadera: 1,000-step staircase to paradise

by Mandy Bartok

We're only a few minutes into our climb up one of Yamagata Prefecture's holy mountains, Mount Hojusan, and already our pace has slowed considerably. Our destination is Risshakuji Temple, more colloquially known as Yamadera (literally: "mountain temple"), a far-north outpost of Tendai Buddhism since ...

Cheap train to the north with Basho

Travel Aug 23, 2014

Cheap train to the north with Basho

by Davey Young

On July 19, the Yamagata Shinkansen debuted a luxury ashiya (foot bath) service. A ticket from Tokyo to Yamagata City, in Tohoku Prefecture, costs around ¥11,000, but 15 minutes in the foot bath car is extra. If Matsuo Basho, Japan's most well-known poet, were ...