Konjac balls are the soul food of Yamagata
Due to its geography, facing the Sea of Japan and with its mountainous terrain, Yamagata Prefecture enjoys distinct changes in seasons and vast swings in temperatures between night and day. That may make for harsh living conditions during the winter and summer seasons but this makes the fruits grown there especially sweet and succulent, gaining it a reputation as the Fruit Kingdom. In fact, so proud is Yamagata of its natural produce that its airport is called “Oishii Yamagata Airport” ? oishii meaning delicious. Here are some of Yamagata’s oishii foods!
These simmered and skewered konjac balls are made from the starchy konjac root native to Japan, and the texture is springy and gelatinous. This savory snack is a soul food synonymous with Yamagata, and can be spotted stewing in a big pot of broth made from soy sauce, bonito flakes and sake at nearly every tourist attraction and shopping area here.
Konjac balls are simmered in a savory sauce
This is a type of Edamame, or green soybeans, native to Yamagata. Other than being boiled and sprinkled with salt as a savory snack to go with beer, it is also mashed into a paste and used in sweet confectionery such as mochi (a glutinous rice ball) or smothered on dango (sticky rice balls on a stick).
Dadacha green soybeans are mashed into a paste and used in various confectionery and snacks.
The cherries are the summer symbol of Yamagata
These bright red cherries are the summer symbol of Yamagata, of which the most famous type is the Satounishiki. These cherries taste as perfect as the look, and the best way to get your fill of them is to go cherry-picking on a fruit farm, where you can eat as many as you can pick within a certain time frame.
Yonezawa Beef is one of the most famous types of premium beef in Japan, and is found in Yamagata Prefecture. In fact, there is even a statue of the Yonezawa cow at the Yonezawa Station. The beef is prized for its fine marbling, resulting in a very soft and succulent texture.
Yonezawa Beef is one of the most famous types of premium beef in Japan
2.5h from Tokyo to Yamagata Station by JR Yamagata Shinkansen Line.