City Profile

Tsuruoka's LocationMap

The City of Tsuruoka is located in the southern part of the Shonai region, on the west side of Yamagata Prefecture. With an area of 1,311km2, it is the largest city, in terms of its size, in Northeastern Japan. From east to south of the city, runs the hilly terrain of Dewa, the peaks of Asahi and the mountains of Maya. To the northwest stretches the Shonai Plain, renowned as one of the major rice producing fields in Japan, and the west end is bordered by a magnificent 42-kilometer coastline along the Sea of Japan.

The origin of the city of 140,000 residents goes back to 1622 when Tadakatsu Sakai, a grandson of then feudal lord, Tadatsugu Sakai who was one of the Tokugawa’s four heavenly kings, entered the Shonai domain, which later became a castle town of 140,000 koku.* During the Shogunate of Edo period, the 9th domain lord, Tadaari Sakai established Chidokan in 1805, a school for the feudal domain, which enhanced the samurai education and enthusiasm for learning in the domain. Such an environment for education activated learning and artistic cultures while producing numerous forerunners who devoted themselves to realizing better lives for the citizens of Tsuruoka, including development of an improved rice variety, etc.
*1 koku, the unit of income for samurai of the period, equaled approximately 150 kg of rice

People have inherited traditional performing arts, such as Noh and Kabuki, created from the citizens’ true religious faith in various parts of Tsuruoka. You can also find traditional industries and craftworks based on skills and techniques continuously cultivated by Tsuruoka’s forerunners.

The Three Mountains of Dewa, the world-class historical, cultural heritage of Japan, has been a center of religious faith in East Japan for over 1,400 years as a place of Shugen, or the way to spiritual power through discipline, which is a universal treasure that should be passed down to the next generation. In addition, the silk fabrics of Tsuruoka, one of the major traditional industries, still maintains its thorough production process from sericulture to silk dyeing, which is the only full production process that still exists in Japan. While taking over Tsuruoka’s cultural industries from generation to generation since the Meiji Restoration(1868), we have been engaged in creative merchandising activities, including creation of the “Tsuruoka Silk” brand.


Tsuruoka's traffic Network

The flight from the Tokyo metropolitan area to Shonai airport takes 60 minutes, and it takes about four hours by the Shinkansen and a limited express train to reach Tsuruoka. Highways and Expressways are conveniently stretched in the outskirts of the city, which helps transit and logistics flow efficiently.