city in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan
Tsuruoka (鶴岡) is a city in Yamagata.
- 1 Shonai Airport (SYO IATA, 庄内空港, shonai kūkō) (shuttle buses run to Tsuruoka (30 minutes, ¥740)). The nearest airport. Only flights to Tokyo Haneda Airport with ANA.
- 2 Tsuruoka Station (鶴岡駅, tsuruoka-eki). Tsuruoka is on the JR Uetsu Line which runs along the Sea of Japan. The Nihonkai night train passes through Tsuruoka -- its southern terminus is Osaka, and its northern terminus is Aomori.
- From Tokyo, Tsuruoka is reachable in as little as four hours by taking a Joetsu Shinkansen Toki or Max Toki service, changing in Niigata to one of several daily Inaho limited express trains (¥12,760). Taking local trains from Tokyo is silly, because the overnight bus is comparable in price and faster (though if you're doing the Seishun 18 ticket, this train option, though slower, will still be several times cheaper than the cheapest bus.)
- Shonai Kotsu Yuhi Express (庄内交通, 夕陽号). about 8 hours from Shibuya to Tsuruoka. Shonai Kotsu runs an overnight bus, the "Yuhi Express", from Shibuya and Ikebukuro in Tokyo to Tsuruoka. ¥7540 one way, ¥13,570 round trip.
Tsuruoka City has an official website in English that you can check to get around the city and discover hotels, restaurants and hot springs.
The city also has an official Japanese website which is very exhaustive in terms of Tsuruoka's cultural heritage.
- 1 Chidokan (致道館), 馬場町１１−４５ (just SW of Tsuruoka Park, opposite the traffic light), ☏ +81 235-23-4672. Tu-Su 09:00-16:30, closed Dec 29-Jan 3. This clan school, for samurai children, was built centuries ago by Sakai Tadanori. It's the last of its kind in the region. Free.
- 2 Shonai Shrine (荘内神社), 馬場町４−１ (in the ruins of Tsuruoka Castle in Tsuruoka Park), ☏ +81 235-22-8100. This shrine was built to honor Lord Sakai Tadatsugu and three of his contemporaries.
- 3 [dead link] Zenpoji Temple (善宝寺), 下川字関根１００ (a 20-minute drive from Tsuruoka Station; it's just west of Highway 38, 2.7 km north of the Highway 112 junction). This temple, founded in the 1200s, is known for its five-storied pagoda. There are several other temple buildings, too.
- 4 Kamo Aquarium (加茂水族館). With over 60 species of jellyfish, it has more jellyfish varieties than any other aquarium in the world. The "Jellyfish Dream House" featuring over 2000 moon jellyfish is one of the aquarium's top highlights. Although the jellyfish are the main draw, there are other exhibits and sea lion shows. The restaurant is also noteworthy for its jellyfish ramen and jellyfish ice cream, which both contain real jellyfish. ¥1000.
- 5 Honmyoji Temple (本明寺). Home to the mummy of Togashi Yoshibei, a samurai. His self-mummification was completed in 1683 making him the oldest of the city's mummies. It is also said to be the best-preserved.
- 6 Nangakuji Temple (南岳寺). One of the temples housing a sokushinbutsu or Buddhist mummy. The mummy here is that of a man named Tetsuryukai who was said to have entered the temple at age 16 after being involved in a murder. He served the temple for many years until he mummified himself in 1881 at age 62.
- 7 Dainichibo (大日坊). One of the sokushinbutsu temples.
- 8 Churenji Temple (注連寺). This temple houses the mummy of Tetsumonkai, a man who joined the temple at age 21 as repentance for murdering two soldiers. The temple is also said to have been built by the famous priest, Kukai.
Tsuruoka's claim to culinary fame is dadacha-mame (だだちゃ豆), the local variant of the popular snack edamame. The appearance and taste resembled peas in the pod, and many are surprised to find out that this, too, is actually made from soybeans.
- 1 Obako Shokudo (おばこ食堂), 日吉町６−１１ (3 blocks south and 1 block east from Tsuruoka Station), ☏ +81 235-22-6307. 11:00-19:00. This ramen shop has standard flavors of ramen. Its specials include cold chuuka and seafood ramen. ¥700-1,500.
go to city central or Yunohama hot spring.
- Dewa Sanzan. The three holy mountains of Shugendo.
- Sakata. The port city of Sakata is 24 km NW and is connected to Tsuruoka by Expressway, Route 7, and the Uetsu Main Line.
- Yurihonjo. Explore Yurihonjo, a city in SW Akita Prefecture.
|Routes through Tsuruoka|
|Akita ← Sakata ←||N S||→ Murakami → Niigata|
|END ←||W E||→ Gassan → Yamagata|
|Sakata ←||N S||→ END|