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[Feature] Kaneyama ! Stroll in a retro town


Kaneyama Town is surrounded by rich cedar and beech forests and gives a strong impression of lush greenery.

The town center is lined with retro buildings and is dotted with restaurants and cafés, making it a perfect area for walking around.

This time, we’ll introduce you to the charms of Kaneyama Town and its recommended spots.

1. Oi Park

① Kaneyama Weir

First of all, I would like to introduce the main symbol of the town, the Kaneyama weir.


The Kanayama weir flows through the center of the town and has been used as an agricultural canal.

It has a long history and was developed at the end of the Sengoku period.

During renovation work in the 1970s, it was designed to match the town’s landscape and was reborn with its current appearance.


Approximately 150 carp are released from late April to mid-November, and you can watch them swimming happily.

The contrast between the clear water flowing from the mountains and the beautiful colorful carps was so beautiful that I couldn’t help but stare at it.

You can also feed them bread. It’s friendly and cute♪

② Rest area

There was a free rest area right next to Oiwa soba.


This place used to be a clinic, but it was rebuilt because it was vacant.

It has a tatami room, so you can stretch your legs and take a rest. Of course, there is also a restroom area.

It seems that events such as tea gatherings are held regularly.

③ Isabella Bird Monument

I found a rather unusual stone monument near the rest area!


This is the Town Visit 100th Anniversary Monument by Isabella Bird, a British female travel writer who traveled to Tohoku and Hokkaido during the Meiji period and wrote Unbeaten Tracks in Japan: Travels of a Lady in the Interior of Japan.

Bird, who traveled north from Niigata on the Ushu Kaido Road, is said to have been especially impressed by the splendid scenery of Kaneyama during his trip, and wrote in his book that it was a place with a “romantic atmosphere.”

The townscape from that time still remains in many parts of the town.

2. Kanayama townscape

This is the old Ushu Kaido road in the center of town.

There are Kaneyama residences characterized by their white walls and dark brown gabled roofs in this area.
(*Gable roof = roof shaped like a book half open and lying down)


It’s a townscape that makes you feel like you’ve traveled back in time to a long time ago.

This shopping street, centered around the Kaneyama Town Hall, has about 15 shops that tourists can casually drop by.

There are rest areas here and there, so you can take a stroll, rest, and then walk again!


For about 40 years, Kaneyama Town has been promoting the “100 Years of Streetscape Creation Campaign,” in which residents have worked together to beautify the entire town and the areas around their homes.

As you walk around the town, you can see that the locals are actively participating in the movement, as you can see the same variety of flowers displayed at the entrances of every house.

In 2010, the town’s efforts have been highly praised, including winning the “Beautiful Townscape Award” at the Cityscape Award sponsored by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, and the “Urban Landscape Day” Committee.

3. Exchange Salon Post

I found a pure white building 1 minute walk from the Kaneyama weir!


This building was rebuilt with exactly the same dimensions as the old Kaneyama Post Office.

The nostalgic daruma design is impressive.

The first floor is an unmanned rest area, and the second floor is a classroom where local children can play and study freely.


Inside the building, Kaneyama cedar is used abundantly, creating a warm and relaxing space.

The dimensions of the building at the time have been precisely reproduced, so the area that used to be the reception desk still remains.

Free Wi-Fi is available, so you can work on your computer and spend your time as you please.


There was such a beautiful garden outside the window.

This garden is also managed by the town, and you can enjoy a variety of scenery depending on the season.

This seems like it will last a long time.

Detailed information

Exchange salon post

Exchange salon post

364 Kaneyama, Kaneyama Town


4. Kurashikan


Next we went to the Kurashikan, which is the center of cultural activities in town.

The storehouse in the foreground of the photo is the office of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

This storehouse was once owned by the Kishi family (trade name Marui), a merchant family known as “Danshu.”

It had been used as a rice storehouse and a miso store, but the town took it over and renovated it.

① Marui House

The Marui residence is located right across from the Kurashikan.


It’s a wonderful building! I was overwhelmed by the size.

It is said to be about 140 years old. I can imagine that he was one of the richest merchants in the area.

② Interior of the Kurashikan


I was surprised that the inside of the warehouse was bigger than I expected!

The ceiling is high, and the beams on the roof give it an elegant feel.

It is open to the public free of charge, so you can use it as a rest area.

③ Tea gathering space

Various events are held regularly at the Kurashikan.


Every Sunday from May to October (10:00 to 15:00), the Kuranokai association hosts tea gatherings.

Macha green tea and sweets are available for 500 yen per person, and you can easily participate without making a reservation. (Reservation required for groups)

It’s located in the middle of Kaneyama’s sightseeing course, so it’s perfect for a break ☆

Detailed information



398 Kaneyama, Kaneyama Town



5. Bicycle rental (COCO-BIKE)


The town also offers bicycle rentals.

Touring Kaneyama Town takes about 1 to 1.5 hours even if you walk around slowly, but this bicycle rental service is convenient for those who want to get around the bases smoothly!

In addition, there are many paths in the town that you can enjoy in various ways, so it is recommended not only for the classic course along Ushu Kaido Road, but also for those who want a little adventure.

The more you explore the town, the more you’ll discover the charm of Kaneyama.


Usage hours
9:00~17:00 (not available during winter)


3h: 500 yen / 6h: 800 yen
Electric bicycle
3h 1,000 yen / 6h: 1,500 yen

Rental counter
Cocokara Co., Ltd.
TEL: 0233-64-2070

6. Kigokoro Bridge

Unique to Kanayama Town! The sidewalk that looks like this is also a must-see.


This is a wooden pedestrian bridge made with plenty of Kaneyama cedar.

It was built in 2004 because the old National Highway Bridge, which is right next to it, has a lot of traffic and has no sidewalks, making it very dangerous.

Its presence is amazing when you see it in front of your eyes!


A covered wooden walkway is very rare, and many people come from far away just to see this bridge.

In order to create a design that blends into the landscape, a method of curving the wood was used, making it a symbol of the high level of skill of Kaneyama’s craftsmen.


The name Kigokoro Bridge comes from the words “heart of the tree” and “knowing kindred spirit.”

In addition to respecting the tree, it also represents the desire for local people to use it without hesitation!

There are wooden benches set up along the bridge where you can take a break while admiring the beautiful scenery.


Mt. Kamuro is in the back, and the Kaneyama River flows from there.

It’s a picturesque scenery☆

In spring, it becomes a cherry blossom viewing spot where you can admire the rows of cherry blossom trees.

Furthermore, a 20-minute walk from here is a beautiful weeping cherry tree called “Taya Ipponzakura.”

7. Marco's Storehouse


This is a street corner exchange facility located right in the center of town.

The building and land of the Nishida family, which once flourished as a merchant family, has been maintained and has been used as a place of relaxation for tourists and local residents since 2013.

① [Special Exhibition] Exhibition of works by world-renowned artists

From April 2023, an organization represented by international environmental artist Hiroko Sai will serve as the designated manager and operate the site.

In addition to working on the symbol monument for Expo 2005 in Aichi Prefecture in 2005, Sai also held an invited solo exhibition to commemorate the 50th anniversary at the United Nations UNESCO Headquarters.While delivering peace to the world through art, We have released one after another works that stimulate human creativity and imagination.

Many of Sai’s works are on display at Marco’s Kura, and through his unique art, you can receive positive energy that cannot be expressed in words.


This is a work called “Message Art Opening the 21st Century” that will be shown for the first time in Japan.

It has been on display at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France since 1997, and messages for peace were written on it by one million people from 187 countries around the world, including the United Nations Secretary-General and the presidents of each country.

The piece is actually 500 meters long, and it seems that part of it was transported from France to Kaneyama Town over time!

I can feel the wishes of many people for peace.


Original works drawn in Marco’s warehouse are also on display.

Sai’s works are characterized by drawing inspiration from a theme and using the entire body to draw with breathing and rhythm.

Originally, Mr. Sai had no relation or connection to Kaneyama Town, but when he was introduced to the town and was told that “Yamagata is a wonderful place,” he was captivated by its sophisticated townscape and decided to continue his activities here. It seems that he decided.

“I was strongly attracted to the fact that it retains the goodness of Japan but doesn’t feel old,” he said.


In the second floor gallery, there are also works that collaborate with photos of Kaneyama’s landscapes and festivals.

It seems that he placed a photo under an acrylic board and painted based on the image of the photo.

The various expressions of Kaneyama, such as fireworks displays and weddings, are transformed into art, showing a different kind of beauty.

② Café and souvenirs


The first floor is a café where you can enjoy coffee or a light meal while looking at the art.

You can also purchase souvenirs such as Kaneyama cedar crafts, aroma oils, and handmade accessories.

③ Rest area


There is a spacious space like this in front of the brewery, and anyone can use it freely!

There are tables available, so it would be nice to have lunch here.

④ Message

Lastly, I received a message from Sai Hiroko.


“Kaneyama is a special place where you can feel the love from the entire town.

From Kaneyama, we would like to send various messages to the world.

Please feel free to come and experience the power hidden in art and the splendor of this town at the same time. ”

Detailed information

Marco's Storehouse

Marco's Storehouse

363 Kaneyama, Kaneyama Town
☎ 0233-32-1212


Weekdays 9:30-17:30
Saturday/Sunday/Holidays 9:00-17:30
The current exhibition will run until the end of March 2024.
Please note that the exhibition contents may change after April.

8. Kappo Sakaeya

It’s lunch here♪

We will have lunch at Sakaeya.


Located about a 4-minute walk from Marco’s Kura, this is a long-established Japanese cuisine kappo restaurant that has been in Kaneyama Town for 110 years.

Currently in its fourth generation, the owner utilizes traditional techniques to offer a variety of heartfelt dishes.

I’m a little nervous, but let’s get started!

① Room


The rooms have a pure Japanese style and a quaint appearance.

It was a relaxing space with a sense of tradition.


Such a wonderful folding screen.

As expected, the restaurant has been around for 110 years, so it has a long-established feel!

② Lunch set review

Click here for the lunch set menu!


Surprised by the beauty of the food and the variety of items★

You’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of Yamagata specialties such as imoni, soba, and motenohoka (edible chrysanthemum)!

This is a lunch set that changes daily, and you can enjoy local dishes that make use of local seasonal ingredients.

The price is around 1,700 yen per person, but it may change slightly depending on the ingredients available that day

If you reserve in advance, it seems like you can arrange for a lunch according to your budget.
(We recommend advance reservations for the lunch set as quantities are limited)


This is candied sweetfish.

We use fresh ayu caught in the Mogami area and are slowly simmered until the bones are soft.

This is a masterpiece where you can enjoy the unique rich flavor of sweetfish as you chew.


The homemade soba noodles made with buckwheat flour from Kaneyama are also delicious and go down smoothly.

Although they are particular about the production area, they do not always use the same variety of buckwheat flour, but instead use several different types depending on their availability.

Sakaeya is actually known as a kappo restaurant with delicious soba, and many people come from outside the prefecture to try it.

Apparently celebrities sometimes come incognito!

③ Soba menu

There are so many types of soba noodles.


It seems that the soba menu at Sakaeya was actually sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the number of dinner parties had decreased, they began serving hand-made soba noodles for lunch only, and the number of customers rapidly increased due to their deliciousness.

There are many repeat customers, and the taste is appreciated even by soba lovers.


This is a room exclusively used for soba noodles. There are many vintage records on display, giving it a nostalgic feel.

The owner, Mr. Hoshikawa, kindly answered the interview.

“When you hear the word kappo, you may think it’s a bit difficult to enter, but please feel free to come and enjoy the food.”

Thank you for your message.

The staff were warm and the store was very comfortable.

Detailed information

Kappo Eieya

Kappo Eieya

427 Kaneyama, Kaneyama Town
☎ 0233-52-2827

11:30~13:30 & 17:00~23:00


Irregular holidays

9. Chouhouya

I came here because I heard that the farm-fresh food is popular with both locals and tourists alike.


Chouhouya is located in front of the Kaneyama Town Hall.


The store was filled with freshly harvested vegetables.

You can tell it’s fresh just by looking at it!


There are also a wide variety of pickles and mushrooms. Anyway, it looks fresh and delicious.

They also have fruits and sweets, so you can get everything in one place. This is a store that is indispensable for local people.

By the way, the origin of the store’s name, Chohouya, comes from the words “to be useful” and “a place to exchange information.”

Our hope is that everyone will feel free to use this space as a place of relaxation.

① Be-Nuts butter

Peanuts are produced in Kaneyama Town, and efforts are being made to brand them under the name “Be-Nuts.”

At Chohouya, you can purchase the peanuts in paste form.


I bought a bag of peanuts for 600 yen and put them into the machine.

It will immediately turn into a paste!


When I tried it, I was surprised at how rich the flavor was! It has a subtle sweetness that makes it addictive.

Kaneyama-produced peanuts have a higher nutritional value than regular peanuts.

In addition to seasoning, it can be used in various ways depending on your imagination, such as spreading it on bread or making sweets.

② Handmade ohagi & Inana mochi

Discover the perfect product to accompany your sightseeing in Kaneyama!


These are mochi rice cakes made by local people. It looks delicious.

It’s also nice to be able to share and eat with friends.

By the way, yellow Igamochi are said to have been made to look like ears of rice to pray for a good harvest, and are found only in Yamagata Prefecture in Tohoku.

③ Burdock Tataki

The burdock tataki (580 yen) is popular among locals and tourists alike.


This is a snack made with locally grown burdock root, which is pounded and fried twice, then mixed with sweet and salty sauce.

Mr. Hiwatari, the store’s owner, makes all of the products by hand, and they are so popular that they always sell out early.

The unique texture of crispy and moist and the exquisite combination of burdock flavor and sauce will make you unable to stop eating.

This is a product you should definitely try when you come to Kaneyama!

Detailed information



413 Kaneyama, Kaneyama Town
☎ 0233-52-2501



New Year’s Day

10. Kishi Furniture Store

The last place we would like to introduce is this shop that we recommend for choosing souvenirs.

They offer a wide range of woodwork products that take advantage of the beautiful grain of Kaneyama cedar.


Kishi Furniture Store opened in 1965, and has been loved for many years as a store that has taken root in the area and has all kinds of furniture.

One day, the shop owner received a request to order a frame for a certificate, and he thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to make one out of Kaneyama cedar?” and that’s when they started manufacturing and selling wood products.

Mr. Kishi, the shop owner, had no prior experience in woodworking, but through trial and error, he was able to commercialize his products.

① Cutting board

Inside the store, there are many beautiful woodworks with lattice patterns.


The most popular one is the cutting board, which has a reputation for being easy to use.

It is made by combining several Kaneyama cedar wood ends, and no two pieces have the same pattern.

In addition, it is very easy to use because it absorbs water and prevents cut ingredients from slipping.

A beautiful cutting board like this will probably increase your motivation for cooking.

② Photo frame

This is a photo frame with a warm design.


If you decorate it with picture letters, it will become a wonderful interior. There is a faint scent of cedar.

There was also a variety of woodwork such as coasters, breadboards, bowls, tables, and attaché cases.

Do most people buy it as a gift? I thought so, but 90% of people buy it for themselves! Moreover, there are many repeat customers.

But I totally agree. There are so many attractive products that when you look at them, you want to try them yourself.

③ Room light

I was a little surprised by the lighting here.


The board is made as thin as possible, allowing the light to shine through.

I was surprised at the high quality. You would never guess that this is made from Kaneyama cedar scraps!

Mr. Kishi has increased the variety of products despite many failures.

I can really feel the love for Kaneyama cedar.

④ Operation project

He also showed us how they are made.


The back of the store is a workshop, with lots of wood and machines lined up.


The process involves arranging pieces with consecutive wood ends, checking the balance, and deciding on the best combination.

No matter how small the scraps can be used, they can be used as a treasure trove without wasting anything. Furthermore, the designs are endless through combinations.

It is said that it is interesting that it can transform into various shapes depending on your ideas.


Once the combination is decided, glue it together.

After that, it is completed after going through processes such as cutting and sanding.

Mr. Kishi handles the entire process by himself, and of course each piece is one-of-a-kind.

Because of its high quality, it seems to be gaining support not only from inside and outside the prefecture but also from enthusiasts overseas.

⑤ Message

Despite the ups and downs, Mr. Kishi works hard to create woodwork while enjoying the story of the process until completion.

Lastly, we received a message for everyone who watched VISIT YAMAGATA.


“We have a large selection of wood products that allow you to experience the quality of Kaneyama cedar.

Regardless of whether you buy or not, please stop by and enjoy the eye candy!”

Detailed information

shore furniture store

shore furniture store

2117 Kaneyama, Kaneyama Town
☎ 0233-52-2136


11. Finally

Quite a stroll around Kaneyama Town, how was it?

In addition to the facilities and stores we interviewed this time, there are many other attractive places in Kaneyama Town.

With all the attractions packed into the center of town, it’s the perfect destination for a short trip, so be sure to give it a visit!

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