This feudal fortress was built over 650 years ago right in the middle of Yamagata City. The trials of the ages have led to the loss of many interior parts of the once-imposing castle, which is why active archeological excavations are still underway to recover what was lost to time.
That’s not to say this castle is some dusty old relic — far from it! The grounds and surrounding area have since been converted into Kajo Park, which is a bustling green space filled with picnicking families, drinking students, and napping salarymen in the afternoon.
During sakura season you’ll find the outer walls draped in pink, as the park’s 1500-plus cherry blossoms come into full bloom around the walls and moat. There are few better places in the area to enjoy spring in Japan.
If you prefer your attractions on the slightly more serious side, the park also has a medical museum housed inside a converted hospital which is free to enter.