All about Yahiko
Yahiko Village is located in the center of Niigata Prefecture near the Sea of Japan. Famous locations include Yahiko Shrine, Mt. Yahiko, and Yahiko Onsen (Yahiko Hot Spring Resort).
Yahiko Shrine is particularly noteworthy. A spiritual destination, it boasts the greatest number of visitors of any shrine in Niigata, a prefecture known for having the largest number of Shinto shrines in the entire country.
Mt. Yahiko is situated on the west side of the village, and lush greenery and cultivated fields sprawl at its foot, creating beautiful scenery which changes with the seasons.
The best place in Niigata Prefecture to experience traditional culture and abundant natural beauty, Yahiko is waiting for you!
Spring means cherry blossoms. Yahiko becomes engulfed in pale pink.
Yahiko’s cherry trees and wildflowersFrom early April to early May, visitors can enjoy the beautiful blossoms of some 50 varieties of cherry trees, including early-blooming Higan cherries and late-blooming double-flowered cherries.
Mt. Yahiko is also known for its profusion of flowers in spring, and here visitors can encounter a variety of wildflowers from mid-March through mid-April.
Yukake FestivalDuring the Yukake (“Hot Water Splashing”) Festival, sacred hot spring water from Yu Shrine is paraded around town in a heavy cart pulled to traditional chants. Onlookers are splashed with the sacred water. Occasionally, the parade stops and Geigi female entertainers perform dances. Festival participants pray for protection from misfortune and improved luck, good health, and success in academic endeavors. The festival also prays for tourism in Yahiko to grow and become even more prosperous.
Summer is the season of greenery. A wind known as the “Yahiko Oroshi” cools the area.
Mt. Yahiko and
the Yahikoyama RopewayIn early summer, a profusion of some 10 thousand hydrangeas flower around the stations of the Yahikoyama Ropeway. On clear days, visitors to the top of the mountain can enjoy a panoramic view encompassing perfectly clear blue skies, vast ocean, Sado Island and, on the opposite side of the mountain, the sprawling Echigo Plain.
Lantern FestivalA religious tradition maintained by Echigo Ichinomiya Yahiko Shrine for a thousand years, the Yahiko Lantern Festival has been designated a National Important Intangible Folk-Cultural Property. Held over a three-day period from July 24 to 26, on the 24th, stage shows and a traditional folk song dance are held. On the night of the 25th, the festival reaches its peak; huge lantern floats are carried around the hot spring district while a fireworks show is held. On the 26th, the last day of the festival, an event known as the Kangyosai is held, bringing the three-day event to a close.
Fall is all about autumn colors.
A veritable natural work of art, the sight will take your breath away.
Chrysanthemum FestivalThis festival, held from November 1 to 24 on the grounds of Yahiko Shrine, is one of the largest chrysanthemum exhibitions in Japan. The shrine grounds are decorated with a variety of stunning and elaborate chrysanthemums, including various mid-sized classical varieties cultivated in the Edo period, and giant Okazusaki chrysanthemums which are laboriously coaxed into a dome shape consisting of close to a thousand flowers growing from a single stem. The festival’s huge landscape flower bed, created based on a new theme each year using 30 thousand small chrysanthemum cuttings, dazzles visitors with dynamic scenery.
Yahiko Park and
Maple ValleyThis public park, located close to Yahiko Station, boasts expansive grounds spanning some 130 thousand square meters. Park features such as a waterfall, stream, and stone arch pedestrian tunnel exude Japanese charm.
In autumn, the park’s trees don their beautiful fall hues; at night, the trees are lit up, enabling visitors to enjoy fall foliage watching in the evening as well.
Winter means white snowscapes.
Come see the dazzling beauty of Yahiko Shrine in winter.
The New Year’s traditions of hatsumode and ninenmairi at Yahiko ShrineStanding at the foot of Mt. Yahiko, Yahiko Shrine is visited by over one million people annually. In Japan, it is traditional to make a visit to a shrine or temple at the start of the New Year in a practice known as “hatsumode,” and Yahiko Shrine sees the most number of visitors of any in Niigata Prefecture during the New Year’s holiday.
The grounds particularly bustle from December 31 through to the evening of January 1, with the crowd reaching peak numbers around 12:00 a.m. on the first of January as people take part in a tradition known as “ninenmairi” – arriving at the shrine before the end of the old year and staying there until the beginning of the new. After praying at the shrine, be sure to write a wish on an “ema” votive tablet for a lucky start to the New Year.
Hot springsAbove all, the waters of Yahiko’s hot springs are notable for being gentle on the skin. Alkaline in nature, these waters have a soft feel, and beautify the skin by gently removing dirt and dead skin cells while moisturizing it at the same time.
Long ago, the hot spring district was developed as a shrine town around Yahiko Shrine and also prospered as a post-station town situated on the Hokkoku Highway. Here visitors can enjoy highly unique and distinctive Japanese ryokan inns, including an inn established in the Edo period and another renowned for its regional cuisine made with local ingredients.