A cycling tour and weaving experience
An easy, one-day guided cycling tour exploring the traditional side of Yamagata City. Ride to a Japanese garden, a minor holy mountain to explore a hidden shrine, and the artisan district Hirashimizu for a weaving experience.
Active and artisanal in Yamagata City
A weaving experience to make a coaster which you can take home
A English-speaking local guide/interpreter to lead your tour
Approximately 5 hours
Subject to availability.
We ask for reservations 3 weeks in advance to accommodate for the schedule of the local guide and weavers who will lead your tour and experience. However, you are welcome to send us an inquiry as little as 2-3 business days in advance and we will see if there is still any availabilty.
Please notify us at least 3 days before the date of your tour to cancel or modify your reservation.
A cycling tour to a kimono maker’s workshop, a hidden shrine, and more
Start your tour by meeting your guide and picking up bicycles at Q1, Yamagata City’s new creative center housed in a tastefully renovated former schoolhouse. From Q1, cycle out to Hirashimizu, a district on the eastern edge of Yamagata City that is home to a number of artisans’ workshops.
In Hirashimizu, visit Tomihiro—a kimono maker that has been in business for well over four hundred years and is considered one of Japan’s top three kimono producers. Tomihiro began as an apothecary, but soon found greater success in kimono making. From dyeing to spinning to sewing, every step of the process is still done in house, and Tomihiro’s origins as an apothecary are still evident in their pride and expertise in natural dyeing. The pigments they use to dye their thread are extracted exclusively from natural sources, such as peach tree leaves for an earthy chartreuse, and a vibrant carmine red still derived from real cochineal.
After a guided tour of the workshop and explanation of the dyeing, spinning, and weaving processes, one of Tomihiro’s accomplished weavers will help you weave your own coaster using their naturally dyed thread.
Hirashimizu is located at the foothills of the mountains that form the border between Yamagata and the neighboring prefecture to the east. Your guide will lead you a short ways into these foothills, to a hidden shrine where Takemikazuchi—god of swords and thunder—and Ame-no-Uzume—goddess of mirth, meditation, revelry, and the arts—are enshrined. From there, hike a trail leading to the peak of a minor holy mountain called Raijinyama (lit. “Thunder God Mountain”). The full length of he trail extends much further, part of a pilgrimage route deeper into these borderlands, but this tour hits just this first peak then descends back down to the city. Though the round trip to Raijinyama can be accomplished in about 40 minutes, don’t let the short hike time fool you into thinking it’s more of a stroll—parts of this trail are actually quite steep!
After descending Raijinyama, hop back on the bike and ride to a teahouse for a pick-me-up of tea and sweets: either traditional Japanese wagashi, or Western-style baked sweets infused with Japanese flavors like matcha and azuki bean.
The last sight along the tour route is Momiji Park, home to a beautiful traditional Japanese garden. Once the grounds of a temple, the garden and temple buildings are now owned by the city and open to the public.
From the garden, cycle back to Creative City Center Q1 to return your bicycles. The tour is over, but feel free to linger and explore the shops and architecture of the Center, or stroll the Nan0kamachi district Q1 is located in to enjoy food, drink, and historical sights. Ask your guide, and they’ll be happy to provide personalized recommendations.
You can send a booking inquiry for your experience below. After receiving your inquiry, we will confirm the booking with our partners and send you a booking confirmation email at least 3 days before your desired date.
Please note this form does not guarantee availability on your desired date. After receiving your inquiry, a confirmation email will be sent.
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