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Sakata, Yamagata


Sakata, Yamagata

Sakata Festival, held annually in May
Sakata Festival, held annually in May
Flag of Sakata
Official seal of Sakata
Location of Sakata in Yamagata Prefecture
Location of Sakata in Yamagata Prefecture
Sakata is located in Japan
Country Japan
Region Tōhoku
Prefecture Yamagata Prefecture
 • Total 602.79 km2 (232.74 sq mi)
Population (October 2013)
 • Total 107,685
 • Density 179/km2 (460/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
- Tree Zelkova
- Flower Hemerocallis
- Bird Aquila chrysaetos
Phone number 0234-22-5111
Address 2-2-45, Honchō, Sakata-shi, Yamagata-ken 998-8540
Website Official website
Sakata City Hall

Sakata (酒田市 Sakata-shi) is a city in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan.

As of October 2013, the city has an estimated population of 107,685 and a population density of 172 persons per km². The total area was 602.79 km².


  • Geography 1
    • Neighboring municipalities 1.1
  • Climate 2
  • History 3
  • Economy 4
  • Transportation 5
    • Airports 5.1
    • Rail 5.2
    • Highways 5.3
    • Seaports 5.4
  • Education 6
    • Universities 6.1
    • High schools 6.2
    • Junior high schools 6.3
    • Elementary schools 6.4
  • Health care 7
  • Media 8
    • Cinemas 8.1
    • Newspaper 8.2
    • Television 8.3
    • Radio 8.4
  • Sister city relations 9
  • Local attractions 10
    • Art and historical museums 10.1
    • Famous and historical Sites 10.2
    • Leisure 10.3
    • Shrines and Temples 10.4
  • Culture 11
  • Notable people from Sakata 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


Sakata is located in the coastal plains of the northwest corner of Yamagata Prefecture, bordered by the Sea of Japan to the west, and by Akita Prefecture to the north. The Mogami River runs through the city, which has Mount Chōkai on its northern border. The inhabited island of Tobishima, approximately 38 kilometres (24 mi) off the coast of the mainland, is within the administrative borders of the city. The island, as well as part of the mainland portion of the city, is within the borders of the Chōkai Quasi-National Park[1]

Neighboring municipalities


Sakata has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with very warm summers and cool winters. Precipitation is plentiful throughout the year, although the months from February to June have somewhat less rainfall.

Climate data for Sakata, Yamagata (1981~2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 1.7
Average low °C (°F) −1.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 168.1
Average snowfall cm (inches) 122
Average snowy days 15.8 15.7 15.6 7.2 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 3.8 10.9 69.9
Average relative humidity (%) 71 70 67 68 71 75 79 76 75 72 71 71 72.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 39.4 59.2 117.2 172.4 191.2 178.6 164.0 208.2 150.7 141.5 89.9 43.9 1,556.2
Source: Japan Meteorological Agency


The area of present-day Sakata is believed to be the location of the provincial capital of ancient Dewa Province. A port at the mouth of the Mogami River is known to have existed since the Kamakura period. Although silting rendered it less important in the Muromachi period, the area developed as a major center for the kitamaebune coastal trade during the Edo period. By the early Meiji period, the Honma clan, a local merchant clan, dominated trade and emerged as the largest landholder in Japan.

After the start of the Akumi District, Yamagata Prefecture in 1878. Approximately 80% of the town was destroyed by the 1894 Shonai Earthquake and subsequent fires. The modern city of Sakata was founded on April 1, 1933. The city largely escaped damage during World War II, save for a lone air raid on its port district on August 10, 1945, which left 30 people dead or missing. On October 29, 1976 Sakata suffered from a major fire which gutted 22.5 hectares of its city center, destroying 1,774 buildings and injuring 964 people (and one fatality).

On November 1, 2005, the towns of Hirata, Matsuyama and Yawata (all from Akumi District) were merged into Sakata.


The economy of Sakata is based on light manufacturing, agriculture and commercial fishing. Major employers include Maeta Seikan,[2] which makes concrete products and has played a major role in supporting reconstruction after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Kao, a chemical and cosmetics company[3] and the electronics company, Seiko Epson. Seiko Epson uses the local Shonai Airport for weekly employee charter flights to and from Matsumoto, Nagano since 1997.








High schools

Junior high schools

  • Sakata First Junior High School
  • Sakata Second Junior High School
  • Sakata Third Junior High School
  • Sakata Fourth Junior High School
  • Sakata Fifth Junior High School
  • Sakata Sixth Junior High School
  • Sakata Tobishima Junior High School
  • Sakata Hirata Junior High School
  • Sakata Chokai Junior High School
  • Sakata Yawata Junior High School
  • Sakata Matsuyama Junior High School

Elementary schools

  • Sakata Takusei Elementary School
  • Sakata Hamada Elementary School
  • Sakata Wakahama Elementary School
  • Sakata Fujimi Elementary School
  • Sakata Kijo Elementary School
  • Sakata Matsubara Elementary School
  • Sakata Konan Elementary School
  • Sakata Shoryo Elementary School
  • Sakata Izumi Elementary School
  • Sakata Tobishima Elementary School
  • Sakata Nishi Arase Elementary School
  • Sakata Niibori Elementary School
  • Sakata Hirono Elementary School
  • Sakata Hamanaka Elementary School
  • Sakata Kuromori Elementary School
  • Sakata Tozaka Elementary School
  • Sakata Miyanoura Elementary School
  • Sakata Higashi Hirata Elementary School
  • Sakata Naka Hirata Elementary School
  • Sakata Kita Hirata Elementary School
  • Sakata Chokai Elementary School
  • Sakata Minami Yuza Elementary School
  • Sakata Ichijyo Elementary School
  • Sakata Yawata Elementary School
  • Sakata Osawa Elementary School
  • Sakata Nikko Elementary School
  • Sakata Jimikoya Elementary School
  • Sakata Matsuyama Elementary School
  • Sakata Naigo Elementary School
  • Sakata Tazawa Elementary School
  • Sakata Minami Hirata Elementary School

Health care

  • Prefectural Nihonkai Hospital
  • Municipal Sakata Hospital
  • Municipal Yawata Hospital
  • Homma Hospital




  • Shonai Nippo (荘内日報)


  • NHK Sakata Broadcast Station
  • TV-U Yamagata Sakata Station
  • Sakata Cable Television Station


Sakata FM Radio

Sister city relations

Local attractions

Art and historical museums

  • Domon Ken Photography Museum
  • Honma Art Museum - The Honma Museum of Art is a converted old villa which once belonged to the Honma clan. The villa was used by the lords of the Sakai family in the Edo period, After Edo, it was used as a guesthouse of Sakata City. Some of the fine arts items in the museum's collection were donated by other clans in Japan, other furniture and fixings belonged to the Honma family. The museum has a garden from which Mount Chokai can be seen.[4]
  • Sakata City Museum of Art - Contains a permanent collection which mainly focuses on the work of sculptor, Takahashi Go and painter, Saito Chozo. The museum is located 20 minutes from Sakata Station and has views of nearby Mount Chōkai.[5]
  • Dewa-yushinkan - A Tea House complex located beside Sakata City Museum of Art.[6] It was built in 1994 and has a traditional Japanese design. [7]
  • Soumaro - A traditional Japanese restaurant dating back to the Edo period, where guests can enjoy performances from Maiko dancers. The culture of Maiko dancing in Sakata is a result of the city's close trading relationship with Osaka and Kyoto in the past. The building has been carefully renovated and contains many traditional features.[8] Maiko dancing performances take place daily at 14:00.[9]
  • Sake Museum

Famous and historical Sites

  • The Historical Abumiya Residence
  • Sankyo Storehouse - This storehouse was built in 1893 to store Shonai rice.[10] On the storehouse's southern side, there is a line of 41 Zelkova trees, which were planted over 150 years ago to help keep the temperature of the storehouses low during the hot summer months.[11] The modern day storehouse contains a small museum with information regarding the history and culture of Sakata, a restaurant and a souvenir shop which sells local foods and sake.[12]
  • Hiyoriyama Park - A park located close to the city center which offers panoramic views of the Port of Sakata. There are over 400 cherry trees in the park and it is home to a cherry blossom festival in late April.[13]
  • The Historical Honma Residence
  • The Kinowa Wall Site
  • The Historical Shirasaki Clinic


  • Kanpo No Sato Sakata
  • Shonai Yuuhi Oka
  • Auto Camp Area
  • Mogami River Swan Park

Shrines and Temples

  • Gate of Jofuku Temple
  • Kaikou-ji Temple - Shingon Buddhism temple located in the centre of Sakata near Hioriyama Park. The temple contains the remains of two priests who starved themselves to death through a process of self-mummification called sokushinbutsu.[14]


- Sakata Festival is a historical festival held every year in the center of the city between May 19 and May 21. The first festival was held in 1609 during the Edo period. In the past, it was called Sannou Festival. However, after a large fire damaged much of Sakata in 1976, the festival became a memorial event and was renamed Sakata Festival. There is a large parade in the central streets of the city, which features festival floats and dancers from schools, local companies and community organisations. Huge 'shishi gashira' (lion heads) are symbols of the festival. It is said that children chewed by the shishi gashira will become smart and healthy. About 350 stalls line the side of the main street selling snacks, drinks and crafts.[15]

- Sakata was the shooting location for the following movies:

  • Okuribito (English title Departures), 2008, winner of the Oscar for best foreign film.[16] Set in present time, a newly unemployed cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals.
  • Silk, 2007, a film set in the 19th century, about a silkworm merchant and his love life, based on the novel by Alessandro Baricco
  • Oshin, 2013, a film about the life of a young girl named Oshin who grew up in poverty in the Sakata region. The film was directed by Shin Togashi.[17]

Notable people from Sakata


  1. ^ "Natural Parks of Yamagata Prefecture" (PDF) (in Japanese).  
  2. ^ "前田製管(株) - マイナビ2015". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Sakata Plant". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Honma Museum of Art - Sakata - Tohoku - Japan Travel Guide and Information - att.JAPAN". att.JAPAN. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Japan National Tourism Organization. "Sakata Area - Japan National Tourism Organization". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  9. ^ Yamagata Prefecture Tourism and Products Association. "Sakata City Area". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Sokushinbutsu - Japanese Mummies - Japan Reference (JREF)". Japan Reference (JREF). Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ 2009 Best Foreign Film
  17. ^

External links

  • Official website (Japanese)
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