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In the Edo Period, Sakata City prospered so greatly as a major stop on the primary northern shipping route that it was considered Eastern Japan's answer to Osaka's Port Sakai.
Sakata's Honma clan, merchants who once held the greatest amount of land in all of Japan, were so powerful that, according to a popular folk song:
“I could never compete with the Honmas, but I could maybe be a daimyo at least!”
This wealthy family built what is now known as the Honma Residence in 1768 to house the feudal lords' inspection parties.
It was presented to the rulers of the Shonai domain, the Sakai clan, but later on was bestowed back to the Honma clan, who began using it as their residence.
In having a samurai mansion attached directly to the merchant residence, this building displays a mix of architectural styles seen in only a few places in the country. It has been awarded 2 stars in the daimyoMichelin Green Guide: Japan.
- ★★ Honma Residence
|Closed days||Mid-December to late January, the exhibition installation|
|Admission fee||Adult 700yen, junior/senior high school student 300yen, elememtary school student 200yen|
Maiko Teahouse Soma-ro
This restored traditional restaurant building from the Edo period has been designated an Important Tangible Cultural Property of Japan.
At Soma-ro, guests can enjoy dance performances by Sakata maiko and a special “maiko boxed lunch”.
There are four varieties of these lunches: multi-course, broiled eel over rice, sushi bowl, and Kinka (a.k.a. Jinhua) pork cutlet.
Matcha green tea and Japanese confections are also offered. (※1)
In addition to its amazing hina doll exhibit, historic arts and crafts, portraits, and photographs are also on display at Soma-ro, featured in the Michelin Green Guide: Japan!
|Closed days||Wednesdays, the Obon holidays, the Year-end and New Year holidays open everyday during the Hina doll festival though the Maiko boxed lunch can not be offered.|
Adult 700yen, junior/senior high school student 500yen, elememtary/kindergarten pupil 300yen
ticket for entry and performance viewing 1,000yen
|Maiko boxed lunch||
3,100 - 3,500yen
Reservation required (2 days in advance. Available for 2 or more people.) Please choose one type of memu for the whole group.
(※1) Matcha green tea can be served with extra cost (600yen).
Most notable about this aquarium is its 5-meter tank, the largest circular tank in the world, and the countless jellyfish swimming in it.
The variety of jellyfish here is the greatest in the world, and is documented in the Guinness World Records.
Kamo Aquarium is a popular Shonai tourist spot, beloved by visitors from both inside and outside the prefecture! The aquarium is replete with other attractions as well, including trained sea lion shows and seagull-feeding. The view at sunset from the neighboring lighthouse is also highly recommended.
Summer period: 9am-6pm
|Closed days||Open throughout the year|
|Admission fee||Adult 1,000yen, elememtary/junior high school student 500yen|
Studio Sedic Shonai's Open Set
At the base of Mt. Gassan is a vast movie set where various productions are filmed. It features a fishing village, Edo-period post town, collier's hut, watermill, and other reconstructed features of traditional mountain settlements. Visitors can experience stage sword-fighting, archery, taiko drumming, and more!
|Closed days||Late November to late April|
|Admission fee||Adult or junior high school student 1,300yen, elememtary School student 900yen|