The four regions of Toyomaki, Takinosawa, Numanodai and Hirabayashi in the mountains of Okura Village in Yamagata Prefecture are collectively called Shikamura (Four Villages). There are approximately 1,900 terraced rice fields that extend out for approximately 120 hectares in total in these four districts. The scale of these is the greatest in Tohoku. These have been selected as one of the 100 top terraced rice fields in Japan. They have an appearance that can also be called an original landscape of Japan that we want to preserve for future generations.
The Shikamura district experiences some of the heaviest snowfall in Japan. There is usually snowfall cover over two meters ever year. It even sometimes reaches four meters. This severe climate and the underground water of Mt. Gassan and Mt. Hayama make the rice in these terraced rice fields even tastier. Your soul will be soothed by the landscape that you can see in each season: in spring when the water enters the paddy fields and reflects glisteningly, in the summer when the rice plants grow strong and turn green, in the fall when the rice grows golden-colored waiting to be harvested and in the winter when the entire surface becomes a snowscape.
You can collect information on visiting the terraced rice fields at the Furusato Miraikan. You will surely enjoy yourself even more if you visit after obtaining a map and checking the best viewing spots. There is a cafeteria open for lunch. It serves dishes reminiscent of the taste of a traditional hometown (e.g., soba noodles and edible wild plants raised in Okura Village). Refresh yourself in Hijori Onsen located approximately 15 minutes by car if you become tired from visiting the terraced rice fields. We recommend you spend a relaxing overnight stay here.
The firefly concert held on the first Saturday of every August is a summer tradition. The flames of approximately 1,200 candles light up the whole of the terraced rice fields and the clear sounds of pianos and ocarinas reverberate. Why don't you step into a magical world for one night only that is produced by firefly lights?