The Yamagata Shinkansen zips from Tokyo to Yamagata in 2:45 at a cost of ¥10,690, and continues onward to Shinjo. From Fukushima onward the Shinkansen travels on an ordinary track and thus at ordinary speeds.
JR Bus Tohoku runs an overnight bus service, the Sakuranbo, from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. The trip takes about 5 3/4 hours and costs ¥6,300.
Most of the town is centered around the JR station in the middle of town. Yamagata has a bus route, taxis, and bicycles for rent. Most of the most popular tourist destinations have bus routes that run to various areas around town.
Yamako Bus, . For timetables, see the bus website.
From the JR station in the middle of town, there are free buses that will take you over to a decent amount of the local non-touristy shopping. JusCo has a bus that runs up until 4pm each day that visits the eastern Yamagata location. Central to the JR station, there is a wealth of local shops, department stores, book stores of all kinds. The main street that runs from the JR station has several side streets as well. Upon a recent visit, there were many shops that catered to all your basic needs, though very few were designed or meant exclusively as tourist destinations. There are very few chain stores in downtown Yamagata, though the skirts of town have a few chain stores like Joy (hardware), Super Denkodo (electronics), JusCo (giant supermarket), and a Toys R Us.
Jiyukukan Yamagata Takado (自遊空間山形高堂店), Takado 2-3-11, ☎ +81 023-647-2255, . 24h. A standard net cafe.(,140.30641)
Yamadera, the Mountain Temple, is nearby and the main tourist draw in these parts.
The holy mountains of Dewa Sanzan are within striking distance of Yamagata.
Mt Zao hotsprings and ski resort, famous for the formation of Juhyo (ice and snow encrusted pine trees, sometimes called snow ghosts) is a 45 minute bus ride