Japan > Sakata

Sakata, Yamagata

Sakata is a city located in Yamagata Prefecture, in the Tohoku region of northern Japan.

As of October 2015, the city has an estimated population of 105,022 and a population density of 174 persons per km². The total area was 602.97 square kilometres.


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

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.


The area of present-day Sakata was the location of the provincial capital of ancient Dewa Province, although the precise location has yet to be discovered by archeologists. 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.

With the establishment of the municipalities system after the start of the Meiji period, the area was organized as Sakata Town under Akumi District, Yamagata Prefecture in 1878. Approximately 80% of the town was destroyed by the 1894 Shōkai 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, 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 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

Health care






Sakata FM Radio

Sister city relations

Local attractions

Art and historical museums

Famous and historical Sites


Shrines and Temples


- 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.

- Sakata was the shooting location for the following movies:

Notable people from Sakata

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