Yamadera (山寺), meaning Mountain Temple, is a small town well known for its beautiful, scenic Ryūshaku-ji (立石寺) temple. The town is a great spot for Autumn colours, but is excellent any time of the year. Walking up the temple area provides a great view over the town and forests, as you check out many different religious sites.

Hikers making their way up

Budget travel tips

  • The Tourist Information Center is just north of the station, over the bridge.



Price: Adults 300 yen, Children 100-200 yen

Open: 8 am to 5 pm

How to get there

The following are free with Japan Rail Pass or JR East Pass.

From Sendai, take the JR Senzan line to Yamadera station (1 hour, 840 yen).

From Yamagata, take the JR Senzan line to Yamadera station (15 mins, 240 yen).


Hostel and cheap hotels

It’s cheaper and easier to stay in Sendai or Yamagata.

Published by Matthew Baxter

Matthew Baxter is a British travel author who lived in New Zealand and Japan for many years. Having traveled across these countries, without much money, he has built up an extensive knowledge of budget travel, and also worked at many leading tourism companies in both countries. He also writes professionally for several websites and publications, such as the GaijinPot, All About and the Japan National Tourist Association. Those heading to Taiwan should check out his new site, Taiwanna Travel.