The Shonai Region

The Pristine nature and culture of the deep Japanese Countryside.

Tucked away by vast mountain ranges along the Sea of Japan, the Shonai Region is a true hidden gem that lies far off the beaten path.


With vast open plains, mountains covered in rich forests, and endless miles of pristine coastline, this region is a major destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Its rural setting and friendly people only add to what is one of the most enjoyable and beautiful regions to cycle in this country.

The Giro De Shonai was started by the cycling community of Shonai to help revitalize this rural region and share our beautiful roads with cyclists across Japan and abroad.

Shonai Cycling

The scenic roads of Shonai have very little traffic and very considerate drivers which makes this region incredibly cycling friendly.

Places to do and see in Shonai

See more experiences on Yamagata’s tour and experience website at

The Kamo Aquarium

See the the largest display of Jellyfish in the world in this aquarium on the coast of Tsuruoka City.

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Somaro Maiko Teahouse

See the elegant dancing of the maiko of Sakata City at Somaro. Their home is a beautifully restored teahouse that you can explore and they have a daily dance at 12 noon and 2pm.

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Mt. Haguro

One of the Three Holy Mountains of Dewa that this region is famous for, Mt. Haguro is a low lying mountain that is relatively easy to climb.

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Culinary Experiences in Shonai

The Shonai Region is rich with various culinary programs and cuisine. This includes sushi workshops, fugu pufferfish demonstrations, and even mushroom harvesting in the mountains.

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The Domon Ken Museum of Photography

A beautiful museum built into a pine forest that is dedicated to Domon Ken, the legendary post war photographer.

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The Sankyo Soko Warehouses

These historic warehouses once stored rice from the Shonai Region prior to being shipped throughout Japan. You can explore the museum inside and also walk around the garden and factory grounds.

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Some of the sights you will see on your ride through Shonai during the Giro De Shonai.

Derek Yamashita

I moved to the Shonai Region immediately after graduating from UCSB and immediately fell in love with the roads of Shonai and the great cycling community of this area. I love how I can ride through dense cedar forests, over high mountains, and along the coastline all within a short 1 hour ride from my apartment door.