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“Shōgi” in a Galaxy Far Far Away: Craftsman Unveils Star-Wars-Themed Set (Japan in Photos)

Takahashi Chizan, a shōgi craftsman in Tendō, Yamagata Prefecture, poses with hand-carved game pieces featuring Princess Leia, and other well-known Star Wars characters. Takahashi took around a month to complete the set based on the popular science fiction franchise. The Last Jedi, the latest installment in the long-running movie series, is scheduled to hit theaters on December 15. (© Jiji)

Cross-Dressing Couple Marry in Century-Old Harvest Festival (Japan in Photos)

Children carrying pine torches escort a couple in a traditional mujina no mukasari harvest ritual in Murayama, Yamagata Prefecture, on November 12, 2017. Dating back more than 100 years, the ceremony sees the bride and groom swap places in a mock wedding to ensure the success of crops and bring prosperity in the year to come. The cross-dressing nuptials are centered on the mujina, or badger, w…

Mountains, Mummies, and Modern Art: Ascetic Practice in Yamagata PrefectureDavid McMahon

For over a thousand years, Yamagata Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan side of the northern Tōhoku region, has drawn pilgrims and mystics to its mountains. As the native Shintō faith intertwined with imported Buddhism, Yamagata became the site for scores of shrines and temples, some of which remain to the present day. The holiest of all the sites in the region are the three sacred mountains of Dew…

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