Yamagata Prefecture is the largest producer of cherries and pears in greater Japan. A large quantity of other kinds of fruits such as grapes, apples, peaches, melons, persimmons and watermelons are also produced.
Yamagata Prefecture is located in the southwest corner of Tōhoku, facing the Sea of Japan. It borders the Niigata and Fukushima prefectures on the south, Miyagi on the east, and Akita on the north. All of these boundaries are marked by mountains, with most of the population residing in a limited central plain.
As of April 1st 2012, 17% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Bandai-Asahi National Park; Chōkai, Kurikoma, and Zaō Quasi-National Parks; and six Prefectural Natural Parks.
The climate of Yamagata Prefecture is characterized by long hot humid summers and long snowy winters. Both spring and autumn are short, the former often cold, the latter often warm, but both quite dry and sunny. Yamagata Prefecture, along with northern parts of Miyagi and Iwate are the transition areas from humid subtropical climate (Koppen Dfa/Dfb) to humid continental within the Japan mainland. Winter temperatures rarely fall below -10 °C in populated areas; they frequently rise above 30 °C in July and August. Precipitation falls all year round and the remnants of one or perhaps two typhoons usually pass through between August and October. The winters see heavy snowfall especially at higher elevations, though the Japan Sea coast (Sakata) is milder and has more rain. Snowfall for Shinjō is typical of populated mountainous areas, snowfall for Yamagata City typical of the valleys. The central mountains around Gassan may see as much as 3000 cm of snow in a season with depths up to 8 metres at higher elevations.