Yonezawa, in Yamagata Prefecture, was once a castle town worth 150,000 koku annually and was the home of the Uesugi family. Uesugi Yozan, once praised by U.S. President Kennedy, was adopted into the Uesugi family in the then hard-up Yonezawa clan when he was just 10 years old. At 17-years of age, he became the local lord, a title under which he carried out many reforms including major cuts in clan expenditure, and the promotion of newly emerging industries. Over time, Uesugi restored the clan’s finances and saved it from bankruptcy. Even today, most of the traditional industries in Yonezawa are connected to those promoted by Uesugi as a stroll around the town will show — a stroll taken in a relaxed atmosphere thanks in part to the white walls of the old sake breweries that remain standing from centuries past.
The former Yonezawa Castle is now Matsu-ga-misaki Park and contains Uesugi Shrine and Keisho-den to remember the efforts of the Uesugi family.