Yamagata – click any image for full size
“I have wanted an oriental themed sim for the longest time,” Ayla Zhoy (AylaJ) says of her homestead region design Yamagata, “and here it is! I’ve spent some time slowly working on this and I hope you enjoy your visit.”
Regular readers to these pages will know that I’m immediately drawn to anything with an oriental flavour. This being the case, Caitlyn and I hopped over to take a look around as soon as the opportunity arose – and we weren’t at all disappointed.
As with many oriental regions in Second Life, Yamagata draws strongly on Sino-Japanese influences, blending the two together to create an environment which is eye-catching, relaxing, fun to explore (although do take note, it is a constant work-in-progess, and so is changing on a fluid basis) and with plenty of opportunities for photography.
The land is in fact split into a number of small islands – although such is the design, this may not immediately be obvious when exploring. The landing point sits to the north-west of the region, on an elongated islet it shares with a modest traditional Japanese style house and garden. A walk inland from the house will bring you to a stone arch, water tumbling from it as it links the island with one on which a bamboo of Pandas reside. A short distance away, and running through the trees occupying the eastern end of the island, a path provides access to the first of several bridges spanning the channels which divide up the land.
However, before you leave the landing point, make sure you accept the offered note card, it has details of a number of points of interest worth visiting when exploring. These include tea houses, onsens, houses and ruins. They can be explored in any order, and each offers a setting very much worth seeing. Paths and grassy trails run across all of the islands, linking bridges and points of interest to one another, while stone steps provide access to the region’s elevated areas.
One of the more intriguing places to visit is the stone tower rising on the west side of one of the larger islands. This sits in two parts, one preciously balanced atop the other by a mix of what appears to be a narrow neck of stone blocks, an iron ladder and gravity’s attention being otherwise occupied elsewhere! The ladders offer a way up (right-click and sit), and the tower itself is a good vantage point from which to see the rest of the region.
But really, the best way to see everything is obviously on foot, following the paths, discovering all the different locations and places to sit and contemplate or cuddle or bathe along the way. The pandas offer a cute distraction (the stone arch can be climbed over to reach them if you want – although it is not strictly speaking a bridge). There are a couple of boats in the region, but these don’t appear to be set to allow passengers to sit at present – or at least at the time of our visit; which is a pity as the one near the stone water arch makes for a nice spot from which to observe the pandas.
Yamagata really is a lovely setting, well suited to a variety of windlight settings and offering a lot for people to enjoy. The Sino-Japanese theme works well, and is complemented by a soft ambient sound scape entirely in keeping with the region.
- Yamagata (Cynosure, rated: Moderate)