Trek Historic Yamabushi Trails in the Tohoku Countryside
Natural beauty and spiritual tradition converge in the sacred Dewa Sanzan mountains
Yamagata is home to three sacred mountains known as Dewa Sanzan. These mountains have long been a site of pilgrimage for spiritual ascetics known as Yamabushi. Now you can trek the same ancient pathways with an English-speaking guide.
Each of the three mountains that comprise Dewa Sanzan is associated with a different stage in the Buddhist cycle of reincarnation. Mount Haguro, which rises 414 meters above sea level, is where Yamabushi prayed for those living in the present world.
Visit the unpainted wooden Five-story Pagoda, said to have been reconstructed 600 years ago. Climb an ancient stone staircase of 2,246 steps and wend through stately old-growth cedar forest dating back 1,000 years to reach Sanjin Gosaiden, the Shinto shrine at the peak. Appease your appetite with delectable Buddhist vegetarian cuisine called shojin ryori.
Two-day walking tours can also be arranged, and busses are available to help visitors reach the peak of Mt. Haguro.
The Hidden Japan
Touge, Haguromachi, Tsuruoka-shi, Yamagata-ken
About 3 hours