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A Tour of Discovery into the Roots of Shugendo, the Religion of Ascetic Mountain Monks


This three-day tour lets you experience the mystical ancient religion practiced by mountain dwelling monks for 1,300 years.


Shugendo is an ascetic tradition that embraces elements of the Shintoism and Buddhism, along with the ancient worship of natural phenomena. For 13 centuries, mountain monks known as yamabushi have practiced in the village of Kosuge, in northern Nagano Prefecture, where they were revered as powerful fighters and spiritual guides. This three-day, two-night tour will take you on a journey to experience Shugendo and learn about the dawn of Zen Buddhism in Japan. 


On the first day you will travel by e-bike to a Zen meditation session, followed by a lecture on Buddhism at a temple where the founder of Zen once practiced, and a vegetarian Zen lunch served at another important temple. Accommodations that night are at a local farmer’s inn, where you will dine on fresh local vegetable dishes.



You will spend the second day with one of the last remaining yamabushi, a long-time practitioner dedicated to preserving ascetic tradition. Dressed in the traditional white garb of the monks, he will guide you on a five-hour hike on a mountain trail, a window into the rigorous training involved in Shugendo. Along the way he will explain the history, culture, and locations of sacred spots in the mountains. For this part of the tour, you should be in good physical shape and wear appropriate clothing.


The tour, which offers a rarely seen aspect of Japan’s spiritual culture, is available from May to November. 


Access: It takes about one hour and 45 minutes from Tokyo Station to Iiyama Station by Shinkansen bullet train.



Find Your Inner Peace Spiritual Adventures ~ Three days, two nights Guided Tour


772-6 Iiyama, Iiyama-shi, Nagano-ken


Three days, two nights




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