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Mt. Yudono

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Mt. Yudono


The most secret of Yamagata Prefecture’s “Three Sacred Mountains” (Dewa Sanzan)

Yamagata Prefecture



Mt. Yudono, a major pilgrimage site of Shingon Buddhism, is typically visited after climbing Mt. Haguro and Mt. Gassan as the final destination on the “journey of rebirth” to Dewa Sanzan, the Three Sacred Mountains of Dewa in Yamagata Prefecture.

Mt. Yudono Shrine is on the side of Mt. Yudono. When you enter the shrine, you will pay a small fee for a purification prayer to grant you access to Mt. Yudono’s holy waters, which you will walk through barefoot. A Shinto priest will present you with a hitogata, a small human-shaped piece of paper that pilgrims rub over their bodies to absorb impurities before releasing the paper into the stream at Mt. Yudono.

In the context of the Dewa Sanzan pilgrimage, Mt. Yudono symbolizes the future, as it is the place where prayers are directed toward the next life. Completing the pilgrimage leads to “rebirth,” a concept belonging to the mountain ascetic practice of Shugendo that signifies the spiritual enlightenment of the pilgrim, facilitated by the divine power of the Shinto gods, the wisdom of the mountain’s Buddhist deities, and the teaching of the Shugendo masters known as yamabushi.

Mt. Yudono is open to visitors from June 1 to November 1. Reaching from Mt. Gassan to the shrine is recommended only for experienced hikers.

The descent from Mt. Gassan to Mt. Yudono Shrine takes approximately 3.5 hours. Part of the route is on a steep slope with several ladders to climb down.


How to get there


By plane: From Haneda Airport (HND), fly to Shonai Airport (SYO) (about 1 hour). Take the airport bus from Shonai Airport to Tsuruoka Station. Take a taxi from the station to “Yudonosan Sanrojo” (about 40 minutes). Mt. Yudono shrine is a 30-minute walk away.

By train: From Tokyo Station, take the JR Joetsu Shinkansen to Niigata Station (about 2 hours). From there, take the Inaho Express train to Tsuruoka Station (about 2 hours). Take a taxi from the station to “Yudonosan Sanrojo” (about 40 minutes). Mt. Yudono shrine is a 30-minute walk away.


7 Rokujuriyama, Tamugimata, Tsuruoka-shi, Yamagata-ken


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