DEGAM Tsuruoka Tourism Bureau
First built 1,200 years ago, the Rokujūrigoe Kaidō trail in Tohoku was once the commercial, cultural and religious hub between the Shōnai region on the coast and Yamagata’s inner lands. Even though the original purposes of the paths were multiple, ranging from merchandise exchanges to military operations, it became more popular as a religious route in the 15th century.
Since then, pilgrims from all over northern Japan have converged on the Rokujūrigoe Kaidō to reach Mt. Yudono, a sacred place of mountain worship and Buddhism. Mt. Yudono’s Pilgrimage was so famous that in 1733, no less than 157,000 devotees made their way to the holy mountain.
Nowadays, the Rokujūrigoe Kaidō trail is much quieter. Even though the original pilgrimage was 100 kilometers long, the passable part of the path is currently 34km long; what remains is a challenging trekking experience - even for professional hikers. Alone or with a guide, discover along your way beech tree tunnels, several Buddhist statues and monuments, ancient sacred trees, the Nanatsu waterfalls, and three temples entombing Japanese mummies called sokushinbutsu (lit. a ‘Buddha in this very body’).
Hikers must be equipped with a “bear bell” to avoid bear encounters. The hiking season opens in June and ends in early November.
1 hour from Tsuruoka Station by bus.
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