Explore the Ancient Forest of Mt. Haguro
Wander through the ancient cedar forest along 2,446 stone steps on what is known as the mountain of the present. Mt. Haguro is one of the Dewa Sanzan, a group of three holy mountains that have been the sight of an ancient pilgrimage known as the journey of rebirth since they were first enshrined over 1,400 years ago.
During this tour we will explore the history and mysteries of this sacred land and make our way up to the top of this mountain where we will make a prayer at the Dewa Sanzan Shrine and dine on traditional shojin ryori, the traditional cuisine of the Yamabushi monks who continue to train on the Dewa Sanzan to this day.
This experience is led by Derek Yamashita, a resident of the Shonai Region who has climbed this mountain over a hundred times and presented about the rich history of the Dewa Sanzan and the Yamabushi on NHK World.
A special two day Yamabushi training program is also available here.
This program is led by Derek and Yamabushi monks on Mt. Haguro.
Experience at A Glance:
Walk up the ancient stone trail up Mt. Haguro.
Explore an ancient and serene cedar forest with trees up to 1,000 years old.
See the Five-story Pagoda in the dense forest.
Make a prayer at the Sanjin Gosaiden Shrine.
Dine on shojin ryori in a temple restaurant.
Return down the mountain or take a bus back to the base.
Event Date(s) Year Round
Activity Length Approximately 5 hours
Meeting Location Tsuruoka Station
Price 6,000 yen/person
About the hike:
At 414m (1358 ft) Mt. Haguro is a low lying mountain that is by far the most accessible of the Dewa Sanzan both in terms of accessibility and hiking time. It is easily climbable by anyone in good health and also has buses that can take you up and down from the peak for those wishing to skip the climb.
What we will do.
We will start our experience right in front of Tsuruoka Station where you will meet Derek. From here he will take you via bus to the base of Mt. Haguro where we will begin our descent into the forest that lies below the Zuishinmon Gate marking our entry into the holy land of the Dewa Sanzan.
From here we will stop along the trail to see the many landmarks along this trail and learn about the many Yamabushi rituals that have taken place for over a thousand years on this mountain. This includes the Five-story Pagoda of Mt. Haguro which is designated as a national treasure of Japan that was built over 600 years ago. This pagoda is unique for its bare wood structure that stands in the middle of towering cedar trees instead of on temple grounds as is usual in Japan.
As we continue up the mountain we will pass through towering lines of cedar trees that are 300-600 years old and take in the silence and serenity of this mountain. During the summer and fall there is also a teahouse mid-way up this trail where we can stop and take in the views of the Shonai Plains from its outlook.
Reaching the top of this mountain we will visit the Sanjin Gosaiden Shrine which enshrines all three of the Dewa Sanzan mountains and explore the temple grounds.
We will then make our way to Saikan, a temple restaurant first built in 1689 that now has lodging and meals available for visitors to the Mt. Haguro. Here we will try Shojin Ryori, the ascetic cuisine of the Yamabushi monks that was developed as part of their training which could last for months as they isolated themselves on these mountains.
Following out meal we will make our way back down the mountain and return to the station via bus.
Reservations and Important Notes
-This experience is available year-round.
-Hiking may be limited in the winter due to heavy snow.
-Participants should be in good health to climb to the top.
-Participants with difficulty climbing the mountain can opt for a bus ride instead.
-Please send us a reservation inquiry for availability.
Please let us and others know what you thought of this experience!