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Purifying Hike Led by Yamabushi Monk, with Light Lunch

Organized by Derek
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Experience Details
Experience Location
3 hours
Number of Guests
2 - 6 guests
Japanese, English
Follow an ancient path leading to Mt. Kinbo's sacred shrine under the guidance of a yamabushi monk and satiate your hunger with a yamabushi-style light meal.
Dress in the traditional white “shirosozoku” robes of the yamabushi
Hike to Kinbo Shrine with a yamabushi monk
Learn about the philosophy of mountain ascetics and experience ancient rituals and blessings
Reach a small waterfall and enjoy your yamabushi-style meal of onigiri
For each guest that attends this experience, byFood will donate
10 meals
Experience Details
If you are looking for a unique activity to reconnect you with nature and you wouldn’t mind a bit of a hike and some shinrin-yoku “forest-bathing,” book this experience in Yamagata. Our yamabushi (mountain ascetic) guide, Masato Kono, was born and raised at the base of Mt. Kinbo and has had decades of training on Mt. Kinbo and the Dewasanzan mountains in Yamagata Prefecture. He will be able to explain the ascetic practices of Shugendo (a type of ancient folk religion that shares similarities with Buddhism, Shintoism, and Taoism) through a Japanese-English interpreter. Shugendo places emphasis on the appreciation of nature; during this hike up Mt. Kinbo, you will be able to connect with the land, a luxury in our overwhelmingly technology-saturated world. First, Masato will help you put on the “shirosozoku” yamabushi garb and provide a brief itinerary for the day. Along the trek to Kinbo Shrine, you will take part in a sequence of rituals and customs handed down from ancient times. Follow your guide’s instructions, chanting or remaining in silence with a bowed head at appropriate times. Appreciate the rustling of leaves and other sounds of nature as you bask in the all-embracing peace that reigns over the deep green woodland. You can sneak in a quick snapshot while chanting, but please be respectful and discreet as you take photographs. ​ Along the way, Masato will teach you about yamabushi’s philosophy and the religious ideals of Shugendo. Being an ascetic himself, he will share his perspective and likely some personal stories as well, leaving time for questions and chatting. Upon reaching Kinbo Shrine, you will undergo a series of blessings to purify yourself before venturing along a hidden trail that leads to a small waterfall. You will feel the true spirit of the yamabushi lifestyle, nourishing yourself with some handy and humble onigiri rice balls. Then, we will return down the mountain together to the Awashima Shrine.
A English speaking yamabushi monk as a guide
Guided hike on Mt. Kinbo
Onigiri-based meal
An interpreter
Any other food of beverages
Meeting Point and Meeting Time
Awashima Shrine is at the base of Mt. Kinbo
Please be reminded to be respectful of customs and practices.
This tour is predominantly outdoors, so please dress accordingly for the weather and wear comfortable shoes or boots.
Due to the large amount of walking, pregnant women and people with serious health conditions should not undertake this tour.
Note that the shirosozoku might not be able during the winter, due to the cold weather.
Cancellation Policy
Cancel your booking at least 2 days before the experience start time to receive a full refund minus a 3.2% transaction fee.
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Experience Location

Tsuruoka City in Yamagata Prefecture is located along the Sea of Japan and features stunning landscape views. Nature-lovers will find themselves drawn to the beaches Yunohaa and Sanze, as well as Dewasanzan (Three Mountains of Dewa). Foodies will also find much to enjoy, as Tsuruoka was recognized as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy for its ancestral food, including Shojin Ryori (the vegetarian Buddhist cuisine). Other major attractions include the Kamo Aquarium, hot springs, and festivals such as Tenjin Matsuri in May and Oyama Dog Festival in June.
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(8 - 90)
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Earliest available date: June 18, 2024
¥ 15,000
per guest
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Please note that the time is in Japan Standard Time.
Free cancellation (2 days notice)
For each guest that attends this experience, byFood will donate
10 meals