Trek Up the Holy Mountain, Mt. Haguro (with Shojin Ryori)
Hosted by Derek
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Number of Guests
2 - 9 guests
Climb the 2,446 stone steps of a centuries-old trail to the top of sacred Mt. Haguro, learn about the lifestyle of Yamabushi mountain ascetics, and enjoy traditional Shojin Ryori (Buddhist cuisine)
Trek up the ancient stone trail of Mt. Haguro, where very few foreign visitors have set foot.
Explore the tranquil cedar forest with trees reaching up to 1,000 years old.
Behold the impressive Five-story Pagoda, a surprising sight located deep in the forest.
Pray at the Sanjin Gosaiden Shrine.
Dine on Shojin Ryori (vegetarian Buddhist cuisine) at a historic temple restaurant.
The air is crisp and clear along the path up Mt. Haguro. Centuries-old cedar trees with thick trunks shade the five-story pagoda, ancient shrines, and the long-beaten trail that spans across Dewa Sanzan (the three mountains of Dewa). This tour will take you through the forest track up to the summit of Mt. Haguro, the most accessible of three holy mountains that have played host to an ancient pilgrimage known as the “journey of rebirth” for over 1400 years. Each mountain represents a different stage in the journey: Haguro-san is birth, Gas-san is death, and Yudono-san is rebirth. Your guide is a local Yamabushi (mountain ascetic) and will provide you with insights on ascetic rituals and major landmarks. Past the Zuishinmon Gate at the base of Mt. Haguro, you will access the holy land of the Dewa Sanzan and enter the dense forest. The woodlands house a wooden five-story pagoda, curiously isolated from the other temple or shrine grounds, it’s a rare model of Japanese religious architecture. Peaceful and quiet, your journey through the forest includes a stop at a teahouse during summer and fall to take a breather and enjoy the overlook the Shōnai planes. Upon reaching the top of the mountain, you will enjoy a visit to the Sanjin Gosaiden Shrine, which consecrates all three of the Dewa Sanzan mountains, and explore the sacred grounds. If your zen pilgrimage has been interrupted by sore muscles and a growling belly, soon this will be rectified! Your next stop is an energy-restoring Shojin Ryori restaurant built in 1689 as a sacred building and now repurposed to welcome visitors. “Clear body, a clear mind,” they say. What can be better than the traditional vegetarian cuisine that monks and ascetics use to nourish themselves during their training? Finally, you will make your way down the mountain and return to the station by bus, with a full belly from the meal and serene feeling of being more in touch with nature.
Back and forth bus ride from the station to the base of Mt. Haguro.
A guided hike to Sanjin Gosaiden Shrine on top of Mt. Haguro.
A typical shojin ryori meal at a temple restaurant.
Any additional food and beverages.
Bus fee to the top of Mt.Haguro, in case you want to skip the hike (650 yen).
Meeting Point and Meeting Time
Meet in front of Tsuruoka Station.
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.
Known as the “Three Mountains of Dewa,” Dewa Sanzan are Yamagata’s sacred mountains, each with shrines waiting at the top. Climbing all three mountains symbolizes a journey of rebirth: Mt. Haguro represents life; Gassan, death; and Mt. Yudono, rebirth. Mountain ascetics known as yamabushi follow “Shugendo,” a religion centered around mountain worship, and undergo physical tests and long pilgrimages.
Place a Booking
Select at least 2 guests
Select at least 2 guests
(5 - 80)
Earliest available date: September 30, 2023
Please note that the time is in Japan Standard Time.