For over 1,500 years, Yamabushi monks have wandered the Dewa mountains draped in the white robes of the dead and with horagai shell slung around their necks. Yamabushi are the followers of the ancient religion known as Shugendo, a mix of native Shinto beliefs and esoteric Buddhism. For the Yamabushi, the mountains are gods and all that comes from the holy mountains is to be considered sacred. Among all mountains however, none are more holy than the three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan; Mt. Haguro, Mt. Gassan, and Mt. Yudono. Throughout history monks, worshippers and travelers have ventured out to make the pilgrimage to these three mountains so that they too can purify their souls as well as bask in the spectacular pristine nature here in Shonai.
During this program, you will stay at a traditional Yamabushi shukubo lodge at the base of Mt. Haguro which will serve as your base as you take part in a variety of rituals on Mt. Haguro. Shukubo lodges have been used since ancient times as meeting places and points of rest along Yamabushi’s pilgrimage. While there were over 300 shukubo at the base of Haguro during their peak in the 17th century, today there are less than 30 making your stay all the more special.
The training commences with you dressing into the traditional shirosozoku robes of the Yamabushi. These robes are stark white and considered to be the robes of the dead as in Shugendo one is considered among the “other world” once you enter the sacred mountains. From there you will venture along the sacred trail of Mt. Haguro where you will ascend 2,446 stone steps to the Dewa Sanzan Shrine at the peak.
Your journey will be led by one of the Yamabushi monks of the Dewa Sanzan and is co-led by a bilingual local guide who has extensive knowledge of the Yamabushi as well as having taken part in the training of the Yamabushi.
Note that taking part in this Yamabushi experience does not make one a Yamabushi, but rather serves to offer an educational experience that betters one’s understandings of the lives and traditions of the Yamabushi.
-Take part in Yamabushi training on Mt. Haguro with the Yamabushi of the Dewa Sanzan Mountians.
-Dress into the shirosozoku robes of the Yamabushi and take part in a morning ritual before venturing into the mountains with the Yamabushi.
-Try shojin ryori, the traditional cuisine of the Yamabushi monks during your stay.
-Led by both Yamabushi and a local guide who is well versed in the Dewa Sanzan.
|LOCATION||Miyatabo, a Yamabushi shukubo lodge at the base of Mt. Haguro|
|Event Date(s)||Mid-April to Late November (depending on the snow)|
|Activity Time||See Below|
|Activity Length||2 Days|
Check into Miyatabo, a traditional Yamabushi lodge that has hosted Yamabushi and travelers to the Dewa Sanzan Mountains for over 150 years.
Here you will be able to explore the surrounding town of Togue or use a rental bike to cycle around the forests and see the temples at the base of Mt. Haguro on one of the model courses available.
In the evening you will enjoy a traditional shojin ryori dinner course served up by Miyata San and the family of the shukubo.
Miyatabo also has onsen baths you can use in the evening.
Wake up early in the morning to meet your guides to take part in a fire ceremony by the Yamabushi of Miyatabo where you will be guided through this ritual where you will be blessed with protection before venturing into the mountains.
After this, you will enjoy a light shojin ryori breakfast in the lodge before getting dressed into the shirosozoku robes with the yamabushi and local guide who will join you in the mountains.
Following this you will venture through the shukubo street of Mt. Haguro before venturing into the forest of Mt. Haguro to ascend its 2,446 stone steps to the Dewa Sanzan Shrine at the top of the mountain. Along the way you will learn about the history and spirituality of the Yamabushi monks with your guide and about the many cultural and national treasures along this sacred trail.
Along the trail you will stop for tea at a rest house with a beautiful view of the Shonai Plains before exploring the Dewa Sanzan Shrine at the top of the mountain.
You will then descend back down this mountain with your guides before returning back to Miyatabo and dressing out of your robes.
Included in price
- All rituals costs
- Lodging at a Yamabushi lodge
- Cost of “shirosozoku” robes
- All meals
- Yamabushi and local guide on day 2
- Transportation to/from starting/ending points of the tour
- Personal travel insurance
- Personal costs incurred during the tour (souvenirs, etc.)
- Any unscheduled travel
This experience will start and end at the Miyatabo Shukubo Lodge on Mt. Haguro.
This location is reachable via bus from Tsuruoka Station.
You may also park your car here.
We are also able to arrange transportation to and from this lodge upon request.