One-day experience on Mt. Haguro where participants discover Yamabushi culture and the dramatic and sacred landscape in which it has thrived for over one thousand years.
Setting out from a Shukubo (pilgrim lodge) and walking in the holy mountains with a Yamabushi guide is an age-old practice for those seeking spiritual, emotional, and physical refreshment. This “rebirth” in the mountains is a key tenet of Yamabushi Shugendo practices. In this experience you will follow in the footsteps of centuries of Yamabushi and pilgrims who have been coming to Mount Haguro to seek spiritual solace in nature.
Welcomed into Daishinbo Pilgrim Lodge, your Experience begins here, meeting your Yamabushi guide and interpreter. In the tradition of so many pilgrims before you, you will prepare yourself by donning a white robe, called “gyohi”, and creating a sacred boundary around yourself with your “shime”, an ornate paper necklace. Your pilgrimage starts when you leave the lodge and proceed to the mountain’s official entrance gate, Zuishinmon.
Your trek will pass through the gate, and your Yamabushi leader will guide you through the sacred and beautiful sites of Mount Haguro, touching on their spiritual importance as well as pausing for moments of reflection. After reaching the summit you will enter the very sanctuary of the Sanjingosaiden Shrine and participate in a ritual blessing inside. Having completed the pilgrimage from the Shukubo lodge, Daishinbo will present you with an “Ofuda” – the sacred talisman or charm. This is a symbol of your rebirth, a reminder, and a spiritual protection for your daily life. Before descending, you will be welcomed to Saikan, the temple lodge, for a unique lunch introducing you to the full range of traditional, ascetic, Shojin cuisine. The meal is made up of many small dishes, with ingredients foraged and produced locally in line with ancient customs.
This kind of pilgrimage is a popular way for lay-people to engage in Yamabushi practices and reconnect with nature in the sacred mountains of the Dewa Sanzan. In our Experience, we facilitate your participation in this time-honoured, deeply spiritual tradition, with the interpretation and support of our Megurun team. If you are interested in deeper Yamabushi practices, please take a look at our Yamabushido programs in which we facilitate traditional ascetic training with Yamabushi masters.
Mt. Haguro represents the world of the present where the troubles of the current day are overcome. With its stone stairway and Five Story Pagoda situated amongst the hundreds of towering cedar trees and Japan’s thickest thatched roof at Sanjingosaiden Shrine, the lowest-lying Mt. Haguro is the perfect initiation into the world of the Dewa Sanzan
Born and raised at the foot of Mount Haguro, Mr. Hayasaka is the 17th generation proprietor of Daishinbo Pilgrimage Lodge. After attending university in Tokyo, he moved to Sendai for work. At 29, he returned to Mount Haguro and became a Yamabushi, in order to carry on the family business. His hobbies are intertwined with the mountains, including hiking, skiing, and foraging for mountain vegetables. Until his father’s generation, Daishinbo was one of only two lodges which facilitated the Fuyunomine Winter Peak Ritual, one of the most intense ascetic traditions in these mountains.
Message to participants of the Yamabushi Guided Hike:
“By wearing the white clothing of the Yamabushi and entering the sacred sanctuaries of the mountain, you can feel the natural energy and the power of the prayers which people have dedicated. This experience, including purification will be unique and irreplaceable. I’m looking forward to seeing you.”
Daishinbo Pilgrim Lodge
Daishinbo is a Shukubo Pilgrim Lodge run by the Hayasaka family that has been hosting guests to the Dewa Sanzan for over 300 years.
The experience starts and ends at Daishinbo Pilgrim lodge which can be accessed by bus from Tsuruoka Station. Get off at Sakura Koji stop, and Daishinbo is a short walk.
Health and Safety
The weather on the mountain can be unpredictable so be sure to bring warm and waterproof layers, and a bottle of water.
Participants should be fit and able to walk without problems, to climb and descend moderate slopes and steps unaided. We recommend wearing sturdy trekking/walking shoes. If you do not bring rain gear, you may not be allowed to participate – we will go ahead with the program in light to moderate rain, and if you are not equipped you may endanger your health. Please note that in the case of very heavy rains or typhoon storms, this activity may be cancelled.
Options and customized experiences are also available.