Together with Mt. Gassan and Mt. Yudono, this 414 meter tall mountain is considered one of Dewa Sanzan, the three sacred mountains of Dewa. This mystical mountain has long been famous as a center of Shugendo, a syncretic religion which combines Shinto and Buddhism. The shrine at the top of the mountain, dedicated to the Buddhist deity Avalokitesvara (the Buddha who saves people living in our current world) was founded by Prince Hachiko. Because the shrine (and the mountain itself) is dedicated to granting the currently earthly prayers of living people, the mountain is also known as the “Mountain signifying the current world.”
Yamagata Pref. Tsuruokashi Haguromachitouge [map]
- Stone Step Summit Course: This course climbs from the entrance at Zuishinmon gate to the summit, covering all of the Haguro pilgrimage course. The elevation difference is 300 meters, and is 1.7 kilometer one-way. The path was made in the Edo period, and includes a stone stairway of 2,446 steps, and is lined with ancient cedars 350-500 years old. It was given 3 stars in France's travel guide, the Michelin Green Guide Japan. There are three major slopes. The steepest is the second one. When you reach the top, you can take a break at the Ni no Saka Chaya cafe, and try their famous Chikara Mochi rice cakes. The pilgrimage is called the Sando in Japanese, which can also mean path of rebirth, to show the deep effects on those who made it.
- 5-storied Pagoda (National Treasure) Course: This easy course is recommended for those who want to walk the Mt. Haguro pilgrimage path but don't have much time. The Ideha Cultural Museum near the entrance to the Mt. Haguro pilgrimage path offers education on Dewa Sanzan culture and the world of the pilgrimage, as well as a chance to try blowing a real conch horn. The Jijisugi is a 1000 year old cedar, and the largest in the Mt. Haguro area at 11.5 meters around at the base. The five-storied pagoda standing among the cedars on the first slope of the Mt. Haguro pilgrimage path is the oldest in northern Tohoku, and is designated a National Treasure. Legend says it was built by Taira no Masakado.
Information Sources: NAVITIME JAPAN
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Nearby Tourist Attractions
Yamagata Main Areas
Although often overlooked, Yamagata prefecture by no means lacks appeal: the Yamadera temple trail through the mountains, deliciously tender Yonezawa wagyu, and over 100 steaming hot springs, most notably Zao Onsen, await visitors. When winter comes, the snowcapped peaks become dotted with skiers by day and onsen-goers by night, while summer brings the celebration of juicy Yamagata cherries.