Haraikawa's area

Dewa Sanzan,


A "spiritual dive inside nature."

What is Dewa Sanzan?

Dewa Sanzan 出羽三山 is the group name given to the "Three Sacred Mountains of Dewa" that are Mt. Haguro, Mt. Gassan, and Mt. Yudono. It has been a pilgrimage site for the practitioners of a religion called Shugendo for more than 1400 years. Shugendo 修験道 (in Japanese: "the Way of the Harsh Training"), derived from Esoteric Buddhism practices, includes principles from the Shinto religion and Taoism; it is strongly linked to Japan's original spirituality that revolves around mountain worshipping. The practitioners of Shugendo are called Yamabushi 山伏 ("those who retreat in the mountains").

The Dewa Sanzan is one of the Three Main Sites of Shugendo in Japan (日本三大修験道); it is said to have been made a sacred place by the legendary Prince Hachiko in 593. On top of being the core of the mountain worshipping religious practices in the Tohoku region, the religious tensions between Mt. Yudono and Mt. Haguro led to the emergence of the Sokushinbutsu mummies phenomenon in the Shingon Buddhist temples of Mt. Yudono. The separation between Shinto and Buddhism, ordered by the Meiji Government in 1868, led to multiple transformations inside Dewa Sanzan's shugendo practice and its architecture.

Despite those transformations, Dewa Sanzan's practice of Shugendo has been ongoing for 1400 years without stopping. Even today, you can attend Yamabushi rites, see real Yamabushi priests, and exchange with them.


Despite being the smallest of the three mountains, Haguro boasts the Five-Storied Pagoda, a National Treasure, the long stairway of 2446 stone steps, and the Dewa Sanzan Shrine

The legendary mountain that is said to have been opened by Prince Hachiko. Come see its National Treasure: the Five-Storied Pagoda and much more!

MT. Gassan

​Culminating at 1984 meters above the sea level, it is the highest of the Dewa Sanzan mountains and one of the most beautiful hikes.


Mt. Yudono was the last mountain to have become a part of "The Dewa Sanzan". It led to the emergence of many sokushinbutsu mummies.


Japan Heritage Brochure

Mt. Haguro

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Mt. Gassan

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General info


Area map


The three sacred mountains of Dewa

Dewa Sanzan tours

Yamabushi guided tours

Shojin Ryori Class with Chef Ito

Spiritual hike in Mt. yudono


The Journey of Rebirth:

Yamabushi monks of the Dewa Sanzan accomplish the three sacred mountains' pilgrimage to get reborn in a new "self".

They consider nature to be a "mother" and forests to be the maternal womb that allows pilgrims to experience a wiser, more awakened life. 

You can accomplish the journey of rebirth alone, by hiking in the mountains or accompanied by a Yamabushi monk from the Dewa Sanzan shrine.





Hiking Trails:

Mt. Yudono's yamabushi path

This path is very dangerous. We recommend you to be accompanied by one of our yamabushi guides or to be extremely cautious when crossing the river or climbing up the ladders.


Rokujurigoe-kaido Path

This pilgrimage path is 44km. long! You'll need 3 days to walk it all! So we recommend to divide your hiking experience in several parts. Ask our local guides what's the best itinerary for you.



DEGAM Tsuruoka Tourism Bureau (General Incorporated Association)

Address: 3-1 Suehiromachi, MARICA East Building, 2nd floor, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-0015, JAPAN

TEL: (+81) 0235-26-1218

E-mail: tsuruoka@degam.jp

Spoken languages:

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