Haraikawa's area

Dewa Sanzan,


A "spiritual dive inside nature."

What is the Dewa Sanzan?

Dewa Sanzan 出羽三山 is the collective name given to the "Three Sacred Mountains of Dewa" — Mt. Haguro, Mt. Gassan, and Mt. Yudono. It has been a pilgrimage site for religious practitioners of ‘Shugendo’ for more than 1400 years. Shugendo 修験道 (in Japanese: "the Way of the Harsh Training”) is derived from Esoteric Buddhism practices; it includes principles from both the Shinto religion and Taoism and is strongly linked to Japan's original spirituality that centers on the worship of mountains. 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), designated sacred in 593 by the legendary Prince Hachiko. In addition to being central for 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. Sokushinbutsu are mummies of Shingon Buddhist monks who committed to harsh practices in order to mummify their own bodies. This was done in an effort to become Buddhas themselves.The separation between Shinto and Buddhism—ordered by the Meiji Government in 1868—led to multiple transformations within Dewa Sanzan's Shugendo practice and its architecture.


Despite those transformations, Dewa Sanzan's practice of Shugendo has been continuous for the past 1400 years. Even today, you can attend Yamabushi rites performed by Yamabushi priests, and even interact with them.

Overview of the Dewa Sanzan

The Three Sacred Mountains of Dewa:

Mt. Haguro

The mountain of Present

Mt. Gassan

The mountain of the Past

Mt. Yudono

The mountain of Future

Dewa Sanzan's Yamabushi and "The Journey Of Rebirth"

Yamabushi monks of the Dewa Sanzan undertake the ‘three sacred mountains' pilgrimage to become reborn into a new “self.”

They consider nature to be a “mother," and forests in particular to act as a maternal womb, allowing the pilgrims to experience a wiser, more awakened life.

You, too, can take the journey of rebirth by hiking in the mountains—either alone, or accompanied by a Yamabushi priest from the Dewa Sanzan shrine.

Visiting the Dewa Sanzan

Visitors are more than welcome to discover the Dewa Sanzan Yamabushi culture and hike our holy trails.
We remind our kind travelers that the Dewa Sanzan is a
sacred place. We ask every visitor to follow the pilgrim etiquette when present on site: do not litter, do not damage properties, do not collect plants unless a guide authorizes you, do not be loud near the religious edifices, and do not take pictures on forbidden sites.


We also encourage people to learn about our culture and spirituality. Do not hesitate to ask one of our Yamabushi guides.


Dewa Sanzan's highlights:

Where to stay in the Dewa Sanzan:

Gassan Chōjō Goya

Gassan Chōjō Goya


The mountain lodge at the top of Mt. Gassan.

Busshōike Goya

Busshōike Goya


A mountain lodge in Mt. Gassan that also serves lunch and coffee.

Chikeiken Restaurant & Guesthouse

Chikeiken Restaurant & Guesthouse


A guesthouse held by one of the "100 best farmer okaasan (mothers) in Japan".

Tamugisō Hotel & Nanakamado Restaurant

Tamugisō Hotel & Nanakamado Restaurant


A bed & breakfast type of lodging held by a kind family near Mt. Yudono in Asahi.

Sankōin Shukubō

Sankōin Shukubō


A beautiful and small shukubo next to Daishinbo.

Where to Eat in the Dewa Sanzan:




A soba restaurant on the first floor of a small inn called Tamugiso.




Discover Chef Ito Shinkichi's version of Dewa Sanzan's Shojin-ryori.

Yudonosan Sanrojo

Yudonosan Sanrojo


Have a "Shojin-otoshi" lunch in Mt. Yudono.




A vegetarian restaurant that produces its own vegetables.

Go further:


The Rokujurigoe-Kaido : The pilgrimage to Mt. Yudono

Explore this 1200 years-old pilgrim trail up to Mt. Yudono, and discover ancient Buddhist vestiges crisscrossed along the beautiful 34km long route. 


The Sokushinbutsu mummies

Discover the mysterious Buddhist mummies of the monks who believed self-mummification would make a Buddha out of them, and learn how Mt. Yudono is linked to the phenomenon.