Mt. Haguro's 2446 stone steps

MT. HAGURO

羽黒山

THE MOUNTAIN OF REBIRTH

414m. high

      According to the legend, Mt. Haguro was discovered by a mysterious prince named Nojo Taishi 能除太子 (also known as Prince Hachiko) in 593. 

Who is Prince Hachiko?

Prince Hachiko 蜂子皇子 was born in 542. His father, the Emperor Sushun 崇峻天皇, got assassinated by his jealous rival, Soga no Umako 蘇我馬子 in 592. Following his cousin's advice, Prince Shotoku Taishi, Hachiko decided to flee the capital to find a sacred Buddhist mountain where he could pray for the end of despair in the world. The said mountain was to be found in what was called the "Land of Dewa." 

He left for a long journey, during which he met many suffering persons. Hachiko "absorbed" their pain with his magical powers and delivered them from their illnesses. All the pain he had absorbed made his physical appearance atrocious, warping his facial features into something monstrous. But despite his scary features, Prince Hachiko was a loving and compassionate man, almost a saint. 

He found Mt. Haguro, guided by a three-legged crow, known to be a messenger from the gods, and decided to make it a holy place of Buddhism in 593.

This is the legend as it is told in the manuscript Haguro's Origins (羽黒山縁起), written in 1644.

The Shinto god worshipped in Mt. Haguro is Ukanomitama ウカノミタマ, goddess of cereals and crops.

Climbing map

hagurosan map.png

HAGURO'S HIGHLIGHTS

Nature

Haraigawa River

Haraigawa

祓川

The Haraigawa river is where Shugendo pilgrims cleanse their body before continuing their rites.

Nature, Monument

Kagami pond

Kagamiike

鏡池

A legend says the Kagami pond is connected to a cave near Yura Onsen, where Haguro's goddess's dragon avatar was born. In that regard, the Kagami pond is regarded as a divine "womb." In 1931, excavations revealed 190 bronze mirrors dating from the Heian to the Edo Periods (8th-17th century). The pond was then listed as a "National Important Cultural Property."

Restaurant, Monument

Saikan

Saikan

斎館

This once Buddhist temple was built in 1697. After the religious separation between Shinto and Buddhism proclaimed by the government in 1868, it became an annex to the Dewa Sanzan shrine. It is now a pilgrim lodge and a shojinryori restaurant.

Monument

Zuishinmon gate

Zuishinmon

随神門

A contribution of 500 yen might be necessary if there is a light-up event ongoing in Mt. Haguro.

Monument

The God's Bridge

Shinkyo

神橋

Once called "Fudo no hashi" (Acala's bridge), it marks the transition between "Hell" (the descent from Zuishinmon gate) and the sacred path to "Heaven" (Mt Haguro's peak).

Rest area

Sanshuden's rest area

Sanshuden

参集殿

Congratulations, you have reached Mt. Haguro's peak! Feeling too hot, too cold, or just feeling like sitting down for a while? Enter Sanshuden and have a break. Caution: you will have to take off your shoes and put them on the shoe racks on your right.

Temple, Monument

Koganedo

Koganedo

黄金堂

This annex to Shozen'in Temple contains lots of Buddhism icons that once belonged to Mt. Haguro, but were removed because of the official separation between Shinto and Buddhism in 1868. Find the Nio gods statues that were once guarding the Zuishinmon gate and discover statues of all the bodhisattvas related to Mt. Haguro.

Museum

Ideha Cultural Museum

Ideha Bunka Kinenkan

いでは文化記念館

Ideha is the old name for "Dewa". Ideha Cultural Museum exposes many items related to the culture of Dewa Sanzan's yamabushi monks and priests. Not all signs are translated into English, thank you for your understanding.

Rest area, Restaurant

Ninosaka Teahouse

Ninosaka chaya

二ノ坂茶屋

Need more energy before reaching the top of Mt. Haguro? Treat yourself and have a little snack at Ninosaka-chaya, 25 minutes away from the top of Mt. Haguro. Their specialty? Mochi and green tea. In exchange for your time spent there, you will receive a "climbing certificate" that will prove you accomplished the ascension of Mt. Haguro.

Shrine, Monument

Dewa Sanzan Shrine

Sanjingosaiden

三神合祭殿

This rather new building was constructed in 1818. It worships Dewa Sanzan's three mountains' gods altogether, allowing pilgrims to express their faith even during winter when access to Mt. Gassan and Mt. Yudono is impossible because of the heavy snowfalls. It is connected to Saikan through a wooden corridor.

Shrine, Monument

Tenchikon Shrine

Tenchikon jinja

天地金神社

Though it was first built in 1397 to be a Buddhist temple, the current building is a reconstruction from 1779 and is now a Shinto shrine.

Museum

Senbutsudo Museum

Senbutsudo

千佛堂

This museum contains hundreds of Buddhist statues, as old as the Nara Era (8th century), that were restituted to Mt. Haguro a few years ago. In fact, those statues had always belonged to Mt. Haguro. Still, they were kept away from the mountain when the government forbade Buddhism on Mt. Haguro in 1868. To see the museum, enter Sanshuden's rest house, take off your shoes, and take the corridor on the right of the shoe rack.

HIKING SEASON:

MAY - EARLY DECEMBER

DON'T MISS THE BUS!

If you want to climb the stone stairway, you will need to get off at Hagurosan Zuishinmon 羽黒山随神門. If you want to go to the top directly, you will need to get off at Hagurosan Sancho 羽黒山山頂.

IT'S A RELIGIOUS PLACE...

We welcome all kinds of hikers! However, we would like you to remember this is a sacred place and that you should be considerate of the people around you, do not be too loud and do not litter. Thank you!

COME WITH THE APPROPRIATE GEAR !

Comfy before pretty! You will need good sports shoes (sneakers, hiking boots...) to climb up the 2446 stone steps of Haguro's stairway. Please leave your high heels or pumps in your luggage—many suffered ankle injuries for visiting Haguro in the wrong footwear.

GOING TO THE PAGODA

20 min. 

All year round

STEP

1

Get off the bus at Hagurosan Zuishinmon 羽黒山随神門

2 min.

STEP

4

Walk down the first part of the stone stairway (it is called Mamako-zaka 継子坂). Here start the 2446 stone steps. You are currently walking through the Shugendo conception of "hell"

5 min.

STEP

7

You arrived at Grandpa Cedar. He is over 1000 years old, go congratulate him for his old age.

2 min.

STEP

2

In front of the torii, bow gently. Choose one side to walk through the torii. Do not walk in the middle, this is only for the gods to walk. When you'll return to the torii on your way back home, you will walk the opposite side you took first when you came.

5 min.

STEP

5

You arrived at Haraikawa's shrines.

STEP

8

80 meters away, you arrived at Haguro's Five-Storied Pagoda (National Treasure).

STEP

3

Walk through the Zuishinmon gate.

1 min.

STEP

6

Cross the bridge. On your right, there is the Suga Falls. Pray for the purification of your soul here.

5 min.

STEP

9

You can decide whether to climb up the rest of the stone steps, or go back to Zuishinmon to take the bus bound for the top of Mt. Haguro.

FROM THE PAGODA TO THE TOP

20 min. to 50 min. from the pagoda

May to Early December 

STEP

1

Walk the Ichi no Saka path

15 min.

STEP

4

You will arrive at Gohonbo-ato, the remains of the region's political chief's residence at the time. Continue from there.

5 min.

STEP

7

Cross the torii. That's it, you're at the top of Mt. Haguro! Otsukaresama deshita お疲れ様でした ("Congratulations for your efforts")

STEP

2

You arrive at the Ni no Saka path. It's harsh.

10 min.

STEP

5

On your left, you will find the Haniyama-hime shrine, a shrine dedicated to the goddess of fertility, farmland and pottery. Praying this shrine is supposed to bring you a successful marriage.

5 min.

STEP

3

On the way, you will encounter the Ni no Saka Teahouse. You can have mochi and green tea for around 600 yens. If you order something, you will get your "climbing certificate" delivered.

STEP