DSC_4072.jpg

MT. HAGURO

羽黒山

THE MOUNTAIN OF REBIRTH

414m. high

Grandpa Cedar and the Pagoda
Grandpa Cedar and the Pagoda

Grandpa Cedar and the Pagoda

Dewa Sanzan shrine
Dewa Sanzan shrine

Dewa Sanzan shrine

Mt. Haguro's stairway
Mt. Haguro's stairway

Mt. Haguro's stairway

Grandpa Cedar and the Pagoda
Grandpa Cedar and the Pagoda

Grandpa Cedar and the Pagoda

1/5

 According to legend—as it is told in the manuscript Haguro's Origins (羽黒山縁起), written in 1644—Mt. Haguro was discovered by a mysterious prince named Nojo Taishi 能除太子 (also known as Prince Hachiko) in 593.

 

What do we know about Prince Hachiko?

 

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

 

He embarked on his long journey and along the way he met many people who were suffering. Hachiko "absorbed" their pain with his magical powers, delivering them from their illnesses. In  doing so, his physical appearance became distorted and atrocious, warping his facial features into something monstrous. But despite his scary features, Prince Hachiko was reputed to be a loving and compassionate man—almost a saint.

 

Guided by a three-legged crow known to be a messenger from the gods, the prince found Mt. Haguro, designating it a holy place of Buddhism in 593.

 

The Shinto god worshipped at Mt. Haguro is called Ukanomitama ウカノミタマ, goddess of cereal and crops.

Climbing map

hagurosan map.png

HAGURO'S HIGHLIGHTS

Haraikawa River

Haraikawa 祓川

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

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).

Ninosaka Teahouse

Ninosakachaya 二ノ坂茶屋

Need a boost to reach the top of Mt. Haguro? Treat yourself to refreshment at Ninosaka-chaya, 25 minutes below the top of Mt. Haguro. Their specialty? Mochi and green tea. In exchange for your business, you will receive a "climbing certificate" that will prove you ascended Mt. Haguro.

Kagami pond

Kagamiike 鏡池

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

Saikan

Saikan 斎館

This one-time 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.

Sanshuden's rest area

Sanshuden 参集殿

Congratulations, you have reached Mt. Haguro's peak! Needing a rest? Enter Sanshuden for a well-deserved break. Of note—you will be required to remove your shoes and place them on shoe racks to your right.

Koganedo

Koganedo 黄金堂

This annex to Shozen'in Temple contains many Buddhist icons that once belonged to Mt. Haguro; they were removed following  the official separation between Shinto and Buddhism in 1868. Make sure to find the Nio gods statues that were once guarding the Zuishinmon gate, as well as statues of all the bodhisattvas related to Mt. Haguro.

Dewa Sanzan Shrine

Sanjingosaiden 三神合祭殿

This rather “new” building was constructed in 1818 and is connected to Saikan through a wooden corridor. It is dedicated to the worship of Dewa Sanzan's three mountain gods. This shrine allows pilgrims a place to worship in their chosen faith even during the cold winter months, when access to Mt. Gassan and Mt. Yudono is prevented by heavy snowfall.

Tenchikon Shrine

Tenchikonjinja 天地金神社

Though first built in 1397 with the intention to be a Buddhist temple, the current building was reconstructed in 1779 and is now a Shinto shrine.

Zuishinmon gate

Zuishinmon 随神門

A 500 yen contribution might be required if a ‘light-up event’ is underway in Mt. Haguro.<