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What is it..?
The Rokujurigoe-kaido (direct translation: “The Over-235km-road”), is an ancient trail that was once the heart of commercial, religious and administrative activities of the Shonai region. The first mention of the Rokujurigoe-kaido goes back 1,200 years. It connected Tsuruoka, Oami village, Tamugimata village, Mt. Yudono to Sagae, and even Yamagata city. Although its name says it is "235 kilometers long,” the passable part of the path is only 44km long nowadays; what remains is a very challenging trekking experience—even for professional hikers.
Because the Dewa Sanzan pilgrims in the Tohoku region mainly used this route to visit Mt. Yudono, it is also called "Yudono-michi" ("the path to Mt. Yudono"). At the time, however, any traveler would have used the Rokujurigoe-kaido; the lords of the Shonai clan even took it to get to the capital any time the Shogun called them back by their side.
Walking along the Rokujurigoe-kaido is a good way to imagine what life was like for a Dewa Sanzan pilgrim 1200 years ago. You will pass by several sacred trees as well as religious steles (stone monuments) referring to Buddhism and/or Dewa Sanzan. You may rest in what were once teahouses for pilgrims and see many more vestiges of a time gone by.
Download the maps!
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WHERE TO STAY?
You fear you'll miss the bus back to Tsuruoka? It's safer to stay in one of the hotels, ryokan, or guesthouses in the area.
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