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Rokujurigoe-kaido 六十里越街道

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.

Map on Alltrails.com

SELECT YOUR COURSE:

1. From Matsune to Churenji Temple

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For those who plan to use public transportation, this part of the trail is accessible from Tsuruoka Station by bus (weekdays and non-holidays only). This hike is suitable for beginner to medium-level hikers, and has a reward waiting for you at the end: a chance to visit Tetsumonkai’s mummy in the Churenji Temple!

3 hours

6.2 km

Difficulty

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On this path:

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Churenji Temple

2. From Churenji to Dainichibo

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You won't be crossing any forests during this part of the trail, but you will walk through Oami village. This ancient Buddhist village played a role in helping the Sokushinbutsu mummifying practice spread around Mt. Yudono. From Churenji, you’ll visit another famous Sokushinbutsu temple: Dainichibo Temple.

65 min

2.8 km

Difficulty

Easy

On this path:

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Dainichibo Temple

3. From Dainichibo to Tamugimata

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Missing the forest? Immerse yourself in nature and explore the forests that connect Oami village to Tamugimata village. Tamugimata has several thatched-roof houses that you can visit. If you need to rest before continuing your trekking journey to Mt. Yudono, you can even stay in one of them: Tamugisô.

2 hours

4.1 km

Difficulty

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On this path:

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Odan no sugi cedar tree

4. From Tamugimata to Mt. Yudono

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Want to feel like a real Dewa Sanzan pilgrim? Here, along the most difficult part of the trail to reach Mt. Yudono, you’ll face the same challenges that pilgrims have encountered here for more than 1200 years. Make sure to always have your bear bell with you!

6 hours

7.7 km

Difficulty

Hard

On this path:

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The "dragon god" tree, the beech tree tunnel

5. The Entire trail Up to Nishikawa Town

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Planning to trek the entire length of the Rokujurigoe-kaido road is for hardcore adventurers only. You will need to plan for lodging for at least two nights and expect to hike for three solid days before reaching your final destination. Please do not attempt this feat unless you have confidence in your trekking skills.

25-30 h

46 km

Difficulty

Very Hard

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.