Also called “The Realm of the Dead”, or “The Mountain of the Past”, Mt. Gassan is the most important step in the Dewa Sanzan’s yamabushi training.

Required Time2.5h
Danger levelSeveral dangers
*Dangers include:Slippery slopes, Unstable rocks, Snow (risks of slipping), Low temperatures, Strong winds
Difficulty level (for beginners) Challenging
Equipment needed● Water
● Hiking shoes
● Rainwear
● Sun hat
● Hiking sticks
● Snow grips (especially in July)

Difficulty levels have been designed for people who have a PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence) score inferior or equal to 60. Experienced hikers or persons with a PAI above 100 can withdraw two cases to know the average difficulty for their fitness level. Example: Trails noted “Hard for beginners” correspond to “average” trails for experienced hikers or people with a PAI above 100.



1. Get off the bus at Gassan Hachigôme

Gassan Hachigôme 月山八合目 can be translated into “Mt. Gassan’s eight station”. It is the most convenient point to start climbing the mountain. The building on the picture is Gassan Resthouse. You can buy rain gear, hats, food or drinks here.

2. Have a view on the Shonai plains

If the weather is not too cloudy, you can see the extent of the Shonai region, up to Sakata city and Mt. Chôkai.

3.  Toilet

These are the public toilet at the bottom of Mt. Gassan. Use them if needed, but do not forget to leave a tip to help maintain the place.

4.  The first crossing

If you take left, you follow the classic Mt. Gassan climbing track. If you take right, you will cross the Midahara pilgrim lodge.

5. This is what the classic Gassan climbing track looks like

6. If you turn back, you can spot Mt. Chokai and Midahara pilgrim lodge

7. Second crossing

Take left if you want to go to Midahara’s pilgrim lodge and shrines, or take right to continue your adventure to the top of Mt. Gassan.

8. The wooden track ends

The track is now entirely made of rocks. Some are unstable, please watch your steps.

9. Midagahara marshes from afar

10. Balanced stones

11. Native flowers

12.Native flowers

13. Continue straight

14. You arrive at Busshoike Goya

This is a pilgrim lodge & café. You need to buy a little something to use the space to rest.

15. Busshoike pond’s statues

16.The jibokannon bodhisattva

17. Manai shrine

18. Climb the rocks

19. Gyojagaeshi slope

Continue straight or make a little detour on your right to arrive to Manai shrine

20.  Manai Shrine

21. Continue straight

22. Take a rest or continue straight


24. Go back on the wooden track

Those wooden tracks indicate you are near to Mt. Gassan’s summit.

25. Balanced stones near Mt. Gassan’s highest point

26. You spot Gassan’s peak

27. The building on this picture belongs to Gassan shrine

28. This is what the Gassan Shrine complex looks like

29. Here is the Gassan Chojo Goya lodge

30. Public toilet

Spot Information