Hike from Mt. Gassan to Mt. Yudono 月山から湯殿山までの登山道

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 Time2.3h
Danger levelDangerous
*Dangers include:Slippery slopes, Snow, Heat strokes, Slippery when raining, Snow (risks of slipping), Strong winds, Ladders
Difficulty level (for beginners) Hard
Equipment needed● Water
● Hiking shoes
● Rainwear
● Sun hat
● Hiking sticks
● Snow grips (especially in July)
● Food or snacks

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. Go behind the Gassan Chojo Goya lodge

2.  A sign indicates the direction you have to follow

This direction is called: “Yudonosan Ubasawa hômen 湯殿山姥沢方面”

3.  Do Not turn left at this point

If you turn left, you will arrive at Hijiori.

4.  Do not turn left

Turning left will bring you to Hondôji temple.

5. You spot this stele with a haiku written on it

6. You start your descent

7. This metallic map indicates the position of every mountain in the surroundings

8. Find the Kaji Inari shrine

9. The view from Kaji gakkô

10. Continue going down

11. Ushikubi crossing. Continue straight

12. Approaching Kanauba

13. It’s still straight ahead!

14. Turn right at the Kanauba crossing

15. You should be arriving onto a track with wild vegetation

16.After a while, you arrive by a river

17. The vegetation is getting wild

18. You’re approaching Mt. Yudono

19. If you spot this stone monument, you’re on the right way

20.  You arrive at the Shozokuba emergency lodge

21. You need to turn right to go to Mt. Yudono

22. Do NOT turn left

If you turn left, you’ll arrive at Shizu Onsen.

23. Appreciate the view on Yudono before getting into the jungle

24. You are approaching the Gakkôzaka slope

25. This is the Gakkôzaka

This is the most dangerous part of the trail. Several ladders allow you to go down to Mt. Yudono. But be careful: it can be very slippery especially after the rain.

26. Go down with extra caution

27. Another ladder

28. Yes, it’s another ladder

29. This is what it looks like from below.

30. Rest assured: no more ladder from this point

31. Mt. Yudono’s purification ritual post

32. Yudonosan shrine

You need to take the purification prayer (500 yen/person) to get access to the shrine.

33. Shuttle bus stop & souvenir shop

The shuttle bus stop costs 200 yen (one-way) or 300 yen (round trip) to go back to Yudonosan Senninzawa.

34. Yudonosan Kyukeijo

This is where the shuttle bus will drop you. You can use the toilet or have some food, drinks, or buy souvenirs here. The parking lot in front of the shop also serves as a bus stop for the bus bound for Tsuruoka station (only operates during a limited period of time).

35. Yudonosan Senninzawa

This is Mt. Yudono’s torii gate.

Spot Information