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MT. YUDONO

湯殿山

THE MOUNTAIN OF FUTURE

1500m. high

      Mount Yudono has not always been a part of the Dewa Sanzan. For geographical reasons, Mt. Yudono replaced Mt. Hayama (which, itself, replaced Mt. Chokai) in the early 17th century. It is said that Mt. Yudono was made a sacred place for Buddhism by Kukai (the founder of Shingon Buddhism) himself. 

 

Who is Kukai?

Kukai, also known as Kobo Daishi (774-835), is a Japanese monk who founded the Shingon school of Buddhism. People thought of him as a Chaman, who could realize people's wishes by only reciting spells. The Buddha worshipped in Shingon Buddhism is Vairocana (in Japanese: Dainichi-nyorai), a Buddha that embodies the entire universe and incarnates the Universal Truth. Kukai's Shingon Buddhism teaches how to "become a  Vairocana Buddha ourselves" by reciting Vairocana's words. According to Kukai, everybody could become a "Buddha" in their present life, a concept called Sokushinjobutsu 即身成仏, attainable through enlightenment and esoteric training. 

Haguro and Yudono, a complicated relationship

When Mt. Haguro converted to Tendai Buddhism in 1642 for political reasons, it later asked Mt. Yudono to do the same. But Mt. Yudono refused to throw Shingon Buddhism away for Tendai; it would be considered treason to Kukai, the mountain's founder. Mt. Haguro's officials were outraged by Yudono's refusal to abide by their rules, and tensions emerged between the two. Mt. Yudono tried to stand out from Mt. Haguro by exacerbating its adherence to Shingon Buddhism. Mt. Yudono's temples, such as Dainichibo and Churenji, turned the Sokushinjobutsu concept into a concrete practice: the sokushinbutsu mummification to become a Buddha within the present body. This is why, out of the 20 sokushinbutsu in Japan, 11 of them were monks who trained in Mt. Yudono. There are 8 mummies in Yamagata Prefecture (4 in Tsuruoka, and 2 in Sakata City). Others can be found in Niigata Prefecture.

Climbing map

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HIKING SEASON:

LATE APRIL - LATE OCTOBER

DON'T MISS THE BUS!

Get off the bus at Yudonosan Senninzawa 湯殿山仙人沢.

NO BUS FOR THE MOMENT

IT'S A RELIGIOUS PLACE...

We welcome all kinds of hikers! However, we would like you to remember this is a sacred place and that you should be considerate of the people around you, do not be too loud and do not litter. Thank you!

COME WITH THE APPROPRIATE GEAR !

It might be hot in Tsuruoka City, but up there, it is very cold! Please bring warm jackets, raincoats, hiking boots and sunglasses with you.

YUDONO'S HIGHLIGHTS

Dainichibo Temple

大日坊

500 yen

Meet Shinnyokai, one of the 4 sokushinbutsu mummies in Tsuruoka.

Tamahime Inari Shrine

玉姫稲荷神社

Inari Shrines are recognizable by their numerous torii gates and their fox statues. Foxes are worshipped for being protector gods of cereals and agriculture.

Yudonosan Sanrojo

湯殿山参篭所

2500 yen

Have Yudono's shojin-ryori for lunch. Careful: Mt. Yudono's shojin-ryori is not vegan. Vegan customers, please contact us beforehand.

Tamugimata village

田麦俣

15 min. away from Mt. Yudono by car, you will find the Tamugimata village with its emblematic thatch-roofed houses.

Mizuko Kannon

水子観音

Mizuko Kannon is the god of mercy that protects the souls of the stillborn children and infants that lost life too early.

Oami village

大網

25 min. away from Mt. Yudono by car, there is the small village of Oami, where you will find the Churenji and Dainichibo temples, that both contain a sokushinbutsu mummy.

Yudonosan Resthouse

湯殿山レストハウス

For more "normal" food, have a look at Yudonosan Resthouse, the building just below Yudonosan Sanrojo. They sell lucky charms, souvenirs, and also serve ramen/soba lunch.

WHERE TO STAY?

You fear you'll miss the bus back to Tsuruoka? It's safer to stay in Yudono's pilgrim lodge.

Yudonosan Sanrojo

Address:

湯殿山参籠所

六十里山7 Tamugimata, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-0532, Japan

1 night, 2 meals:

8950

GO FURTHER

Rokujurigoe-kaido trail

A passionating 44km long pilgrim trail that has been connecting Gassan to Yudono for more than 1200 years.

DEGAM Tsuruoka Tourism Bureau (General Incorporated Association)

Address: 3-1 Suehiromachi, MARICA East Building, 2nd floor, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-0015, JAPAN

TEL: (+81) 0235-26-1218

E-mail: tsuruoka@degam.jp

Spoken languages:

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