Mount Haguro is one of the Three Mountains of Dewa in the city of Tsuruoka, the ancient province of Dewa, Japan. As the lowest of the three mountains, standing at 414 m, it is the only one that is accessible throughout the year. Wikipedia
Imagine a stone path of 2,466 steps leading up to the summit of a sacred mountain through a forest of very old cedar trees – this is not the setting of a Chinese martial arts movie but it is the real scenery that you will find on Mount Haguro, one of the Three Mountains of Dewa, or Dewa Sanzan, that are considered holy ground by the Japanese. This stone path (ishi dan) is 1.8km long and it is set into a forest of cedar trees (Cryptomeria japonica), called sugi in Japanese. This stone path and the “avenue of cedar trees” (Sugi-Namiki) was constructed in the mid 17th centuries and it apparently took thirteen years and a lot of manpower to complete the task. The ishi dan is not only a Designated National Treasure but it got also awarded three stars by the Michelin Green Guide Japan, published for the first time in September 2009. Visitors will appreciate the shade of the majestic 350 to 500 years-old trees when climbing the steps on a hot summer day. Luckily, at mid-point there is a rest house where refreshments and Japanese traditional sweets are served. This is an ideal spot to stretch your legs, have a drink and enjoy the splendid view over the surrounding countryside. Even better, you will be issued a “Certificate of Achievement” with your name carefully printed on it celebrating “your strong legs”. If you are a foreigner, then you will get a certificate in English. It states that you have indeed climbed this heavenly staircase, although you have only made it halfway yet. There is a convenient short cut to the summit by bus. However, taking the bus straight to the top of Mount Haguro means that you will not have a chance to admire the 29 meters tall Five-Storied Pagoda (Goju-no-to), a National Treasure worth two Michelin stars. This pagoda was built some 600 years ago and is said to be the oldest pagoda in Japan’s northern region. Not only that but amazingly the architectural know-how of the “Center Column Vibration Control” (Shimbashira-Seishin) used to construct the pagoda centuries-ago was also used to erect the Tokyo Sky Tree, the Japanese capital’s new broadcast and observation tower, standing tall at 634m. The pagoda is still standing after more than half a century which speaks in favor of this technology. Let’s hope that the Tokyo Sky Tree will make it that long too.
Join Japan Travel on a virtual pilgrimage to the Three Sacred Mountains of Dewa and learn about the ancient practices of Shugendo (the way of mountain worship) from Yamabushi mountain guides. Join us LIVE at 2:00 pm JST: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83433915852 Our next online journey takes us to Yamagata in northern Japan where we have two teams ready to guide us along ancient mountain paths and into temple lodgings. Along the way, we will deep dive into the local food and culture of the Yamabushi monks. [photo id='221434'] Mountain worship dates back to the 8th century of Japan and people from around Japan (and the world) make pilgrimages to these holy mountains to train the body, mind, and soul in the relatively untouched natural environments of Yamagata. On the tour, you can learn about visiting the area and joining your own Yamabushi training program in Japan as the mountain monks have recently opened their traditions and training to the world in order to further spread their philosophies and teachings. [photo id='221433'] The event takes place live on Zoom, so click the link before 2:00 pm (JST) on Saturday, March 13th. Zoom URL: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83433915852 Tour Highlights 14:00 - Opening and Introductions 14:05 - Team A - Introduction and outdoor hiking experience with a Yamabushi 14:30 - Team B - Temple lodging and shojin ryori (mountain cuisine) demonstration 14:50 - Live Question and Answer Session 15:00 - Closing [photo id='221432'] We will also talk about the city of Tsuruoka and the beautiful area of western Yamagata Prefecture. Looking forward to seeing you there! SAVOR Japan SAVOR Japan encourages tourists to explore rural destinations and flavors across Japan and often focuses on relatively undiscovered farming, fishing, and mountain communities. Gain a deeper discovery of Japanese culture and cuisine with SAVOR Japan. The Hidden Japan The Hidden Japan is dedicated to sharing the largely untouched northern mountain regions of Japan with the world.