A Spiritual Journey Through the Three Mountains of Dewa

2 Days

You’ll be able to see all three sacred Three Mountains of Dewa in the Shonai region of Yamagata Prefecture. It is said that one experiences a rebirth when visiting the mountains, with Mt. Gassan symbolizing the past, Haguro symbolizing the present, and Yudono symbolizing the future. Start with Mt. Haguro, where many famous sites such as the Michelin’s Green Guide three star cedar tree road, and the oldest Five Storied Pagoda in northern Japan are located. On the second day, enjoy Mt. Gassan’s beautiful alpine plants and views, and then make your way to Mt. Yudono’s shrine and recharge yourself in the sacred hot spring waters at the Yudono Sanrojo Mountain Lodge. After the pilgrimage to the three sacred mountains, experience historical Tsuruoka culture by staying at a traditional Japanese hot spring inn.

Access From Narita

  1. Day 1

      1. Shonai Airport → [40 Minutes By Bus] → Tsuruoka Station
      2. Tsuruoka Station → [55 Minutes By Car] → Mt. Haguro

      1Mt. Haguro

      The first stop is Mt Haguro, known as one of many power spots in the prefecture. Located in the entrance to the Haguro Shrine road is the Mt. Haguro Zuishinmon gate. Located on the left and right of the gate are gods holding swords and arrows to guard against any evil spirits. This is the entrance to the Three Mountains of Dewa, which covers Mt. Gassan and Yudono, as well. It is recommended that you wear comfortable shoes such as sneakers to walk the easily traversable 2,466 stone steps that lead up to the shrine.

      1. Mt. Haguro → [20 Minutes By Car] → Tsukinosawa Onsen

      2Tsukinosawa Onsen Kitagassanso

      Kitagassanso is an inn surrounded by beautiful nature near the Tachiyazawa River area. The inn offers plans including dinner and breakfast, which both let you enjoy traditional local cuisine. The hot springs of Kitagassanso are one of only three acidic springs within Yamagata Prefecture. Enjoy the outer and inner rest from the stresses of daily life here.

      Closed: Every Tuesday and Wednesday from November-April, December 31-January 3rd, every second Tuesday of the month from May to October.

  2. Day 2

      1. Tsukinosawa Onsen → [60 Minutes By Car] → Mt. Gassan

      3Mt. Gassan

      Mt. Gassan has been selected as one of the top hundred mountains in Japan in several lists. You can drive up to the eighth point (Hachiaime) on the mountain. You can admire the many species of mountainous plants at Midagahara located nearby. Take a beautiful 60 minute stroll around the wetlands while enjoying fall leaves and beautiful plants that are maintained throughout the year.

      Heading back towards the summit from Midagahara takes about 2.5 hours, and is recommended if you have the extra time to spare.

      1. Mt. Gassan → [20 Minutes By Car] → Mt. Yudono

      4Mt. Yudono

      Along with Ise and Kumano, this mountain is one of the top three sacred places in Japan. Mt. Yudono Shrine, considered the most holy of the shrines at the Three Mountains of Dewa, is famous for its strict no photos, no shoes policy. The Shugendo ground is also considered so sacred that one is neither to talk nor hear of what happens inside the shrine. Because the hot springs located on the mountain are believed to contain the spirits of deities, they are frequently visited by those who are visiting the shrine. To get to the Yudono Shrine, you can walk approximately 20 minutes from the Senninzawa parking lot, or take a bus (300 yen round trip).

      The Mt. Yudono Toll Road runs from the end of April to November 3rd.