Trek with Yamabushi: Winter in Haguro

Discover Yamabushi culture and the stillness and beauty of this sacred landscape in winter.


Experience Outline

Walking in the holy mountains with a Yamabushi guide has long been a way to seek purification and to feel restored. While most people come to Mount Haguro to seek spiritual solace in nature during the green seasons, this is a special opportunity to follow in the footsteps of pilgrims in the quiet and the snows of winter.


Experience Details

You will meet your Yamabushi guide and interpreter at Daishinbo Pilgrim Lodge, where you will prepare yourself by making sure you are warmly dressed and finally donning your white pilgrim robe, called “gyoi”. You will create a sacred boundary with your “shime”, an ornate paper necklace. Your pilgrimage starts when you leave the lodge, and proceed to the mountain’s official entrance gate, Zuishinmon.

Your trek will pass through the gate, and bring you through the sacred and beautiful sites of Mount Haguro. The mountain’s spiritual landmarks take on a unique beauty in the stark white carpet of snow and the stillness of winter. After reaching the summit and participating in official rituals at the shrine, you will be presented with an “Ofuda” – the sacred talisman or charm. This is a symbol of your rebirth, a reminder and a spiritual protection for your daily life. Before descending, you will be welcomed to Saikan, the temple lodge, for a unique lunch of traditional, ascetic, Shojin cuisine, foraged and produced in line with ancient local customs.

This is a popular way for lay-people to engage in Yamabushi practices and reconnect with nature in the sacred mountains of the Dewa Sanzan, even in wintertime. If you are interested in deeper Yamabushi practices, please take a look at our Yamabushido programs in which we facilitate traditional ascetic training with Yamabushi masters during the spring, summer, and autumn.

Duration

6-8 hours (weather dependent)

Includes

Local Yamabushi guide, Japanese to English interpreter, official shrine donation, and a unique lunch of traditional, ascetic, Shojin Ryori cuisine. We will provide rental of kanjiki, traditional Japanese snowshoes, as well as waterproof boots (up to size 28cm), and a tsue pilgrimage walking stick.

Schedule

December to early April

Local Advice

The winter here in the mountains of Yamagata is cold and snowy. Please wear warm layers, a hat and gloves, and we would recommend you bring waterproof trousers and jacket. If you have your own appropriate footwear, or if you think our waterproof boots (up to size 28cm) may not fit you, please bring your own footwear, such as hiking boots or shoes, or gumboots, etc. Don’t forget a bottle of water for refreshment on the trek.

Minimum Participants

1

Guides

Kazuhiro Hayasaka

Language

English

Cancellations

The cancellation policy can be found here.

Health and Safety

Participants should be fit and able to walk without problems, to climb and descend moderate slopes and steps unaided. If you do not bring snow gear, you may not be allowed to participate – if you are not equipped you may endanger your health. Please note that in the case of very heavy snows or storms, this activity may be cancelled.

Meeting Spot

Getting Here

Transport is not included and the experience starts at Daishinbo Pilgrim lodge which can be accessed by bus from Tsuruoka Station. Get off at Sakura Koji stop, and Daishinbo is a short walk.

Meeting Spot

大進坊, Touge-95 Haguromachi Touge, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-0211, Japan

Finishing Spot

大進坊, Touge-95 Haguromachi Touge, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-0211, Japan

Prices

Group Size Price Per Person
Two ¥77,000
Three ¥57,000
Four ¥49,000
Five or more ¥45,000

Other Megurun Experiences

The Hidden Path of Zen at Yamadera 

Trek with Yamabushi: Winter in Haguro 

Yamabushi Guided Pilgrimage on Mt. Haguro of the Dewa Sanzan

Trek with Yamabushi: Mount Haguro 

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Yabase, Tsuruoka, Yamagata, Japan

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Megurun aims to support sustainable rural communities. To achieve these aims, we gained a travel agency license registered with the governor of Yamagata Prefecture: Region 282.