OUR LOCAL GUIDES

MT. HAGURO

Kazuhiro Hayasaka of Daishinbo Shukubo Pilgrim Lodge on Mt. Haguro

Kazuhiro Hayasaka 

Born and raised at the foot of Mount Haguro, Mr. Hayasaka is the 17th generation proprietor of Daishinbo Pilgrimage Lodge. After attending university in Tokyo, he moved to Sendai for work. At 29, he returned to Mount Haguro and became a Yamabushi, in order to carry on the family business. His hobbies are intertwined with the mountains, including hiking, skiing, and foraging for mountain vegetables. Until his father’s generation, Daishinbo was one of only two lodges which facilitated the Fuyunomine Winter Peak Ritual, one of the most intense ascetic traditions in these mountains.  Message to participants of the Trek with Yamabushi Experiences: “By wearing the white clothing of the Yamabushi …

ZENPOJI TEMPLE

Eiji Shinozaki from Zenpoji Temple in Tsuruoka

Eiji Shinozaki 

Born in Tokyo, Mr. Shinozaki had an isolated childhood, living as a hikikomori (shut-in), seeking meaning for his existence. After reading “Philosophy For Kids”, by Hitoshi Nagai, he acknowledged his uniqueness and his place in the universe. He went on to study philosophy in university, and later took a job in sales. He encountered zazen through his kyudo (Japanese archery) teacher, where he also met his future wife. His wife is of the family of the local Zen temple, Jizoin, and when his father-in-law fell ill, he started zazen training in earnest, to be able to fulfill the role of successor.  He came to Zenpoji for his training in March …

Ryuko Ueno 

Born locally, Mr. Ueno is the youngest son in the family of monks of a Zen temple in Kobato, Tsuruoka City. After graduating from university, he worked for a time in Tokyo, as a designer in an automotive parts company. In his workplace, he encountered some misunderstanding with a colleague, and was browsing for some advice in a bookstore, when he found some words of Zen wisdom in a self-help book. These words prompted a gradual recognition of his relationship to his home temple, and when his older brother became ill and unable to be the successor at the family temple, Mr. Ueno felt the time had come to return …

Ryuhei Abe 

Mr. Abe was born into a temple family, but he did not want to become a monk. However, throughout his youth, he felt frustrated with his situation and his inability to progress academically, and at 18 he began to practice zazen for self-development. He went to Eiheiji Temple in Fukui Prefecture to train, spending two and a half years there. While training, he worried about his future, and his master continually reminded him to “live in the now.” When the time came to leave Eiheiji, he walked the 500km back to Yamagata, taking 21 days, and coming around to a major shift in mindset and a new understanding of the …

Yuichi Otomo 

Mr. Otomo was born in Misuzawa, Tsuruoka City, and as a child, dreamed of becoming a voice actor. He started his drama career in a theatre company, but the death of his grandparents caused him a change of heart. He returned home, deciding to become the successor to his family’s business, Touunji Temple. While also working as a care assistant and some other jobs, he trained to become a monk in Zenpoji. While at Zenpoji, he was assigned to the task of writing the amulets, and this started his career in calligraphy. He is keenly aware of the importance of not only the mental approach to his calligraphy work, but …

DEWAYA RYOKAN

YAMADERA

OUR TEAM

Takeharu Kato of Megurun

Takeharu Kato 

In 2011, Mr. Takeharu Kato was working in Hakuhodo, but was in search of something more powerful, something with more meaning. He moved to Tsuruoka-city and launched Megurun Inc., a company aimed at promoting the wonder of the region, in particular, Yamabushi-oriented activities and philosophy. Megurun Inc. is dedicated to promoting the local area in a global context. And to promoting the use of renewable energy to enable a sustainable life.

Tim Bunting 

Tim Bunting is a certified Yamabushi with almost a decade worth of experience in Yamagata living near the Dewa Sanzan. Originally from New Zealand, the self-professed nature lover spent many of his formative years in the great outdoors, and truly feels at home amongst the vast forests, sprawling rice fields, and mountains of Yamagata Prefecture. For Tim, the Dewa Sanzan holds a special importance as a place to get away from the real world, and back to a simpler time, that he believes is something that could benefit people from the world over. Tim’s interests include Japanese history and culture (he is the curator of dewasanzan.com), coffee, photography, music, and …

Maiko Ito 

Born in Nagoya, Maiko Ito has had extensive experience abroad, studying at Newcastle University during her youth and living in Texas before moving to Tsuruoka in 2014. Career-wise, Maiko has worked at Fuji Electric Global, and ETIC, an NPO supporting youth through internships and social businesses. While in Tsuruoka, Maiko has helped with the establishment of a startup, and set up Work Life Shift, a consultancy aimed at Human Resources development and organisational reform. Her mission is to connect regional companies that have future-oriented work practices with the right people to create new value.

Megurun Experiences

Yamabushi Guided Pilgrimage on Mt. Haguro of the Dewa Sanzan

Trek with Yamabushi: Mount Haguro 

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

Zen at Zenpoji 

Group Size Price Per Person Two ¥38,000 Three ¥33,000 Four ¥29,000 Five ¥28,000 Six or more ¥27,000  

Trek with Yamabushi: Winter in Haguro 

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

Yamabushido Programs 

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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.