The Hidden Path of Zen at Yamadera

Follow in the footsteps of the early Zen monks of Yamadera

Experience Outline

Let your soul wander along the Hidden Path in the forest surrounding this mountainside temple.

Experience Details

Discover a very unique spiritual experience in Yamadera (written with the characters for “mountain” and “temple”). Monks have trained and meditated here in the mountains since a temple was founded in 860 A.D. by the priest Ennin (Jikaku Daishi). You will follow the same paths wandered by monks so long ago, and just as they found inner peace in the beautiful forest surrounding the temple, you might find some peace in the sights, sounds and scents here too.

The local guide, whose life is deeply connected to the spirituality of Yamadera, will guide you through ancient Shugendo apprentice training grounds. These are very old, once forgotten paths attached to the temple, including breathtaking natural caves and high viewpoints steeped with spiritual history. Just as the famous Haiku poet, Matsuo Basho, centuries ago, you will find your own peace, and your own meanings in the sights, sounds, scents, and sense of nature’s presence here.

Refreshment is provided by lunch from a popular local soba (noodle) shop, before trying out some more formal meditation techniques. Monks will guide you in a session Zazen seated meditation, as well as a session of Shakyo (copying Sutra calligraphy), to free your mind and relax your spirit.

Secret meditation spot near Risshakuji Yamadera


4 hours


Bento lunch at Fumotoya Soba Shop, entry to the Temple grounds, Japanese to English interpreter and local guide, Zazen and Shakyo sessions.


Local Advice

You should wear sturdy shoes for approximately two hours of moderate trekking, and to bring water, warm layers and rain gear.

Minimum Participants



Mai Goto

Shinji Kashima




The cancellation policy can be found here.

Health and Safety

Meeting Spot

Getting Here

Meeting Spot

Fumotoya, 4429 Yamadera, Yamagata, 999-3301, Japan

Finishing Spot

Risshaku-ji Oku-no-in, 4456-1 Yamadera, Yamagata, 999-3301, Japan


Make an inquiry.

Producer and provider

Megurun Inc.

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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.