PRIVATE / customized
  • The places of Mountain Faith, Three mountains of Dewa and Zao in Yamagata
  • Yamagata , Japan


- Private vehicle and English speaking guide through out the trip.
- Traveling the places of Mountain Faith
This trip is all tied to the theme of "Faith in Mountains and Forests”in Tohoku region. The three mountains of Dewa have been the site of Shugendo since ancient times. Shugendo is a unique Japanese mountain worship that was born from a mixture of nature worship, Buddhism, and esoteric Buddhism. Zao, famous for its ice-covered trees, was once a place where Shugendo flourished. Yamadera Temple also called Risshakuji Temple was founded by Ennin (Jikaku Daishi) as a sacred site for mountain Buddhism. Haguro and Zao were also routes for ascetic ascetics. This tour will take you to the various places related with mountain worship and its history flourished in this area.

Dewa Sanzan (Three Mountains of Dewa), the mountains where God dwells

In Japan, it has been believed that "Gods dwell in mountains since ancient times”. One of such mountain is the Dewa Sanzan (Three Mountains of Dewa), consisting of Mount Haguro, Mount Gassan, and Mount Yudono. Haguro is a mountain for fulfilling wishes in this life (the present), Gassan is a mountain for praying for peace and rebirth after death (the past), and Yudono is a mountain for praying for reincarnation (the future). In the Edo period (1603-1867), it was said that people could be reborn as a new soul if visiting these three mountains. Then the trip became popular as a "journey of reincarnation", which was called "Ise-mairi in the west, Oku-mairi (Dewa-sanzan) in the east".


  City Summary
1 Yamagata
10:00am Meet your guide at Yamagata station or your hotel in Yamagata city. You will head to Zao Summit Rest house along the Zao High Line. On arrival, enjoy hiking around and the stunning view of emerald green crater lake “Okama” also called five colored lake. In the afternoon, you will visit Risshakuji Temple well known for the name of Yamadera. This is an old temple visited by Matsuo Basho, the famous haiku poet. The 1,015-step approach to the inner sanctuary is covered with moss-covered old cedars and lined with haiku monuments, tablet monuments, and numerous pagodas. Afterwards, we will return to hotel.
Overnight at Yamagata city: Hotel Metropolitan Yamagata or similar | Meals included : none
2 Yamagata
In the morning, you will visit Mount Gassan, "the mountain represents the past world”. From the lower station of the pair-lift (elevation: 1,240m), take a 13-minute aerial walk to the upper station (elevation: 1,520m). You will have 3 hours free time for self-guided walk there. In the afternoon, you will head to Mt. Yudono "the mountain represents the future world”. Transfer to the main shrine by shared bus.Take off your shoes and undergoing a purification ceremony, you will visit the sacred body of a giant rock from which hot spring water gushes (photography is not permitted). Afterwards, visit Dainichibo where you will find Shinnyokai's mummy, remaining in the temple since 1786 and transfer to Tsuruoka city.
Overnight Tsuruoka city:Tokyo Daiichi Hotel Tsuruoka or shimiar
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner
3 Tsuruoka
Mogami River
You will pass through the Shonai Plain to Mount Haguro, which is the last mountain of three of Dewa sanzan and represents the present world. From the Zuishimon gate, you will walk to the five-story pagoda a national treasure of Japan and spiritual cedar trees. Then walk on stone steps up to the Sanjin Gosai-den (2-hour walk). At the top, we will visit Hachiko Shrine, the tomb of Prince Hachiko, which is under the jurisdiction of the Imperial Household Agency. In the afternoon, you will take Mogami River boat cruise and enjoy beautiful scenery of its upstream area called Mogami Gorge. Mogami River is one of the three swiftest rivers in Japan. Afterwards Transfer back to Yamagata city.
** Five-story pagoda in Mount Haguro is undergoing roof repair work from May 2023 to spring 2025. During this period, the the five-story pagoda will be covered by construction scaffolding.
**English speaking guide and private vehicle service ends this day.
Overnight Yamagata city :Hotel Metropolitan Yamagata or similar
Meal included: Breakfast
4 Yamagata Breakfast at hotel, then check out hotel by your own. End of the tour.
Meal included: Breakfast


Departure Price per person
March to October
3nights 4days
from JPY310,000
2 participants

from JPY250,000
3 participants

from JPY210,000
4-5 participants

Single room supplement:JPY15,000

**The above rates are in Japanese Yen and can be paid either by credit card or bank transfer.
**Price will vary depending on the actual travel dates, hotels to be used. Please contact us for an actual quote.

Above mentioned prices are inclusive of :

3 Nights of Accommodations | English Speaking guide | Private Vehicle and driver | Meals (3 breakfasts, 1dinners) | All entry fees to sites, activities listed in the itinerary

Above mentioned prices are exclusive of :

Transportation to/from Japan | Domestic flight or train within Japan | Travel & Medical Insurance | Meals not included in the itinerary | Personal Expenses (Souvenirs and Alcoholic Beverages, etc.)

Fitness Level 2 out of 5

There are several places to walk up and down steps because shrines visiting are mostly located on mountains. Good walking shoes or hiking shoes is necessary.
  Contact us about this tour
Travel planning and implementation:SAIYU TRAVEL CO.,LTD.
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