In the ancient province of Dewa, which is the current Yamagata Prefecture of Japan, a sacred mountain known as “Mount Haguro” lies. It is regarded as one of the “Three Mountains of Dewa”, being the lowest and serving for religious purpose. This is especially important to those who are practicing enlightenment as they need to understand the relationship between nature and humans.
Among the three mountains, Mount Haguro is the only one accessible all throughout the year. It is 414 meters in height and can be accessed through 2,446 stone paths going up to the summit. Apart from this, there is also a bus service available if you want to reach the summit very fast. It is also regarded as the only entrance to get to the two other mountains (Mt. Gassan and Mt. Yudono).
The trees are said to be centuries old, some are even 1,000 years old such as “Jijisugi,” also known as the old man cedar. Many people believe that trailing the mountain will give you natural powers and enlightenment. To reach the place you can take Haguro Peak/Mt.Gassan 8th Station (Haguro Sancho/Gassan Hachi-gome) bound bus from the JR Tsuruoka Station which will take you approximately 40 minutes. You can disembark at the Haguro Center.
Reaching Mount Haguro would also mean visiting one of the National Treasures of the world, the Five-Story Pagoda. It is the oldest pagoda in Tohoku which was built in 937 and what makes it even more amazing, without a single nail! It can be found surrounded by many cedars and has been likened to a “A white bird just about to take a flight” in classical texts.
Once you reach the summit, you’ll be able to find the Sanzan-Gosai-den Temple that’s also regarded as a two-starred treasure featured in the Michelin Green Guide Japan. The shrine is believed to venerate the spirits of all three mountains.
3 Holy Mountains of Japan to Explore