MT. YUDONO

The world of the future where we come face-to-face with our future selves

Our

Rebirth


Mt. Yudono: The world of the future where we meet our future selves.

The secluded Mt. Yudono is home to one of the most mystical natural features in Japan, so mystical, in fact, that it is forbidden to even mention, and this peak was also the training ground for the Sokushinbutsu Buddha Mummies. After venturing to Mt. Haguro and Mt. Gassan on the Dewa Sanzan Pilgrimage of Rebirth, the final stop is Mt. Yudono, also known as Oku-no-in, the temple of the deep, where we are reborn.

 Honji Buddha: Vairocana

(Dainichi Nyorai)

Supreme Buddha of the Cosmos

Shinto Manifestations: 

Oyamatsumi-no-Mikoto, Deity of Mt. Yudono

Onamauchi-no-Mikoto, Deity of the land

Sukunahikona-no-Mikoto, Deity of Medicine

Cosmic Time: The Future  

Height: 1503m (4931 ft.)

Open: Golden Week in May to end of October

Mt. Yudono of the Dewa Sanzan waterfall meditation spot

Otaki waterfall, located right below the object of worship at Mt. Yudono Shrine.

The Shrine Gates of Mt. Yudono Shrine

Yamabushi during training near Mt. Yudono

Encounter your Future Self

The main feature of Mt. Yudono is not the peak itself, but rather the object of worship found in Mt. Yudono Shrine. Mt. Yudono Shrine is not a typical shrine as the object of worship cannot be confined within a building. Although we are forbidden to talk about the object of worship, it can be said that this is where we are reborn, and where we come face-to-face with our future selves on the pilgrimage of rebirth.

Sokushinbutsu Buddha Mummies Training Ground

In the Shingon sect of Esoteric Buddhism, it was believed that it was possible to become one with Vairocana, the Supreme Buddha of the Cosmos (Dainichi Nyorai), through rigorous ascetic training and self-mummification. Of the 16 Sokushinbutsu (lit. Buddhahood in this very body) Buddha Mummies, or Living Buddha, in Japan, ten are said to have undertaken ascetic training, on Mt. Yudono such as at Churenji and Dainichibo temples.

The gates of Mt. Yudono in autumn

What to see on Mt. Yudono

Dragon statue in front of the gates of Mt. Yudono Shrine

Mt. Yudono Shrine

Speak not. Ask not. The very secretive Mt. Yudono Shrine is home to the most sacred object on the Dewa Sanzan, and this sacredness means one is forbidden from mentioning it.

What can be shared though, is that when you arrive, you are required to take off your shoes before being blessed, and then moving on to the object of worship.

The shrine is only open from Golden Week typically in early May to October 31st, and is particularly beautiful when the autumn foliage is out. The annual festival is on June 1.

Lodging is available at the Mt. Yudono Sanrosho that boasts an altar for rituals, spacious rooms, and an Onsen bath.

Dainichibo Temple

Located at the Oami entrance to Mt. Gassan, Dainichibo Temple is one of four temples on Mt. Yudono of the Shingon Buddhist sect that thrived thanks to large amounts of mountain worshippers and Shugendo followers on pilgrimages to the Dewa Sanzan.

Kukai is said to have founded the temple in 807 before founding the temple on Mt. Koya, and the original temple building was constructed in 825. Both Dainchibo and Churenji Buddhist temples believe that the Dewa Sanzan were founded by Kukai, as opposed to Dewa Sanzan Shinto Shrine who believe that they were founded by Prince Hachiko in 593.

Dainichibo Temple is also home to Shinyokai Shonin who became a Sokushinbutsu self- mummified monk in 1786 at the age of 96. His clothes are changed every 6 years, and the pieces are sold as amulets of protection.

Dainichibo’s gate is the oldest Niomon gate in Yamagata

Foliage near Churenji Temple

Churenji Temple

Like Dainichibo Temple, Churenji Temple is of the Shingon sect of Buddhism that espoused the belief that attaining Buddhahood in this world was possible, and is home to one of the more colourful Sokushinbutsu, Tetsumonkai Shonin. Tetsumonkai Shonin sought redemption for killing government officials after a scuffle over rising floodwaters, and even emasculated and blinded himself in one eye before giving the ultimate sacrifice in the aim of providing salvation to the people. 

The temple itself was established by Kukai in 825 and became a central location for worshippers to the Dewa Sanzan, surging in popularity during the Edo period (1603-1868). The temple houses its own art exhibition with pictures on the ceiling and other artworks of modern culture in one of the main halls. Next to the temple lies the Shimekake Zakura, a cherry blossom that Kukai is said to have trained under and managed to tie down in preparation for the winter by himself in the year of the ox.

Rokujurigoe Kaido

The Rokujurigoe Kaido, named after its distance of 60 ri, is the pilgrimage route taken by thousands heading to the Dewa Sanzan from inland Yamagata prefecture. Said to have been opened in 1200 yet with its heyday in the 1600s, the moss-covered paths, relics, and old teahouses found on the side of the road connect us to a time gone by. Check out the Nanatsuki Falls, said to have been used by Yamabushi for their waterfall meditation.  

Bridge on the Rokujurigoe Kaido amongst the autumn leaves

Experiences on Mt. Yudono

Yamabushido Programs

Join the Yamabushido team as they take you on the journey of a lifetime.

Access Mt. Yudono

Mt. Yudono is best accessed by private transport, and can be reached off route 112 from either Tsuruoka in the coastal Shonai region, or inland Yamagata prefecture. Dainichibo and Churenji are relatively close to each other, but Mt. Yudono Shrine is a further 30-minute drive away. 

The shrine on Mt. Yudono can be accessed by car using a toll road off route 112 that takes you to the shrine car park, or by public bus from central Tsuruoka or Mt. Haguro, but be warned that running times are limited. Those fit enough to do so could also climb down from the top of Mt. Gassan. 

From the car park it is a further 10-15 minute walk up to the

main shrine, or you can opt to take the shrine bus (¥300 return for adults).

Busses to Mt. Yudono

  • Central Tsuruoka to Mt. Yudono
  • Mt. Haguro to Mt. Yudono
Central Tsuruoka to Mt. Yudono

From Golden Week (generally first week of May) to October 31, there is one bus a day from central Tsuruoka to Mt. Yudono that does not stop at the top of Mt. Haguro.

STOP


Tsuruoka Station


S-Mall (Central Tsuruoka)


Ideha Cultural Memorial Hall (Bottom of Mt. Haguro)


Sanchoku Asahi Gu (Farmers’ Market)


Gassan Rest Area


Tamugimata Entrance


Mt. Yudono

TIME


8:55


8:57


9:20


9:42


9:50


9:15


10:14

ZONE


A


A


A


B


B


B


B

Buses departing from Zone A cost 2,000 yen, and it takes about 80 minutes from Tsuruoka Station. Buses departing from Zone B cost 1,500 yen, and it takes about 65 minutes from the top of Mt. Haguro. Fares are paid on the bus and are the same for adults and children.

Mt. Haguro to Mt. Yudono

From Golden Week (generally first week of May) to October 31, there are two buses a day from Mt. Haguro to Mt. Yudono.

STOP


Mt. Haguro Top (Dewa Sanzan Shrine)


Ideha Cultural Memorial Hall (Bottom of Mt. Haguro)


Sanchoku Asahi Gu (Farmers’ Market)


Gassan Rest Area


Tamugimata Entrance


Mt. Yudono


TIME


11:55


12:06


12:28


12:36


12:41


13:00


TIME


14:50


15:01


15:23


15:31


15:36


15:55


ZONE


B


B


B


B


B


B


Buses departing from Zone B cost 1,500 yen, and it takes about 65 minutes from the top of Mt. Haguro to Mt. Yudono. Fares are paid on the bus and are the same for adults and children.

Busses from Mt. Yudono

  • Mt. Yudono to Central Tsuruoka
  • Mt. Yudono to Mt. Haguro
Mt. Yudono to Central Tsuruoka

From Golden Week (generally first week of May) to October 31, there is one bus a day from Mt. Yudono to Central Tsuruoka that does not stop at the top of Mt. Haguro.

STOP


Mt. Yudono


Tamugimata Entrance


Gassan Rest Area


Sanchoku Asahi Gu (Farmers’ Market)


Ideha Cultural Memorial Museum (Bottom of Mt. Haguro)


Tsuruoka Station


S-Mall (Central Tsuruoka)

TIME


16:15


16:34


16:39


16:47


17:09


17:32


17:34

ZONE


B


B


B


B


A


A


A

Buses departing from Zone B cost 2,000 yen, and it takes about 80 minutes from Mt. Yudono to Tsuruoka Station. Buses departing from Zone A cost 1,500 yen. Fares are paid on the bus and are the same for adults and children.

Mt. Yudono to Mt. Haguro

From Golden Week (generally first week of May) to October 31, there are two buses a day from Mt. Yudono to Mt. Haguro.

STOP


Mt. Yudono


Tamugimata Entrance


Gassan Rest Area


Sanchoku Asahi Gu (Farmers’ Market)


Ideha Cultural Memorial Hall (Bottom of Mt. Haguro)


Mt. Haguro Top (Dewa Sanzan Shrine)

TIME


10:35


10:54


10:59


11:07


11:29


11:40

TIME


13:30


13:49


13:54


14:02


14:24


14:35

ZONE


B


B


B


B


B


B

Buses departing from Zone B cost 1,500 yen, and it takes about 65 minutes from the top of Mt. Yudono to Mt. Haguro. Fares are paid on the bus and are the same for adults and children.

This information is updated as of April 2019. Timetables are subject to change. We cannot be held responsible for any loss of time or money due to the information given here.

Popular Routes to Mt. Yudono

The Real Deal

Those wanting the ultimate Mt. Haguro experience typically park their car or get off the bus at the Ideha Cultural Memorial Hall, and begin the climb on the stone stairway from the Zuishinmon gates. This route takes you to all the places mentioned above, besides the Shukubo pilgrim lodges and the detour to Minami-dani. Allow two to three hours for a return trip, not including the Shojin Ryori experience at Saikan. 

The Split

Those unable or unwilling to walk up the entire stone stairway often spend 30-45 minutes visiting the Five-storied pagoda at the bottom, and then drive or take the bus to the shrine grounds at the top. From there, it is a short walk to Saikan from Sanjingosaiden Shrine for the Shojin Ryori experience. 

Old Haguro Road 

One lesser known path is from the opposite Shonai Town side of Mt. Haguro named Old Haguro Road. This is the path that was used by Matsuo Basho on his pilgrimage writing The Narrow Road to the Deep North. This path is only accessible by car or bike, and goes through a completely different, relatively unknown part of Mt. Haguro.

The Pilgrimage Continues

Revisit the world of the afterlife on Mt. Gassan, or the current world on Mt. Haguro. 

Mt. Haguro

Where the troubles of the present world are overcome

Mt. Gassan

Come face to face with the ancestors in the world of the afterlife.

Join the Dewa Sanzan Tribe

Contact Us

Mt. Haguro Guided Pilgrimage 

Dewa Sanzan Shojin Ryori Experience at Saikan

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