Walk the Path to Mount Haguro

Embark on a trek along the mountain passage, filled with traditions and spiritual practice

By Google Arts & Culture

Mount Haguro, along with Mount Gessan and Mount Yudono, are the three mountains of Dewa Sanzan. Mount Haguro has become known for its traditions and is considered a spiritual location. When you enter the mountain, the world seems different and you might come across rare sights, such as cedar trees that are aged somewhere between 300 to 500 years old, the famous Zuishinmon gate, and national heritage Five-Storied Pagoda. This mountain also has the most stone steps in japan, with a total of 2,446. If that sounds like a lot of steps, then explore this mountain from the comfort of your home...

Zuishinmon is located at the entrance of Mount Haguro and is the gateway to Dewa Sanzan. It is a gate that divides the human world and the spiritual world of the mountain. It is said that on either side of the gate are two gods, who help fend off evil spirits.

This is the Mount Haguro mountain passage, which continues for 1.7 km until it reaches the peak (taking roughly about an hour of walking). This path is said to be a place that leads to rebirth.

The stone steps have 33 different engravings. It is said that if you find all of the engravings, one of your wishes will be granted, so try and find all 33 as you walk along the path.

The waterfall of Suga flows down both sides of Mount Haguro. When you start to hear the sound of water, you will come across a red bridge known as Haraigawa. In the past, worshipers would remove their clothes and cleanse themselves in the river before starting on their trek.

Jiji-sugi is a famous spot, which was certified as a natural monument in 1951. It is the oldest and largest cedar tree, being 11 meters wide at the base, 8.3 meters wide at eye level, 48.3 meters tall, and roughly 1,000 years old.

At the foot of the mountain is the Five-Storied Pagoda, which is also a certified national monument. Many people go to the Pagoda to wish to the agricultural god for a rich harvest. There also used to be many temples surrounding it, but now the Pagoda stands alone.

Among the three hills on Mount Haguro, Ni no Saka is the longest and steepest. It is said that a famous warrior Benkei spilled oil on this hill as it was so steep.

After climbing the Ni no Saka, you will find a tea shop. The family who run the shop climb the steps every day during high season and serve homemade mochi and matcha to mountain climbers. Enjoy your snack overlooking the views below.

Once you've climbed up the mountain passage, you will come across the Saikan temple. Many people come here specially for the fresh ingredients that can be found at the foot of Mount Haguro.

In 2005, Saikan was labelled a cultural heritage. Here, you can have shojin ryori (a vegan meal) and try the spiritual food that has been passed down by generations in the Mount Haguro area.

The Sanjingo Saiden temple commemorates the olden Haguro ways. It is 28 meters tall and was completed in the Bunsei period. It is said that over 130,000 workers helped to build it.

The Kagami Ike is thought to be a spiritual pond by Haguro worshipers and some people believe that the pond itself is a holy spirit. If you dig down, you can also find bronze mirrors buried beneath the water.

On the mountain, you can also find the Shorou dou bell. This is one of the oldest bells in existence.

Once you have reached the peak of Dewa Sanzan, your final destination might be the History Museum. This displays artifacts that explain the history and spiritual culture of the mountains.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps