Hike a Sacred Mountain with Yamabushi Mountain Ascetic and Try Shojin Ryori Cuisine
Dewa Shonai Area Design Co., Ltd. • Yamagata
"Experience the spiritual culture of Japan with a Yamabushi mountain ascetic as your guide, climbing a holy mountain and tasting the cuisine of Japanese monks."
Dewa Sanzan (“Three Mountains of Dewa”) is a sacred place for Shugendo, Japanese nature worship. Climbing all three mountains is known as “The Journey of Rebirth,” as each mountain symbolizes a different stage: Mt. Haguro represents the present; Mt. Gassan, the past; and Mt. Yudono, the future. This same path has been tread for over 1,400 years and is steeped in history and rituals.

During this tour, a Yamabushi monk will lead the group on a hike up Mt. Haguro, the shortest mountain of the three, with 2,446 stone steps. Awarded 3 Michelin Green Stars, the trail is shaded by over 400 cedar trees, one of which is said to be 1,000 years old, and overlooked by a magnificent five-story pagoda. Along the way, there is also a rest stop at a scenic point overlooking Tsuruoka City where a traditional teahouse is perched.

Enjoy the mountain’s sweet-tasting air, then feast on a Shojin Ryori meal at a ryokan inn. Shojin Ryori is the traditional Japanese vegetarian cuisine that is often associated with Buddhism. This meal features local vegetables, both from Dewa Sanzan and the surrounding region. Far from being restrictive, Shojin Ryori calls attention to the wide variety of home-grown ingredients; one major highlight is the “goma dofu,” a creamy and nutty sesame tofu dish.

The trek up Mt. Haguro will leave visitors feeling connected with nature and refreshed, while the varied dishes of Shojin cuisine will replenish hikers with nutrients and rich flavors from the locality.


  • Don the traditional white robes of the Yamabushi mountain ascetics
  • Hike up Mt. Haguro, one of the Dewa Sanzan, with a Yamabushi guide
  • Marvel at the 1,000-year-old cedar tree and the five-story pagoda
  • Gain insights into Shugendo, the ancient Japanese nature-worshipping religion
  • Sit down to a shojin ryori meal at a local inn


  • White Yamabushi robes and shoes
  • Insights from a local Yamabushi guide
  • Shojin ryori meal