Mount Haguro in Winter

Experiment of snow-walking in wara rice straw boots

By Alena Eckelmann    - 1 min read

Mount Haguro, one of the Three Mountains of Dewa, in Yamagata is worth a visit during all seasons. While the two other Dewa mountains, Mount Gassan and Mount Yudono, are closed during winter, Haguro-san is accessible. You can walk down the valley to where Tohoku's oldest five-story pagoda stands. In summer it would be stone steps but in winter all is covered in a thick layer of snow. The path from Zuishin Gate to the pagoda is cleared from snow daily. How about doing a snow walk in wara boots? You can rent them from the Ideha Cultural Museum located near Zuishin Gate. The wara boots are hand-made by wara craftsman Saito-san who lives nearby.

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Alena Eckelmann

Alena Eckelmann @alena.eckelmann

Founder of Kii Monogatari, my story and the story of the Kii Peninsula of Japan. Originally from East Germany, I came to Tokyo, via Berlin and London, in 2005. In summer 2011 I moved by choice to remote Kumano in the south of the Kii Peninsula where I live, work and play now, and explore every day.The whole of the Kii Peninsula is a Healing Hub for me with its abundance of forest, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, the ocean, friendly rural communities and sacred places. This is where nature meets spirituality, and tradition meets sustainability, the new paradigm for travel post-pandemic. My deep interest is in Japanese nature & spirituality. I love being in nature, in the forest and in the mountains, and I love spending time at temples and shrines.  I am building my life and my work around these two passions. I am a Licensed Forest Therapy (Shinrin Therapy) Guide and a Licensed Kumano Kodo and Koyasan Guide. I am also a Licensed Retreat Facilitator and I am planning retreats on the Kii Peninsula. Last but not least, I have been the Japan Travel Partner for Wakayama and Yamagata since the conception of the platform in 2011! These two prefectures are close to my heart because they are the centers of Shugendo, a spiritual tradition of mountain ascetism. I am a Shugendo Practitioner for over ten years now and received Tokudo in 2016 at a Shugendo temple on Yoshinoyama. Please kindly connect via my Facebook Page Kii Monogatari. Take care, keep well, stay safe!