- 2 min read

Mount Haguro in Winter

Experiment of snow-walking in wara rice straw boots

Mount Haguro, one of the Three Mountains of Dewa, in Yamagata is worth a visit during all seasons. While the two other Dewa Sanzan sacred mountains, Mount Gassan and Mount Yudono, are closed during winter, Haguro-san is accessible, at least the lower part of the long avenue lined by old cedar trees that leads to the mountain top where the Haguro Shrine is located.

You can walk down the valley to where Tohoku's oldest five-story pagoda stands. When you come to Haguro-san in summer, you would be walking on 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. There is an interesting exhibition in this museum about the Shugendo tradition in this area.

The wara boots are hand-made by wara craftsman Saito-san who lives nearby.

During the warm seasons it is easy to secure accommodation in one of the Shukubo (temple lodgings) in Toge Village at the base of Haguro-san. These Shukubo are famed for their Dewa Sanzan Shojin Ryori, a vegan Buddhist cuisine. Shojin Ryori is not unique to Dewa Sanazan but it is also being offered at temple lodgings on Koyasan in the Kansai area as well as in many other temples around the country. However, here in the Dewa region the ingredients are local. For example, herbs and mushrooms picked in the foothills of Mount Gassan.

However, these Shukubo, which are the lodgings where Yamabushi and other pilgrims typically stay, are closed in winter. A good alternative is the Tokyo Dai-ichi Hotel Tsuruoka, located in walking distance of Tsuruoka Station. This hotel features a hot spring bath on the top floor.

Walking in wara straw boots on Haguro-san is an exciting option on a Yamagata Winter Adventure Tour. How about a winter hike on Haguro-san?

Getting there

Busses on the "Haguro-Gassan Line" run by Shonai Kotsu leave from S-Mall Bus Terminal and stop in front of Tsuruoka Station, then continue to Haguro-san. Get off the bus at Zuishinmon at the base of Haguro-san. The bus then continues to the top of Haguro-san and continues to Gassan Mountain where this line terminates.

Tsuruoka Station is a JR train station on the Uetsu Main Line which connects Niigata City with Akita City and runs along the Shonai Coast.

A highway bus connects Sendai Airport with Tsuruoka and Haguro-san. It takes 3 hours 30 minutes and costs Yen 3,680. This is the best option to get to Tsuruoka by public transport from the Eastern side of Yamagata Prefecture, unless you rent a car and drive.

More info

Find out more about Mount Haguro.

Was this article helpful?
Help us improve the site
Give Feedback

Thank you for your support!

Your feedback has been sent.