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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Tohoku - Yamagata
Dewa Sanzan 
# 130   of 175 destinations
in our travel guide

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View of Gas-san from the hiking trail

Dewa Sanzan ("three mountains of Dewa") are three sacred mountains in Yamagata Prefecture, each with a shrine on or near its peak. The mountains are named Haguro-san, Gas-san and Yudono-san and remain centers of mountain worship. Representing birth (Haguro-san), death (Gas-san) and rebirth (Yudono-san), the mountains are usually visited in that order.

Dewa Sanzan is a center of Shugendo, a folk religion based on mountain worship, blending Buddhist and Shinto traditions. Shugendo practitioners, called yamabushi, perform feats of endurance as a means of transcending the physical world. Training includes such tasks as long pilgrimages and endurance of the elements.

Evidence of Shugendo's most extreme test of physical endurance and religious devotion lies in the nearby Churenji and Dainichibo Temples. Here, two monks succeeded in preserving their own bodies as mummies through extreme diet modification and meditation. Although the practice is now banned, these self-mummified monks are considered living Buddhas for their achievement.

Part of Dewa Sanzan's appeal is its remoteness. Yamagata's heavy snowfall makes travel in the mountains difficult during the winter months when only Haguro-san remains open. The best time to visit is between July and mid September when all three shrines are open to pilgrims and tourists.

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Attractions
The Three Shrines
 1  Yudono-san
The most sacred of the three Dewa Sanzan.
User rating: 90/100 (12 votes)
Visited by: 31 users
 2  Gas-san
The highest of the three Dewa Sanzan.
User rating: 88/100 (13 votes)
Visited by: 37 users
 3  Haguro-san
Easiest accessible of the three Dewa Sanzan.
User rating: 88/100 (25 votes)
Visited by: 52 users
Other Attractions
 1  Churenji, Dainichibo
Temples known for Buddhist mummies.
User rating: insufficient data
Visited by: 20 users
  

Access and Orientation
Access and Orientation
How to get to and around the Dewa Sanzan.

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User Ratings
Ratings for Dewa Sanzan:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  best of Japan  
User Rating (by 30 users):
89/100
  recommended

Best rated destinations (out of 160):
16.  Nara   91/100
17.  Kamakura   91/100
18.  Sanriku Coast   90/100
19.  Yamadera   90/100
20.  Shiretoko   90/100
21.  Dewa Sanzan   89/100
22.  Hiroshima   89/100
23.  Kiso Valley   89/100
24.  Rishiri and Rebun   88/100
25.  Kurokawa Onsen   88/100
Most visited destinations (out of 175):
125.  Iwami Ginzan   103
126.  Bandai   101
127.  Shimokita Hanto   98
128.  Huis Ten Bosch   97
129.  Koka   91
130.  Dewa Sanzan   89
131.  Onuma Park   85
132.  Rishiri and Rebun   83
133.  Kurobe Gorge   82
134.  Shirakami Sanchi   81

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English Links
Dewa Sanzan
Official English website.

Japanese Links
Dewa Sanzan
Official website.
Tsuruoka City
Official website.

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Related Pages
Travel
Sightseeing
Tohoku Region
Yamagata Prefecture

Haguro-san
Gas-san
Yudono-san
Churenji and Dainichibo

Shinto
Buddhism

Dewa Sanzan: Access and Orientation

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