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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Tohoku - Yamagata
Dewa Sanzan 
# 129   of 178 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: 92/100 (15 votes)
Visited by: 34 users
 2  Gas-san
The highest of the three Dewa Sanzan.
User rating: 86/100 (16 votes)
Visited by: 40 users
 3  Haguro-san
Easiest accessible of the three Dewa Sanzan.
User rating: 87/100 (27 votes)
Visited by: 56 users
Other Attractions
 1  Churenji, Dainichibo
Temples known for Buddhist mummies.
User rating: insufficient data
Visited by: 20 users
  

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User Ratings
Ratings for Dewa Sanzan:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  best of Japan  
User Rating (by 33 users):
89/100
  recommended

Best rated destinations (out of 162):
16.  Nikko   91/100
17.  Kamakura   91/100
18.  Nara   91/100
19.  Yamadera   91/100
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   87/100
Most visited destinations (out of 178):
124.  Miyako Island   113
125.  Bandai   108
126.  Huis Ten Bosch   108
127.  Iwami Ginzan   105
128.  Shimokita Hanto   101
129.  Dewa Sanzan   94
130.  Koka   92
131.  Fukushima   89
132.  Onuma Park   88
133.  Rishiri and Rebun   86

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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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