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Main Shrine Building

Haguro-san is the most easily accessible of the three mountains of Dewa Sanzan. At its summit stands Haguro-san Shrine, the only of the three Dewa Sanzan shrines which is open year round. Symbolizing birth, Haguro-san is usually the first shrine visited by pilgrims.

Haguro-san is the easiest to visit because of a toll road that allows visitors to reach the top by car or bus. However, the traditional and recommended approach to the shrine is via a walking trail, which leads through a cedar forest over 2446 stone steps from the base to the summit of the mountain. Along the way, 33 figures carved into the stone steps bring prosperity to anyone who can find them all.

Ideha Museum
Beginning of Haguro-san's approach

Several attractions are located along the walking trail up Haguro-san. Near the trailhead stands Ideha Museum with information and exhibits on Shugendo (a folk religion based on mountain worship), yamabushi (practitioners of Shugendo) and the Dewa Sanzan. There are English translations at many of the displays, and a visit is a good way to learn about the area's history and religious value.

About ten minutes into the walking trail stands a five storied pagoda surrounded by cedars. A classical text states that this National Treasure was first built in 937. Further along the steps is a teahouse offering tired hikers water, tea, snacks, souvenirs and even a free hiking certificate.

Five storied pagoda at the base of the mountain

Just before the summit, a building called Saikan and connected to Haguro-san's shrine, offers temple lodging (shukubo). A stay at Saikan provides visitors with simple accommodation in a tatami room, dinner and breakfast in the style of Buddhist vegetarian cuisine ("shojin ryori") and the opportunity to watch the shrine's early morning ceremony. It should be booked in advance.

Haguro-san's main shrine holds the deities from all three Dewa Sanzan shrines, making it the most important of the three. The main building, Sanjin Gosaiden, features the thickest thatched roof in Japan, over two meters thick. Also at the summit is the Dewa Sanzan Historical Museum containing information on the shrines in Japanese, along with art and artifacts.

A section of the 2446 stairs leading up Haguro-san

Access

Shonai Kotsu operates eight bus round trips per day (ten during the peak seasons) between Tsuruoka Station and "Zuishinmon" bus stop (formerly named "Haguro Center") at the base of Haguro-san (40 minutes, 820 yen one way). Most of the buses continue to the summit of Haguro-san (55 minutes, 1180 yen from Tsuruoka Station), except from November through March, when only four round trips go all the way to the summit.

How to get to and around the Dewa Sanzan

Hours & Fees

Ideha Museum

Hours

9:00 to 16:30 (April to November)
9:30 to 16:00 (December to March)

Closed

Tuesdays (except July and August) and New Year holidays

Admission

400 yen

Dewa Sanzan Museum

Hours

8:30 to 16:30 (entry until 16:00)

Closed

Thursdays (except July and August) and late November to late April

Admission

300 yen

Teahouse

Hours

8:30 to 17:00

Closed

November to April
Page last updated: July 20, 2015