Yudono-san (aR) is one of the three mountains of Dewa Sanzan, and its shrine is considered to be a kind of inner sanctum. In fact, Yudono-san is so sacred that one is not to talk of what happens inside the shrine.

Despite its secrecy and mystery, Yudono-san is relatively easily accessible via a toll road. Located in a valley below the summit, the shrine stands about a kilometer further up the mountain from the parking lot, and there is a shuttle bus that runs between the parking lot and the shrine's entrance. The traditional approach, however, is more challenging, consisting of a descent via a steep hiking trail from the summit of Gas-san.

Visitors walk a short final portion of stone trail from the bus stop to the shrine, where they are asked to remove their shoes to begin purification rites in their bare feet. Rather than divulge any more of Yudono-san's secret interior, we recommend travelers make their own visit to this impressive shrine. Note that the shrine maintains a strict ban on photography.

Like Gas-san, Yudono-san closes during the winter months (early November through May), although it is still feasible to visit in poor weather thanks to its road access. Because Yudono-san is the mountain symbolizing rebirth, it is typically the final Dewa Sanzan shrine visited by pilgrims after Haguro-san (birth) and Gas-san (death).

Getting there and around

By bus

Shonai Kotsu discontinued the regular bus line to Yudono-san in 2017. A taxi ride from Tsuruoka Station costs over 10,000 yen one way.

By car

Driving from central Tsuruoka to Yudono-san takes about 45-60 minutes one way. The last three kilometers are a toll road (400-600 yen depending on the size of the car) that leads to the shrine's parking lot from where the shrine can be reached in a short shuttle bus ride (200 yen one way) or in a steep 15-20 minute walk.

How to get to and around the Dewa Sanzan

Hours and Fees

Yudono-san Shrine