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Travelling to Dewa Sanzan 2018/7/24 13:04
Hello Travellers
We are seeking travel plan recommendation for getting to Dewa Sanzan (Haguro-san) early Feb 2019. We will be in Tokyo and heading north to Sapporo and working out how best to navigate the trip to Dewa Sanzan by either bus, train or air. We had looked at perhaps getting the overnight bus from Tokyo to Tsuruoka book into a hotel, do the walk that day and following morning make our way to either Sendai and rejoin the fast train to Sapporo or train to Akita and fly to Sapporo? If it were possible to leave Tsuruoka same day and not stay overnight then that would save us time. Obviously looking at the least travel times to get to Sapporo so any suggestion would be most welcome.

If we were able to arrive by bus early morning do the walk and then leave the town late afternoon it would be great to know where we could leave suitcases? Possibly best option is to stay overnight?

thank you in advance
by Jules Breese (guest)  

Re: Travelling to Dewa Sanzan 2018/7/24 17:26
I visited Dewa Sanzan; but you do not have JRPass?
I arrived in the morning at the base of the mountain and I went up on foot, this was in May and it was still very slippery and in some parts still had snow and at the peak of the mountain were removing the snow about 10 cm !!! I do not believe you can do this on foot in February, or even by bus.
JR Tsuruoka Station has a bus that takes you to the top of the hill, until the base takes about 40 minutes and up to the peak about 60 minutes, it would be important to know if you can go up in the season you want.
by pirataurbano rate this post as useful

Re: Travelling to Dewa Sanzan 2018/7/24 22:47

Like @Pirataurbano, I too went to Haguro-san in Spring. I went in late April '09. For me, the stairs were all clear of snow and lots of people were out tidying up the grounds though there was the remains of snow in a few pockets at the top near the temple buildings. I am pretty sure in February the steps to the top will be completely inaccessible, however, I believe the bus to the top runs year round, so you could conceivably take the bus to the top of Haguro-san, sludge around in the snow and then take the bus back down.

In my case, I took an early train from Sakata to Tsuruoka, caught a bus to Haguro-san. Climbed to the top, walked around on the top and got my goshuin, took the bus back down to Tsuruoka, and then caught an express bus from Tsuruoka to Yamagata where I then changed for the bus to Zao. I timed everything pretty carefully and had short but not a severely rushed layover in Yamagata. So if finances are no object, you should be able to do Haguro-san in the morning and then bus it over to Zao. In the Winter time, there are express buses from Zao to Sendai proper because it's a popular ski resort. If you stayed the night you could see the famous snow monsters or because it's ski season, there could be also be a late bus from Zao.

While trying to find info on buses from Zao to Sendai I found this information as well: https://japanbusonline.com/en/AreaSearch2/2062014001/2041009/20170224 So presumably, you can take a direct bus from Tsuroka to Sendai. At 165 minutes, it is probably faster than traveling up the coast to Akita unless you can make one of the 3 Inaho Limited Express trains a day. Otherwise you will take the local Uetsu line which will take you over 200 minutes with layovers . I took the local Uetsu line from Akita to Sakata and thought it was quite scenic, but I am sure others would. It was long and much of the ride I was the only passenger.

From Sendai you should be able to find a flight to Sapporo. ANA, JAL, Air Do and Peach should all offer flights. Getting to the airport from Sendai Station seems to be easy.

BTW, while it might be cheaper to bus it from Tokyo to Tsuruoka, you could also look into flying Haneda to Shonai Airport and then getting to Tsuruoka.

Hope this helps!
by rkold rate this post as useful

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