Enjoy a half day walking tour of Tokyo.
Stay at a Shokubo temple lodge at Haguro-san.
Enjoy hot spring baths and luxury ryokan style accommodation at Shizu Onsen.
Make the pilgrimage of Dewa’s three sacred mountains: Haguro-san, Gassan, Yudono-san.
Participate in an ancient yamabushi ritual at Yudono-san
Walk sections of the old Rokujurigoe highway between Yamagata & Dewa.
- Haguro-san stair climb (2-3hr return)
- Gassan 8th station to Shizu Onsen (5hr)
- Yudono-san to Shizu Onsen (3hr), ancient Rokujurigoe highway
- Yudono-san to Churenji Temple (6hr), ancient Rokujurigoe highwa (or spare walking day for alternative approach to Gassan if weather was previously unfavourable)
Transport and entry to all places described
Accommodation and meals described
The services of Riki Inamura, the tour escort
Airport-hotel transfers in Japan
Tokyo: Asakusa Gracery Hotel
Haguro: Shokubo (temple) accommodation TBA
Shizu Onsen: Tsutaya Ryokan
Day 1: Arrive Tokyo on Sat 12 September 2020
Arrive at Tokyo's Narita or Haneda airport by own arrangement with transfers provided to your hotel.
Day 2: Tokyo BD
Enjoy a half-day walking tour with Riki, including Sensoji Temple (to wish a safe journey ahead), Shinjuku Gyoen (Gardens), and the Meiji Shrine in Yoyogi Park through to Harajuku. In the afternoon, you may want to visit the Nezu Museum, the Edo-Tokyo museum, or some other place of interest yourself. Regroup at night for our welcome dinner.
Day 3: Tokyo to Haguro-san BD
Today, we will make our way by Shinkansen to Niigata, where we will connect with an express train to Tsuruoka. From there, it is just a short bus ride to the base of Haguro-san. In the afternoon, take the 2446 stone steps to Haguro Shrine itself via the beautiful 600 year old five storey pagoda, and the ancient cedar forests planted by Yamabushi long-ago. Your pilgrimage of Haguro-san symbolizes the present.
Day 4: Haguro-san to Shizu Onsen BD
(Walk Gassan 8th Station to Shizu Onsen)
We will take a charter van to the Gassan's 8th Station, and from there we will begin hiking towards Gassan, which symbolises the after life. At 1984m we should reach it within 2.5hr. From there, we will proceed down towards Shizu Onsen at Ubasawa (2.5hr). Be aware that in the case of poor weather and visibility, we will attempt Gassan on one of our other walking days.
Day 5: Shizu Onsen BD
(Visit Yudono-san and walk part of the Rokujurigoe Highway)
We will take a van to reach Yudono-san, the sacred mountain of re-birth, where you will have the opportunity to participate in a Shinto ritual. From there, we will then walk part of the Rokujurigoe Highway. In the case of better weather than yesterday, we will scale Gassan from the Shizu Onsen side of the moutain, making the round trip with the assistance of a ski-lift for the journey up.
Day 6: Shizu Onsen BD
(Walk Rokujurigoe Highway, or alternative Gassan approach)
Today, we will walk the Rokujigoe Highway to Churenji Temple, which also holds a 19th century Sokushinbutsu known as Tetsumonkaishonin. Sokushinbutsu are practioners who have reached enlightenment in this life through a long process of starvation and self-mummification. Here, you can experience and learn about the strong synchretic link between Buddhism and Shintoism. It was thought to abolish impurity, while at the same time sacrificing oneself to save humankind from famine and disease. In the evening, we will share our last dinner together to farewell each other.
Day 7: Shizu Onsen to Tokyo B
In the morning, we will travel down to Yamagata, where we will join the Shinkansen bound for Tokyo. The afternoon will be yours to enjoy at leisure.
Day 8: Tokyo, then travel home on Sat 19 September 2020 B
Talk to Riki to extend your stay in Japan or enjoy your last day there before transferring to Haneda or Narita for your flight home.