Sacred Atmosphere of the Five-Story Pagoda of Mt. Haguro
Deep within a grove of cedar trees over 350 years old, the Five-Story Pagoda, designated as a national treasure, nestles quietly at the foot of Ichinozaka, a slope which leads to the top of Mt. Haguro. The Mt. Haguro area is shrouded in beauty and mystery as if in another world. The Five-Story Pagoda, which was built some 600 years ago, and the landscape of Mt. Haguro will leave lasting impressions.
Zuishinmon gate, the entrance to a sacred place
Mt. Haguro is located in Yamagata Prefecture in the Tohoku region. It is one of the three mountains of Dewa (Dewa Sanzan), along with Mt. Gassan and Mt. Yudono, and is well known for Shugendo training. The path to the Five-Story Pagoda starts from Zuishinmon, the red temple gate.
Say goodbye to this world as you pass through Zuishinmon gate and walk toward Mt. Haguro, the world of the gods. As you walk along the stone stairway, you can feel the mystical atmosphere envelop you.
Lush moss, tall cedar trees. In the silence, you can hear a waterfall murmuring.
When you cross the vivid red bridge over the Haraigawa River, you will find the Suga Waterfall. The beauty of the waterfall cascading over a steep cliff is breathtaking.
Long ago, monks visited Dewa Sanzan to perform water purification, or Mizudori in Japanese, and cleansed themselves with its cold water.
After walking a little further, a massive cedar tree called Jijisugi (old man cedar) stands before you. Jijisugi is estimated to be 1,000 years old and its circumference is as large as 10 meters. It is designated as a national natural monument. Its incredible massiveness is overpowering.
Impressive and beautiful Five-Story Pagoda
Only a few minutes’ walk from Zuishinmon gate brings you to many interesting sights, and finally you will find the Five-Story Pagoda. The magnificent Five-Story Pagoda appears between cedar trees. The beauty and magnificence of the pagoda have earned it a three-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide. The current pagoda was built about 600 years ago, making it the oldest tower in the Tohoku region. What is even more surprising is that the pagoda preserves the original natural color of the wood, called Shirakizukuri; no nails were used in its construction. It stands 29 meters tall. The long eaves are particularly beautiful, resembling the wings of a swan taking flight. You will lose track of time taking photos and gazing up at the eaves from the foot of the pagoda. The pagoda is lit up at night throughout the summer, and becomes covered with snow during winter, creating a spell-binding image.
Climb to the top of Mt. Haguro
After climbing up about 2,500 steps to the summit, you finally reach Sanjin Gosaiden, a Shinto shrine enshrining together the three gods of Mt. Gassan, Mt. Haguro and Mt. Yudono.
Even if you are not confident about your stamina, you can enjoy hiking in nature at your own pace. You can also get to the top by car or bus, but you need to climb on foot to the Five-Story Pagoda.
You will feel a surge of energy on the way to the summit of Mt. Haguro even though it is hard work climbing up the stone stairs of the long path. Mt. Gassan as a whole is a place filled with spiritual energy. Why not nourish your soul with the spiritual scenery of Mt. Haguro when you visit Tohoku?