A sacred site of mountain worship where you can enjoy winter sports
Mt. Yudonosan together with Mt. Gassan and Mt. Haguroyama in the vicinity are called "Three Dewa Mountains" that are sacred sites of mountain worship. The 1500-meter mountain, one of the three major holy grounds along with Ise and Kumano, has an awe-inspiring ambience.
Mountain worship is a folk belief that has evolved from a sense of awe for mountains. As the belief is mixed with Buddhism in its long history, Mt. Yudonosan has become a symbol of Dainichi Nyorai (the supreme Buddah of Shingon Sect of Buddhism). Believing that they could become enlightened in this life (sokushinjobutu) in the mountain, many disciplinants went into the mountain. Admission to the shrine in the mountain is allowed only after removing your footware and receiving a ritual. The shrine has no pavilion; a huge rock from which a hot spring upwells is worshiped as the god of the mountain. Photography is prohivited and many disciplinants visit the place dressed in white. In winter the place is blanketed with snow. You can enjoy skiing and snowboarding on ski slopes at the foot. The sacred mountain is also a place for worldly enjoyment.
Address: Tamugimata, Tsuruoka, Yamagata
Directions: (Train) Take Asahi Kotsu Bus for Tamugimata or Yudonosan from JR Tsuruoka Station (3 hours by air from Tokyo via Shonai Airport), ride one hour and 20 minutes, get off at Yudonosan stop, change to a connecting bus and ride 5 minutes. 5 minutes by bus from the terminal to the shrine. (Car) 5 minutes from Yudonosan Interchange on the Yamagata Expressway