Mt. Haguro

Mt. Haguro, Tsuruoka: Tickets, Tours, Address, Mt. Haguro Reviews: 4.5/5

Historic Sites • Mountains • Points of Interest & Landmarks
What people are saying
Sarah B
By Sarah B
A Hot/Humid Climb in July - Despite the Shade
Jul 2019
My sister and I aimed to split the Dewa Sanzan (Haguro, Gassan, and Yudono) across three days. Haguro was said to take about 2 hours to climb up/down and so we did this hike at the end of our travel day from Semboku/Kuroyu in the north. We arrived at the bus area/trailhead for Haguro around 3; shockingly, parking was free (we used a rental car for our extended trip all around Tohoku). Our weather the week before in Towada-Hachimantai had been terrible (rain, fog, winds) so we were please to see it was finally sunny at Haguro. We began our trip by visiting the Yamabushi/Mountain Monk-Pilgrimage Museum across the street; it was OK but they didn't allow pictures. Most of the exhibit felt like it was focused on the strict vegetarian diet you were supposed to do while hiking this pilgrimage. We started up Mt. Haguro at around 3:45. It was probably 85 degrees and well over 75% humidity - so hot and sweltering, even in the shade of the magnificent trees. From the trailhead, you are mostly on shallow stone steps. At first, the stairs go down to a series of small shrines, a riverside spring shrine, and then the famous 5-story pagoda. Many people seem to stop there. Unfortunately, the pagoda was shrouded in construction tarping and scaffold when we were there this July. From the pagoda, you climb very steeply on the stairs for a long tier. The grade is worse than, say, a US national park trail with switchbacks. But the stairs are wide (probably 10 feet) so there is plenty of room for resting to the side. When we were there, there were probably less than 20 people climbing/descending above the pagoda. At the top of the first big climb, there is a place to eat/buy drinks. Given the intense heat, I knew I was going to run out of water (I was carrying a liter and most was gone) so I paid for bottled water. After a short rest, we climbed the second equally steep tier, did some rolling trail sections, and then climbed into the summit shrine area. Because it was now after 5 (it took me about 75 min up with the breaks), virtually all the buses/visitors were gone (you can drive to the summit, or take a bus). The summit is not open/with views; it is a low forested summit with a number of large buildings or smaller temples. As with the pagoda, several buildings were shrouded with construction. We asked to use the only restroom we could find just before they were about to lock up the museum/restaurant. We spent about 30 minutes on the summit and then descended. It was about an hour down. With all the water consumption, I - of course - had to pee like crazy. Thankfully, there was a hilarious Japanese outhouse by the pagoda. It should also be noted that we encountered the famous and dangerous Japanese giant hornet (the one that flew in front of me was almost 2 inches long) along this and other Dewa Sanzan peaks; stings can be deadly (supposedly even if you aren't allergic). We were back at the car around 6:30 - and off to our hotel in Tsuroaka (from which we staged the rest of the climbs - reviewed under Gassan and Yudono-Shrine).

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Sarah B
Tacoma, WA70 contributions
A Hot/Humid Climb in July - Despite the Shade
Jul 2019
My sister and I aimed to split the Dewa Sanzan (Haguro, Gassan, and Yudono) across three days. Haguro was said to take about 2 hours to climb up/down and so we did this hike at the end of our travel day from Semboku/Kuroyu in the north. We arrived at the bus area/trailhead for Haguro around 3; shockingly, parking was free (we used a rental car for our extended trip all around Tohoku). Our weather the week before in Towada-Hachimantai had been terrible (rain, fog, winds) so we were please to see it was finally sunny at Haguro. We began our trip by visiting the Yamabushi/Mountain Monk-Pilgrimage Museum across the street; it was OK but they didn't allow pictures. Most of the exhibit felt like it was focused on the strict vegetarian diet you were supposed to do while hiking this pilgrimage. We started up Mt. Haguro at around 3:45. It was probably 85 degrees and well over 75% humidity - so hot and sweltering, even in the shade of the magnificent trees. From the trailhead, you are mostly on shallow stone steps. At first, the stairs go down to a series of small shrines, a riverside spring shrine, and then the famous 5-story pagoda. Many people seem to stop there. Unfortunately, the pagoda was shrouded in construction tarping and scaffold when we were there this July. From the pagoda, you climb very steeply on the stairs for a long tier. The grade is worse than, say, a US national park trail with switchbacks. But the stairs are wide (probably 10 feet) so there is plenty of room for resting to the side. When we were there, there were probably less than 20 people climbing/descending above the pagoda. At the top of the first big climb, there is a place to eat/buy drinks. Given the intense heat, I knew I was going to run out of water (I was carrying a liter and most was gone) so I paid for bottled water. After a short rest, we climbed the second equally steep tier, did some rolling trail sections, and then climbed into the summit shrine area. Because it was now after 5 (it took me about 75 min up with the breaks), virtually all the buses/visitors were gone (you can drive to the summit, or take a bus). The summit is not open/with views; it is a low forested summit with a number of large buildings or smaller temples. As with the pagoda, several buildings were shrouded with construction. We asked to use the only restroom we could find just before they were about to lock up the museum/restaurant. We spent about 30 minutes on the summit and then descended. It was about an hour down. With all the water consumption, I - of course - had to pee like crazy. Thankfully, there was a hilarious Japanese outhouse by the pagoda. It should also be noted that we encountered the famous and dangerous Japanese giant hornet (the one that flew in front of me was almost 2 inches long) along this and other Dewa Sanzan peaks; stings can be deadly (supposedly even if you aren't allergic). We were back at the car around 6:30 - and off to our hotel in Tsuroaka (from which we staged the rest of the climbs - reviewed under Gassan and Yudono-Shrine).
Written August 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

thelonious22
Seongnam4,290 contributions
Great hike
Jul 2019 • Couples
Haguro-san, which symbolizes birth, was the easiest to access as buses take visitors right up to the summit before few buses move on to Gas-san. We took the first bus that departed at 6am and got off at the base of Huguro-san and began our hike around 7am. It took a little over an hour for us to get to the top but the hike was very pleasant up the 2500 or so stone steps. Almost the entire way up was shaded so it would have been a comfortable bike even in the middle of the day. There were numerous shrines and the impressive five-story pagoda along the way keeping the hike interesting. At the summit was a complex consisting of more shrines and there was a group of students practicing martial arts which was cool to see.
Written July 27, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

The Hidden Japan
3 contributions
A Venture into the Nature of Yamagata
Jun 2019
Mt, Haguro is one of the top travel destinations of Yamagata Prefecture and an absolute must for anyone visiting this region of Japan.

With towering cedar forests, ancient temples, and a wonderful stone path that snakes up the mountain, this mountain is an extremely beautiful nature experience that will put your mind at ease and provide you with a full day of adventure.

Plan to take your time and look into the bus schedules in advance as this hike is located quite a bit aways from the nearest train station.

There are also Yamabushi pilgrim lodges where you can stay such as Miyatabo.
Written June 5, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Martin H
Hong Kong, China418 contributions
Take Your Time
May 2019 • Friends
The walk up the 2,446 steps of the Ishi-Dan through the cedar trees up to the Sanjin-Gosaiden shrine at the top is beautiful and relaxing if you pace yourself. I went in May so it was relatively cool with low humidity but I'm sure this will be a more difficult walk in higher humidity and temperatures.

The Five-Story Pagoda is wonderfully constructed and sits beautifully in a clearing.

If you stay at the complex at the top overnight, get up early to attend morning prayers in the Sanjin Gosaiden. Its only 20 minutes but well worth getting up for.
Written May 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

TNT
Otawara, Japan34 contributions
Golden week 2019
Apr 2019 • Couples
Have to be fit to hike this 2 km steps up to the temple surrounded by beautiful cedar trees. There is little hut offering drink in halfway up. It's free.
Written April 29, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

yaotomehachiko
Phnom Penh, Cambodia121 contributions
Spiritually refreshing experience
Apr 2018 • Friends
I have traveled to Mt. Haguro in the middle of July. I was looking forward to getting away from busy Tokyo life, so stepping trough the gates into the tranquil forest immediately made me feel at ease.
Path to the summit consisting of 2,446 stone steps and paving it's way through raw nature seemed like a challenge at first, especially for a person with no climbing experience. However, the beauty of nature, as well as numerous tiny shrines scattered around kept the journey interesting.
The highlight of Mt. Haguro is Gojūnotō five story pagoda, which during the time of my visit had a special inside part of it open for travelers to look at. Maybe because of that, there were quite a lot of visitors waiting to get in. Usually only the ground floor is available for viewing. People working there were extremely nice and few of them even spoke some English.
A word of advice is to take the weather forecast during your visit into consideration. If you plan to travel to Mt. Haguro in summer make sure to take enough liquids to stay hydrated, as well as bug repellent as the nature is very much wild there.
All in all, my trip to Mt. Haguro exceeded my expectations and I greatly recommend it to anyone who wants to get away from the worries of modern life in beautifully spiritual environment,
Written July 23, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Janis857
Lima274 contributions
Climb up 2,500 Uneven Steps Between GIANT old trees
Jun 2018 • Family
Beautiful and important mountain temple surrounded by old giant trees. For anyone over 50, this is a tough climb on uneven steps, with no handrail. Good to bring a walking stick, or you can get one at the little cafe half-way up.Nice to pause for a drink or light snack at the halfway spot while enjoying the view of rice fields far below, and (if there is no smog from China on that day) see the Sea of Japan further away. If you dont want to climb, there is also a bus to and from the top, but the impact of this place really comes from doing the long hard climb upward amongst tall trees planted centuries ago. There was a class of school kids, calling out encouragement to each other as they followed their teachers up the steps - even the kids were sweating and pausing for breath. The temples at the top of the mountain were nice, and there is a monument to world peace as well. Bus runs every hour or so from the large parking lot back down the hill if you prefer not to walk back down or if its getting dark- last bus is at 5! Some pilgrims come to climb all three sacred peaks of which Mt Haguro is one. For us this was a quick afternoon stop en route to Sado Island - but well worth the stop! At the little halfway point, they pass out certificates of achievement for making the climb (providing encouragement to make it up the rest of the way!).
Written June 22, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

JMAbcn
Barcelona, Spain166 contributions
amazing environment
May 2018 • Couples
early in the morning to avoid crowds we took the bus at Tsuruoka and stopped at Zuishimon, the start of this wonderful place

it's a paved path of 2,446 steps that take you to the top of Mt. Haguro, where there are some temples, a giant bell and a bus stop that takes you back if you want

but the beauty is the path itself, surrounded by huge trees, very calm and with strange noises coming from insects, frogs or maybe kodamas, who knows

it's not too demanding but be sure to wear proper shoes at it can be slippery; going down is also nice but you must watch your step!

we saw plenty of kids and elderly people, so no problem at all, just take your time tp reach the top and enjoy

a must, definitely!
Written May 12, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Krystal B
41 contributions
Well worth the effort
Apr 2018 • Couples
We did this walk in April when it was outside the busy period so it was lovely and peaceful with hardly any other people. It's a beautiful walk lined with huge cedar trees. The stone path apparently took 13 years to build and it's quite beautiful. We found the walk a little difficult but we are quite unfit. You can also get the bus to the top but you'd miss the beautiful trees and the 5-story pagoda, which is cool to see. The bus from Tsuruoka station and back is really expensive for how short the journey is (¥820 to the bottom of the walk and ¥1180 to the top temple, but it's the only option if you don't have a car. There were lots of cherry blossoms around that hadn't bloomed yet so I imagine it's stunning when they are in full bloom.
Written April 18, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

mowien
vienna83 contributions
Great mountain temple lodging experience
Nov 2017 • Solo
The walk up and down this mountain is well worth the effort but if you have time, a stay at the temple lodging up the top is the icing on the cake. Its likely you will have to ask a friendly japanese speaking person to reserve a room for you (the tsuruoka tourist info were unbelievably helpful) but its worth the effort as the lodging is as traditional as it gets, the vegetarian evening and breakfast meal are fantastic and the hot bath was very welcome after the walk. Little english spoken, though this is not really a problem if you have expressive hands but really a peaceful night.
Written February 16, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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