The hermits of Dewa Sanzan introduce foreigners to yamabushido

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The privileged relationship between man and nature.

The privileged relationship between man and nature.

The teachings of this program yamabushido are given by master Hoshino, 13th generation of yamabushi

The teachings of this program yamabushido are given by master Hoshino, 13th generation of yamabushi

Preparation for the hike in the sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan

Preparation for the hike in the sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan

Hermits of Yamabushi

Hermits of Yamabushi

The program includes a hike in the sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan

The program includes a hike in the sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan

Spiritual journey

In the sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan, Yamagata prefecture, the Yamabushi hermits now welcome tourists in search of spirituality.

Internships for foreign travelers

The region of the sacred mountains Dewa Sanzan is one of the areas of shugendo, a thousand-year-old spiritual tradition in Japan. A mixture of Shintoism and Buddhism, it highlights the relationship between man and nature. Its followers, the shugenja, are also called yamabushi, the hermits of the mountain. Yamabushido is the practice of this spiritual tradition.

This summer, Megurun Inc. and Daishobo, a hostel for pilgrims in Dewa Sanzan, are launching a yamabushi training program: yamabushido. Internships of three to five days and will be taught by Master Hoshino, a yamabushi for 70 years, from the 13th generation of hermits.

What is yamabushi?

Yamabushi is part of the shugendo, a Japanese Millennium tradition. It focuses on the primordial relationship between man and nature. Shugendo literally means "the path of formation and testing". Shugendo emerged in the eighth century, when followers of esoteric Buddhism integrated it with rituals and concepts of spiritual tradition taken from Tibetan ascetic beliefs and practices specific to Aboriginal people.

Read: Mount Haguro

Yamabushi are isolated practitioners of shugendo. Over time they have gathered around the three Dewa Sanzan mountains, Hiko, Ishizuchi, Haku, Tate, Fuji, Nikko, Omine and Daisen. Long before the arrival of the shugendo, the inhabitants of the villages at the foot of the mountains believed in the divine nature of the mountains. Thus, only yamabushi could enter into these sacred spaces.

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The yamabushi training focuses on an ascetic philosophy where participants place themselves in nature and "stop thinking" in order to refocus on themselves.

The program

This introductory program has been set up for foreign travelers and is based on an already existing program for the Japanese. Yamabushi is one of the oldest esoteric traditions in Japan and is not suitable for all.

You can choose between two programs:

  • Basic training (3 days): 150,000 yen ($1,360)

13 sessions are available each year from June to October.

  • Advanced training (5 days): 300,000 yen ($2,730)

2 sessions per year only, in July and September.

See : The sanctuary Sanjin Gosaiden

Planned activities include Dewa Sanzan Holy Mountains, Zazen Meditation, Mantra Recitation, Prayers for Peace and Well-being, Cascade Meditation, Night Walking, Jumping Over Fire, visit of sacred sites usually closed to the public, and a stay in a shelter for the pilgrims following the way of the shugendo .

For more information: visit the official yamabushido website.

Video by Yamabushido (2017)

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