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Dewa Sanzan: The Trifecta

I just posted my Mt. Yudono article completing the trifecta of the three Dewa Sanzan peaks. I even did them in the proper order too, starting with Mt. Haguro in May last year, then Mt. Gassan in August, and now Mt. Yudono in February. I can now say I am reborn (well, once the video is also up on my YouTube channel I guess).

I have written and translated numerous articles about these three peaks over the years, but for these I wanted to give them a personalised touch. I did this by focusing on a climb that I did, and each time it was an epic adventure. Every single time I go there it is amazing. Now I just need to do a better job of sharing this with the world!

Mt. Haguro we climbed from the hidden side, the Haguro Kodo that begins in Shonai Town right where I used to work. I would have passed the entrance at least 20 or so times without knowing that a path to the Dewa Sanzan lay there.

Mt. Gassan I did the Juso, 縦走, the traverse, climbing guided by a yamabushi from the eighth station to the summit where we stayed, and back down to Mt. Yudono. You could count this as going to Mt. Yudono, I did, but now I have an even better story to tell about the last peak on the Dewa Sanzan journey of rebirth.

Mt. Yudono we got to visit in the middle of winter. Traditionally the mountain is closed at this time of year, there’s normally just too much snow to contend with. But I was invited by Shida-san of Gassan Tsutaya Ryokan, a fellow yamabushi who I knew had extensive experience on the mountains. What better chance to visit Mt. Yudono!

The Mt. Gassan article is an almost 30 minute read, and I just found out the Mt. Yudono one is almost 20 minutes. I’m working on adding to the Haguro article, and it’s already nearly a 30 minute read. Over the past few years I’ve been writing a Dewa Sanzan guidebook. It might be time to put that together in a more concrete way methinks!

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi


Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.

I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.

On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.

Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.



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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


All photos my own. Contact for more. 

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