Why I love the mountains of Yamagata
I was asked what exactly it was I loved about the mountains of Yamagata. When I first started the project, I thought the mountains would all be like the 100 Famous Mountain of Japan, Gassan, essentially an alpine environment. I’ve since found that the majority are more like the much smaller but perhaps more culturally significant Haguro.
And that’s a good thing.
I feel like an adventurer discovering new territory, and I sort of am one. A lot of the information in Japanese on the Yamagatayama website is quite sparse, and I make a point of going the extra mile and doing my own research. The things I have discovered are quite remarkable, if I may say so myself.
Who would have thought that there would be a mountain on the outskirts of Sakata that had been revered since the 700s, with evidence to prove so (Kyogakura-yama). Or that a mountain I would have passed at least 100 times was actually a castle in the past (Yamuki-yama)? Or what about a mountain with a legendary white snake in its secret pond, complete with phantom falls (Yozo-san).
Either way, this project has been much more than I ever expected. It’s proving to be really fun, and some of the mountains I have coming up are equally exciting too. Stay tuned for more.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
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