Explore, Relax and Rejuvenate in the Mountains of Tsuruoka

Year in and year out, millions of travel enthusiasts and adventure seekers come to visit Japan in order to go sightseeing, be fascinated by the country’s awe inspiring sceneries and to experience its unique culture. Majority of these foreign travellers often flock to the most popular cities and tourist destinations in the Land of the Rising Sun such as Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, among others. Unknown to many, there are still a lot of must-see places in Japan that are definitely worth exploring.


Photo credit to: https://travel.gaijinpot.com

Among the least-visited cities in the country is Tsuruoka which is located in the northeastern area of Yamagata Prefecture. It is home to one of the most transcendental mountains in Japan, the Dewa Senzan which is otherwise referred to as the “Three Mountains of Dewa” that expands throughout the coastal areas surrounding the Sea of Japan. According to some esteemed Japanese monks, the three towering sacred mountains of Tsuruoka known as Mount Haguro, Mount Yudono and Mount Gassan are symbloic of the present, past, and future.


At the heart of these mountains lies one of the oldest pagodas in Japan. The Goju-to pagoda consisting of five stories is a wooden architectural structure which was constructed in the region of Tohoku in the 1930’s. Tourists who are into hiking may just follow the Dewa Senzan’s mountain trail to see the breathtaking view of the Goju-to pagoda enclosed by beautiful cedar trees and shrine.


In view of the city’s distinctive geography and rich vegetation, not everyone knows that Tsuruoka was actually regarded as UNESCO’s Creative City of Gastronomy in the year 2014. Aside from Tsuruoka’s picturesque and captivating view, there are also a lot of interesting activities that both local and foreign tourists can enjoy. They may want to try out the so-called mountain ascetic training that consists of meditation under the waterfalls and eating healthy traditional Japanese vegetables. Another tiring yet exciting activity within the area is hiking through the stairs of Mount Haguro which is compose of 2,500 steps.


Reference: Tsuruoka: Mummies, jellyfish and mountain monks


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