Should You Visit Dewa Sanzan?

Are you thinking about visiting Dewa Sanzan, Japan? Here's what you need to know before planning your trip.


Is Dewa Sanzan worth visiting?

Dewa Sanzan is worth visiting for two to three days so that you can explore everything that the religious site has to offer. Dewa Sanzan is a traditional and sacred religious site that includes three mountains which each have a shrine. The three mountains - Haguro-san, Gas-san, and Yudono-san - continue to be places of worship and visitors should be respectful of the setting. Visitors who want to experience something outside of mainstream Japan will appreciate the unique experience of visiting and staying at a traditional Shukubo Pilgrim Lodge.

Dewa Sanzan, Japan Dewa Sanzan, Japan

Reasons to Visit Dewa Sanzan

Hiking
Experienced hikers can climb Mt. Gassan and Mt. Yudono in one day and do Mt. Haguro separately. For Mt. Gassan, you'll want to take the bus to the 8th station and climb from there.

Museums
This is a sacred religious site that is at the heart of the Shugendo folk religion. The religion combines Buddhist and Shinto traditions and there are several temples in the area including the most sacred sights at Yudono-san, Haguro-san, and Gas-san, as well as the Churenji and Dainichibo Temples.

Authenticity
Dewa Sanzan has an authentic vibe where you can experience local culture, cuisine, and activities without the large tourist crowds of other popular destinations.




Is Dewa Sanzan worth visiting in the Summer?

The weather in Dewa Sanzan is fairly warm during summer, and stays around 23°C (74°F). But it can get as warm as 28°C (82°F) at times, too. It's also quite rainy during this season, so be prepared.

The peak season for travel is summer in Dewa Sanzan, so expect to see more tourists than usual. Even though this destination is not very touristy, in the high season it's busier than usual because this is when most visitors come here. All three shrines are open between July and mid September, making this the best time to visit.

The nearby hiking this time of year is a must-do, so take some time to get out on the trails, take in some fresh air, and enjoy the scenery. This is a great time of year to discover the nearby hiking trails and browse the museums.


Summer Weather in Dewa Sanzan
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
July 23°C (74°F) 191 mm (7.5 in)
August 25°C (77°F) 174 mm (6.8 in)
September 20°C (68°F) 154 mm (6.1 in)

Is Dewa Sanzan worth visiting in the Autumn?

Autumn is the shoulder season for travel in Dewa Sanzan. This destination is not very touristy, and in the shoulder season it can become fairly quiet.

Keep in mind that it can be fairly rainy during autumn, and temperatures hover around 13°C (56°F).

You'll find plenty to do during autumn, as you'll be able to spend time at the museums and get out into nature.


Autumn Weather in Dewa Sanzan
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
October 13°C (56°F) 152 mm (6 in)
November 7°C (44°F) 207 mm (8.1 in)
December 2°C (35°F) 231 mm (9.1 in)

Is Dewa Sanzan worth visiting in the Winter?

This is the low season for travel in Dewa Sanzan. This destination is not very touristy, so in the low season it can become fairly quiet. Because the region is so remote and snowfall can be heavy during the winter months, it is best not to visit during this time.

The weather in Dewa Sanzan can be quite cold during winter, and averages around -1°C (30°F). But be prepared for much lower temperatures, too.

During this season it's fun to experience the museums and landmarks.


Winter Weather in Dewa Sanzan
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
January -1°C (30°F) 206 mm (8.1 in)
February -1°C (30°F) 151 mm (6 in)
March 2°C (35°F) 116 mm (4.6 in)

Is Dewa Sanzan worth visiting in the Spring?

The weather in Dewa Sanzan can be quite cold during spring, and averages around 9°C (47°F). But be prepared for much lower temperatures, too.

Spring is the shoulder season for travel in Dewa Sanzan, which means slightly less visitors than in the peak season. This destination is not very touristy, and in the shoulder season it can become fairly quiet.

This is a great time of year to wander through the museums.


Spring Weather in Dewa Sanzan
Avg Temp
(°C/°F)
Avg Rain
(mm/inches)
April 9°C (47°F) 100 mm (3.9 in)
May 15°C (59°F) 96 mm (3.8 in)
June 20°C (67°F) 120 mm (4.7 in)

Things to Consider Before Visiting Dewa Sanzan

Nightlife
Most people don't associate Dewa Sanzan with a lively nightlife scene. This is a religious site that is remote and focused on mountain worship and devotion. Nightlife is non-existent in the area.

Shopping
Dewa Sanzan isn't exactly a shopper's destination. This is a sacred sight that is devoted to worship and a simple life. As such, shopping in not available in the area with the exception of a couple of convenience stores.

Food: Dewa Sanzan doesn't top the list for most foodies. In your guesthouse you'll be given "Shojin cuisine", which is the traditional cuisine that has been handed down through the generations. It is strictly vegetarian and is heavily influenced by whatever vegetable is currently in season in the area. Traditionally, the cuisine focused on sustenance and not taste, but for the purposes of hospitality, the dishes are more flavorful than is typical in the traditional cuisine.

Getting Around
The area is not very walkable, and public transit is not great here, so it might be difficult to get around without arranging your own transportation.

The Cost
Depending on your budget, schedule, and travel style, Dewa Sanzan might be an expensive destination for you. You can find out the travel costs for Dewa Sanzan here or see if Dewa Sanzan is expensive here.

Related

What is Dewa Sanzan most famous for?

Dewa Sanzan is most famous for its traditional religion, three sacred mountains, and the Shukubo Pilgrim Lodges. People visit this impressive religious site for its great hiking. It's also known for museums. It is often described as religious, sacred, remote, and traditional.

What is the most famous sight in Dewa Sanzan?

The most popular sight in Dewa Sanzan is Haguro-san. You can see prices and costs for this and other sights in Dewa Sanzan on our travel costs page.

Or, see tickets, activities, and tours for Haguro-san and other attractions here.

How touristy is Dewa Sanzan? Is it a popular religious site to visit?

Dewa Sanzan is an off-the-beaten-path religious site that many travelers overlook. Here are some of the most popular activities and tours. (Prices in US Dollars)

  • Tsuruoka & Dewa-Sanzan Full-Day Private Tour with Government-Licensed Guide: $230

How long should I spend in Dewa Sanzan?

The ideal length of time for a trip to Dewa Sanzan is two to three days. Since Dewa Sanzan has activities such as hiking, many visit for up to three days.

If you have a specific amount of time for your trip, see our advice about how much time to spend here: Should I spend 1, 2, or 3 days in Dewa Sanzan? and Should I spend 3, 4, or 5 days in Dewa Sanzan?.