Saturday, 11 March 2017

Postcards for the Weekend: Mount Haguro Pagoda

March 11, 2017

The theme for today's Blog Linky Party is from a country you have visited or a favourite place in your country that you have visited.  That's quite a mouthful, so I am choosing Japan and specifically, a place in my own city.

Tsuruoka is known as the gateway to the Dewa-Sanzen, three sacred mountains.  The Three Sacred Mountains are Mt. Haguro, Mt. Gassan and Mt. Yudono.  Mount Haguro is within Tsururoka city  and is a very special place.

There is a pagoda on the Mountain that was built hundreds of years ago out of wood, without using nails.  It has burned down on occasion or been otherwise damaged, but has always been rebuilt.  To visit the pagoda, you must climb down many stone steps and walk through gorgeous woods.  Walking through the woods is magical.  The area is special and peaceful and incredibly beautiful.

The man with the shell is a Yamabushi, or mountain priest.  I sometimes see them
walking through my city!

This is the Gojū-tō, or five storied pagoda on Mt. Haguro.  

A night view.

This is the best view of the pagoda that I could find in postcards.  It doesn't do it justice.

Japan Post office also released a Gotochi Card of the pagoda. Since I have seen the original, I wasn't terribly impressed, but since it a "local" card, I like it!

For people in great physical condition, or pilgrims, the next step is to walk up the 2000 odd steps to the top of the mountain to the shrine.  I have never done that.  What I do instead is climb back up the steps to the road and have my husband drive us to the top of the mountain!

The shrine at the top is also quite beautiful, but I'll save that for another day!

Thank you for joining me on my too brief look at the Mt. Haguro Pagoda.  Please visit the other members of the Blog Linky Party to see what they are showing off today.


Maria said...

I'm very curious and keen to try that climb down many stone steps and walk through gorgeous woods Helen! I think it will be very peaceful with great sounds from nature in the background. Thanks so much for sharing about this pagoda and the couple of options to reach it. I would very much love to go back to Japan to experience places like this that you shared for this weekend.

Eva A. said...

I have enjoyed your post. It seems a very special place, indeed.
Now I am thinking that I could have posted postcards from the city I living in, but the fact is that...I have ver got any!

Helen said...

Maria, this area is gorgeous. There really is a special atmosphere around the pagoda.

Eva, I'm glad that you liked it. I don't go very often, but I always enjoy it when I do.

Thanks for your comments, both of you :-)

John's Island said...

Hi Helen, I enjoyed all your cards from Japan. Maria also shared Japan and it is a place that is near the top of the list of places I need to see before it’s all over. :-) One of the things I really admire about Japanese people is the way they appreciate and care for nature. For example, your first card shows the mountain priest on the stone stairway. What a wonderful scene and much dedicated effort must have been put into building the walkway through the very old trees. I would love to see this magical place one of these days. Another excellent post for Postcards for the Weekend! Postscript: Thank you for your reply to my comment last week! I loved to hear that you did training at the Hotel MacDonald. I would go back there again in a second if I had the chance. Thanks for bringing back that memory.

Helen said...

Thanks John! I'm glad you liked my entry! The three sacred mountains are all very special. Haguro and the way to the pagoda are looked after quite well, I am glad to say.

Everyone goes to Kyoto or Tokyo on their first visits, but they are sooo touristy...I like to think of Tohoku as the real, old Japan! Perhaps not as convenient to get around, but well worth the extra work. I hope you are able to visit someday.

DawnTreader said...

It looks like a magical place indeed to visit (I get kind of a "serene" feeling just looking at these cards). I suspect my bad knee would not appreciate all those steps, though... I don't think I'm likely to ever go to Japan, but if I did, I think I would prefer to see some smaller places rather than Tokyo.

Helen said...

I think the area around the pagoda is magical! If you have ever watched My Neighbour Totoro, the Miyazaki film, it has that sort of otherworldly kind of feeling about the forest. It is so beautiful down there. If you know the right people, apparently, there is a way to the pagoda without all the steps, at least there is according to my husband!

Tokyo is great, but my city is small and friendly. In the big cities, people are somewhat jaded by tourists, but in this area, foreigners are still a bit of a rare thing, so they are so pleased to have foreign tourists visit. Tsuruoka is also designated as a City of Gastronomy by UNESCO, so the food is pretty much amazing!

Japan is a difficult country for people with mobility problems, but it is getting better. There are now more elevators and ramps than there were when I got here, but it can be difficult if you don't know where to find them. (I'm curious how the upcoming Olympics will help things like that out.)

Thank you for commenting. I hope you do manage to come to Japan some day. I know people all over the country so could hopefully scope out places that you could enjoy.

violet s said...

I actually kind of like the Gotochi card! But the night view is beautiful - it would be a magical sight seeing the pagoda all lit up in a darkened forest.

Helen said...

Violet, thank you for commenting! Admittedly, this isn't my favourite Gotochi card, but I do like it.

In summer, they do light up the pagoda and I have heard that it is lovely. We tried to go last year, but my hubby got the day wrong. We were wandering around in the dark wondering why we couldn't see anything for 20 minutes!!

We might try to visit again this year if they light it up...Fingers crossed we get it right this time!