Dewa Sanzan: Who will save the sacred mountains?

Dewa Sanzan: Who will save the sacred mountains?

The yamabushi priests of the Dewa Sanzan mountains in Northern Japan have been practicing their religion: Shugendo, for more than 1400 years. These ancient beliefs are a fusion of Shintoism, Buddhism, and primeval Japanese mountain worship. It is believed that the practitioners of Shugendo endure long rituals in the mountains to gain divine powers to protect the people in the plains from disease, hunger, and poverty. The Dewa Sanzan was once a thriving pilgrimage site, welcoming many new yamabushi each year and worshiped throughout all of Northern Japan. But as the demographic crisis continues in Japan, and younger generations continues to lose interest in these ancient rites; the yamabushi of the Dewa Sanzan struggle to renew their ranks, and the region's culture threatens to disappear. Venture to the Dewa Sanzan and hear the stories of the local people to learn the keys to preserving this ancient culture.

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Dewa Sanzan: Who will save the sacred mountains?
  • Dewa Sanzan: Who will save the sacred mountains?

    The yamabushi priests of the Dewa Sanzan mountains in Northern Japan have been practicing their religion: Shugendo, for more than 1400 years. These ancient beliefs are a fusion of Shintoism, Buddhism, and primeval Japanese mountain worship. It is believed that the practitioners of Shugendo endure...