Magic Mountains

Explaining the Shugendo religion would be a job for a book, not a blog post. But let’s just say it’s a colourful mix of Buddhism, Japan’s ancient Shinto religion, and even more ancient native animism.

Shugendo’s adherents are known as Yamabushi – men (and a few women) who undertake arduous ascetic training in the mountains. Favourite Yamabushi activities include hiking for miles on end, standing under waterfalls and walking on hot coals.

These photos are from a press-tour to Dewa-Sanzan in Yamagata, famous for its three Shugendo mountains. As you can see there was some great weather and I got lots of photos of our Yamabushi guide on two of the mountains: Haguro-san  and Gassan.

Unfortunately, photography wasn’t allowed at the third, Yudono-san. That was truly an incredible place, mysterious in the mist and rain. But you’ll have to visit yourself to see it!

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4 Responses to “Magic Mountains”

  1. Ted O'Neill says:

    Beautiful images from part of Japan few people see. The tenth image with the subject surrounded by green leaves, moving to the edge of the fram, and looking out to the right at the unseen especially caught my attention. Thank you for these.

  2. tony says:

    Thanks for the kind words Ted. It was my first visit to this part of Japan. A wonderful and magical place.

  3. Paddy says:

    These are great Tony. Amazing colour, did you do much processing or are they straight out of the camera?

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