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Tohoku | Yamagata | Dewa Sanzan

Gas-San

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Gas-San

Gas-San (月山) also known as Mt. Gassan, is the tallest mountain in the Dewa Sanzan. The Gassan Shrine situated 1984 meters above sea level. Due to its high elevation it is closed for a majority of the year. It is also one of the few places where skiing is available from April to mid-summer. The Gassan shrine was founded by Prince Hachiko after he established Mt. Haguro. It is said that Tsukiyomi no Mikoto the deity of the mountain is enshrined inside the Gassan Jinja Hongu. Tsukiyomi no Mikoto is said to have a relation to Amida Buddha, Buddha of the Afterlife. Mt. Gassan is the second stop of the Dewa Sanzan pilgrimage and represents death or the afterlife in Buddhism Pure Land. The reason could be that the ascent up the mountain is shrouded in fog until you reach a point above the clouds. The mountain vegetation decorates the path to the shrine making it a pleasant scenic route. Before you can enter the shrine the priests will remove the impurities from you by stroking a small paper white doll, which serves as a scapegoat known as yorishiro. Afterwards it is placed in a wooden box filled with water when the priest finishes chanting a prayer.