The cultural informational magazine which visits the charm of Shonai.
出羽三山 Dewa Sanzan, the three Mountains of Dewa,
Today, Mt. Gassan (1,984m), Mt. Haguro (414m), and Mt. Yudono (1,504m) are collectively called “sanzan (three mountains).” These mountains compose the major portion of the Dewa Hills that divided the old Dewa Province into east and west.
Until around the Keicho Era (1596–1615), Mt. Haguro, Mt. Gassan, and Mt. Hayama (Murayama region) were referred to as “sanzan,” while Mt. Yudono was regarded as the most sacred shrine because it stands nestled behind the others.
◆◆The Founding of Dewa Sanzan◆◆
It is said that Prince Hachiko, the son of Emperor Shushun (the 32nd emperor), established Dewa Sanzan in 593. Amid a struggle for power, Prince Shotoku warned Prince Hachiko to flee the palace out of fear that he would be murdered by Soga no Umako like his father, Emperor Shushun. The prince, who was able to secretly escape the royal court because of that warning and aid, wandered to various places when finally in 593 he met 8 young women dancing the kagura (sacred music and dance) on the beach at Yura in Dewa Province. Encouraged by those women and led by a 3-legged sacred crow, he reached a place on Haguro called Akoya, thick with growth. He opened Mt. Haguro and later Mt. Gassan and Mt. Yudono, establishing Dewa Sanzan. It is said that Mt. Haguro was named after the large crow that guided Prince Hachiko.
◆◆Dewa Sanzan Gongen Deities◆◆
Gassan Shrine: Amitabha (Buddha of the afterlife)
Tsukuyomi-no-mikoto (younger brother of Amaterasu Okami; god of farming)
Dewa Shrine: Sho Kanzeon Bosatsu (goddess of mercy)
Ideha-no-kami (guardian deity of one’s birthplace), Uganomitama-no-mikoto (god of harvests)
Yudonosan Shrine: Dainichi Buddha (Buddha that promises reincarnation)
Ohoyamatsumi-no-mikoto (god of the mountains)
Ohonamuchi-no-mikoto (god of national foundation)
Sukunahikona-no-mikoto (god of medicine)
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