Haguro San and Eboshi

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.. .. .. .. .. Haguro San 羽黒山 . 羽黒出羽三山 Three mountains of Dewa

The Mountain of the Black Wings


Daruma san was here !
This is a Daruma Doll with a Tengu face from Haguro Mountain.

We will explore a little more about the black wings, the crow and the tengu in this story.

The Three Mountains of Dewa used to be part of a famous pilgrimage, representing LIFE (Haguro), DEATH (Gassan) and NEW BIRTH (at Yudono).

Here is an interesting quote to give you a first impression about the three mountains of Dewa.

The Dewa Sanzan; 'Three sacred mountains of Dewa',

bring visitors from all over Japan, to hike through the mountains, ski, admire the beautiful scenery, pray at the shrines and practice Shugendo, an ancient religion whose followers, called Yamabushi, practice asceticism at certain times of the year. In autumn, a week long pilgrimage around the three mountains takes place. In this, the Yamabushi do not wash, they are deprived of food and sleep, and perform purification rituals including long hikes, immersion in a cold waterfall and the nanban-ibushi (smoking out the barbarians) which involves spending time in a room filled with the smoke of burning peppers and other irritants!

The three sacred mountains of Dewa are
Mount Haguro, Mount Gassan and Mount Yudono.

Mount Haguro
is the smallest of the three mountains at just 414 metres, but is now the most visited. It is the most easily accessible and is certainly worth the 40 minute bus ride from Tsuruoka. The climb begins at the main torii entrance gate from where one descends the first flights of stone steps. From three one crosses a bridge and passes a waterfall on the path to the beautiful five storied pagoda. This serene wooden structure was built some 600 years ago and stands among 1000 year old cedar trees. From the pagoda the climb begins in earnest, up the 2,446 stone steps to the Gosaiden shrine and History museum at the summit. Due to the tall trees Haguro does not command the views of the other two mountains but the peaceful surroundings and attractive buildings provide an equally impressive serenity. The shukubo pilgrims lodges in the Toge district at the foot of the mountain offer a welcoming place to stay for all visitors and serve the meatless, fishless shojin food eaten by the Yamabushi.


Mount Gassan which separates inland Yamagata from the coastal Shonai region, is the largest of the three mountains with a peak of 1984 metres. The mountain is in the centre of Yamagata prefecture and dominates the scenery from many regions, with its long white slopes and imposing size. Gassan receives huge amounts of snow, often up to 8 metres which means the Gassan ski slope is still in use until July. Unfortunately due to the winter snowfalls, the ski-slopes are not accessible until mid-April and there are also hiking courses for late summer. As Gassan is the largest mountain for miles around the views are breathtaking.

A little further towards the sea is Mount Yudono. This is usually the last of the three mountains visited by pilgrims as Haguro is said to represent birth, Gassan death and Yudono rebirth. The shrine at Mount Yudono is still religiously revered to the extent that photography is not permitted and all visitors must remove their footwear. The 'god' of the shrine is a large rock, coloured red by a mineral-rich hot spring. The walk up to the shrine also offers some beautiful scenery.
.. www.yamagatakanko.com/


.......... Now let us look at Haguro in more detail.
The thatched roof of the unique hall is most famous.

Japanese links with many pictures
From Basho-An, with explanations of the travels of Basho in the area.

The name “Haguro” means “black wing” and the mountain got its name from a legend which recalls the story of an Imperial prince named Hachiko who ran away after the death of his Father. In a vision, he was guided to the peak of Haguro-san by a three-legged crow. He lived atop the mountain until aged 90 and was the first of the mountain’s famed “Yamabushi,” mountain priests. Nowadays, Haguro-san is the site of religious pilgrimage although some still choose the life of austerity. This once consisted of living in a cave, eating a diet of wild nuts and garlic and meditating under icy cold waterfalls. Yamabushi are distinctive with their checked jackets, white knickerbockers and small Jimmy Cooper style hats. Occasionally a haunting cry rings out around the hills. This is the conch shell horn used by the Yamabushi to call the spirits of the mountain…

.............................More Links with Pictures
http://www.ne.jp/asahi/ohta/shonai/photo/haguro/haguro07.htm .. .. (The Roof)

Prince Hachiko



eboshi えぼし, 烏帽子 formal headgear
tokin 頭巾. 頭襟
cap of a Yamabushi Mountain Ascetic

. eboshi えぼし, 烏帽子 official headgear .


It is a small cap carried on the front of the cranium, which symbolically recalls the lotus on the top of the head of Fudo and which makes it possible for the yamabushi to protect the head when they pass under roots or trees. It can also be used of cup for drinking or to offer water to the Buddhas in mountain, where material is always missed. Its particular form is filled of symbols that all shugenjas must know. There exists a small black tokin, made out of plastic now, or enamelled very hard and very light paper more comfortable and practical in mountain.
It symbolizes the lotus which is on the top of the head of the Fudo Buddha.

When in town or during the ceremonies, the yamabushi can wear another cap:
Eboshi (cap of the wing of the crow) the black cap of En-No-Gyoja, which has several folds like a Swatiska and a small protuberance to return the plait coiled on the top of the head.
They can also carry the cap of brocade with broad sides to the shoulders (Nagai-tokin, long Tokin) not very practical in mountain, it is the usual cap of the Masters of the esotericism in particular and the whole of Mahayana in general.

- source : www.shugendo.fr/en

CLICK for more tokin photos.

. Tengu wearing a TOKIN .


................ Links about Tengu 羽黒山金光坊

In English, Mark Schumacher has an informative page.
In this detail of a woodblock print by Yoshitoshi, the martial arts master Tsukahara Bokuden receives divine instruction in the art of fencing from a mysterious yamabushi (mountain priest) tengu named Enkai of Haguro Mountain.
. Tengu -   .

And about
. Deities at Dewa Sanzan 出羽三山 .


. Mizu Tengu 水天狗 "Water Tengu" .

The most famous of them is Enkooboo 円光坊 Enko-Bo from Haguro San, one of the three mountains of Dewa.
He protected the people of the region who were involved in the transport of goods on the river 最上川 Mogamigawa.
七千日護摩行者長教 illustration shows him with a mouth like a bird or a Kappa.

source : ikkaisai on twitter
Scroll of Sankooboo 三光坊 Sanko-Bo and 水天狗 円光坊 Mizu Tengu Enko-Bo

. 羽黒山金光坊 - Konkobo, Mount Hagurosan - Yamagata .
One of the 四十八天狗 48 Tengu of Japan
(Maybe Konko-Bo and Sanko-Bo are two names for the same Tengu. Anyway, there have been quite a lot of minor Tengu on this mountain.)
羽黒山の三天狗 - The Three Tengu of Hagurosan:
Konko-Bo, Sanko-Bo and Enko-Bo.


Shugendo (Shugendoo 修験道)
Mountain Ascetics and their Practise

Detailed explanation and good photos.
Safekeep copy:

Living Mummies in Japan (by Gabi Greve)
About the special ascetic practise of Haguro to mumify your living body.
... Sokushinbutsu ...


.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. The Haiku Connection

Dewa sanzan matsuri 出羽三山祭 (でわさんざんまつり)
Dewa Festival
Haguro matsuri 羽黒花祭(はぐろはなまつり) Haguro festival
15th day of the 7th lunar month.
kigo for late summer
To pray for a good harvest.

. . . . .

Yudono moode 湯殿詣 (ゆどのもうで) visit to Yudono
yudono gyoo 湯殿行(ゆどのぎょう)
austerity practise at Yudono
..... yudono gori 湯殿垢離(ゆどのごり)water ablutions at Yudono
kigo for all summer


shoorei sai 松例祭 (しょうれいさい) pine torch festival
toshiya matsuri 歳夜祭(としやまつり)
hyaku taimatsu no jinji 百松明の神事
(ひゃくたいまつのしんじ) ritual of 100 pine torches
kigo for mid-winter

on the last day of the old year, leading into the new year.
The last day of the 100 day-long winter austerities of the yamabushi.

It was held in former times to ward off the epidemy of tsutsugamushi, scrub typhus, along the coast of Northern Japan, about 1300 years ago.
The epidemy demons were driven out with large pine torches.

The shōreisai takes place from December 31 to January 1 at Idewa Mitsuyama Jinja (Idewa Jinja) in Haguro Town, Higashitagawa County, Yamagata Prefecture.
It is also known as the toshiya matsuri. Idewa Mitsuyama Jinja is a composite of Gassan, Hagurosan, and Yudonosan Shrines, which all share a gōsaiden (composite shrine) on Haguro (-san is a suffix meaning "mountain," and all three shrines are located near the peaks of mountains in the region).

Originally, the mountain ascetics (shugenja, see shugendō) played a central role in the transmission of the shōreisai. Today, however, the shinshoku (priests) and the ujiko (parishioners) have taken this role. The ritual focuses on the severe purification rituals (saikai) undertaken by the two matsuhijiri (roughly, "pine saints," a type of shugenja), Ijō and Sendo. At the end of the purification period, December 30, a large torch is built in the taimatsu koya (torch shed) in the public space in front of the main shrine.

It is said that in the past, the shape of the torch was derived from harvest mites that aggravated the local populace. On the afternoon of December 31, the actual day of the festival, there is a ritual known as the tsunamaki gyōji (The Rope Shredding Ceremony). The rope of the torch is cut and pulled apart, and the participants scramble for pieces to take home. It is said that hanging the rope fibers from the eaves of a house prevents fires and ensures its prosperity.

In the evening, the festival continues at the gōsaiden (composite shrine). At eleven o'clock p.m. in the honden, in front of a person dressed as a sacred rabbit, the two people (genja, shugenja) representing Ijō and Sendo (the two matsuhijiri) have a contest of mystical abilities. At a signal from a conch shell horn, in the courtyard (kōtei) two groups of naked young people representing the two matsuhijiri pull the torch with a large rope and throw it into a designated pit in the snow.

This is called the tsutsugamushi okuri (Funeral of the Harvest Mite) ritual. At this point, the swiftness of the two matsuhijiri and the way in which the torch burns are used to determine the winner and loser, and to divine the yield for both land and sea.

Furthermore, around midnight, another ceremony known as the kuniwake shinji ("land dividing ritual") takes place. It is a ritual survey dividing the various areas such as Haguro, Kumano, and Hikosan. This is followed with a ritual at one in the morning to change the impure flames that burned the torch in the hinouchikae no shinji (The Flame Changing Ritual). For this ritual, two people made up with rouge and white face powder (kōfun) called matsu'uchi ("firestarters") carry flint and circle the kagami taimatsu (a large torch or bonfire) three times, and then transfer the flame to gunpowder in a chafing dish.

Finally, with the announcement of the victor in the matsuhijiri's contest at the honden, the complex conglomeration of rituals that is the shōreisai comes to an end.
source : Mogi Sakae, 2006, Kokugakuin

pine torch festival -
the pine saints jump high
into the New Year

Gabi Greve


kigo with EBOSHI 烏帽子, about things that look like one
formal headwear for court nobles, Entenmuschel-Mütze

. eboshiou, eboshi uo えぼし魚(えぼしうお)"eboshi fish"  
kigo for all summer

. . . . .

. katsuo no eboshi 鰹の烏帽子 (かつおのえぼし)
electric jellyfish
Portuguese man-of-war
Physalia physalis utriculus
kigo for early autumn

. . . . .

. eboshigai 烏帽子貝(えぼしがい)pen-shell clam  
"eboshi clam"
Pinna pectinata, tairagai 平貝
kigo for all winter


eboshi saru 烏帽子猿

Monkey, the messenger of the deity Sanno Gongen 山王権現
. Monkey amulets .

waga kuni wa saru mo eboshi o kaburi keri

in my province
even trained monkeys
wear noble hats

Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶
Tr. David Lanoue

. . . . .

. Eboshi and the kickball game


About Crows, Raven and Haiku (by Gabi Greve)
The worldwide Mythology of the Raven

............... Matsuo Basho at Mt. Haguro


Oku no Hosomichi ... 2007. Gabi Greve

with more haiku from Matsuo Basho

source : tumiegama - Basho and Pottery

suzushisa ya hono mikazuki no Haguroyama

the coolness -
faintly the crescent moon
above Mount Haguro

Tr. Makoto Ueda

. My Photos from the Dewa Mountains .

sono tama ya Haguro ni kaesu nori no tsuki

his soul (like a jewel)
has returned to Mount Haguro -
moon of the Buddhist Law

Tr. Gabi Greve

Written in 1689 元禄2年6月4日.
Written for priest Betto Tenyuu Hoo-in 天佑法院.
Tenyuu was the 50st priest of the Haguro San complex.
He died in exile at Izu Island in 1674.

The word "tama" is often used for the soul or spirit of a dead person.

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

Temple Gyokusenji  玉川寺 Gyokusen-Ji
Designated a national scenic site in 1987.
Gyokusenji Temple Garden was first created in the Muromachi Period (1450s) and later improved in the Edo Period (1640s) by Tenyu Betto, said to be the forefather of Mt. Haguro’s revival. The pond-centered garden is said to be western in style, and the aged rock arrangements represent the stillness and harshness similar to that experienced by a priest of the Zen sect undergoing apprenticeship. The garden instills those who gaze upon it with a mysterious peace of mind. In 1987, it was designated a national scenic site for its importance in understanding transitions in the culture of gardens in the Tohoku region, and in recognition of its outstanding gardenscape that makes creative use of the placement of rocks on the islet, among standing stones, and in the middle of the pond.

Gyokusenji Temple is enveloped in flowers throughout the four seasons and has come to be called the temple of flowers. The temple grounds are blooming with cherry blossoms in spring, azaleas, Japanese primrose, and iris in early summer, and Japanese clover and Japanese anemone in fall.
source : www.cradle-ds.jp/e-dewa


. Gassan tamausagi 月山玉兎
The Treasure Rabbit from Mount Gassan .

. eboshi えぼし, 烏帽子 official headgear .




Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

katararenu / Yudono ni nurasu / tamoto kana

Matsuo Basho

Gabi Greve said...

Fudo Myo-O Pilgrims in Tohoku

Kootakuji 荒沢寺 Kotaku-Ji

Nr. 06 羽黒山 Hagurosan 正善院 Shozen-In - 荒沢不動尊 Arasawa Fudo
Kootakuji 荒沢寺 Kotaku-Ji, Kotakuji


Gabi Greve said...

Yoka, Day Eight, is the Sacred Day of 湯殿山 Mount Yudono.
Kobo Daishi opened the Sacred Place of Yudono in the Year 807, on the 8th day of the fourth lunar month 大同二年四月八日.

There are also prayer groupd on Day Eight, 八日講, in Yamagata, Fukushima and Nagano, related to the rituals of Yudono.
Yooka sama. Yōka 八日様 Yoka Sama, the Honorable Day Eight

Gabi Greve said...

the martial arts master Tsukahara Bokuden receives divine instruction in the art of fencing from a mysterious yamabushi (mountain priest) tengu named Enkai of Haguro Mountain.
print by 月岡芳年 Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Miyagi
A family prayed for a child to get rid of the possession of お稲荷さん an Inari fox. She was possessed by a deity of 出羽三山 Dewa sansan, who had come in the form of a Rokubu.
It was the ancestor in the fourth generation of a priest from this Sacred Mountain.
7 legends to explore

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Tokyo
Temple Zojo-Ji
In the dormitory there was a small sancturay for a fox. The priests came here to have rituals and make offerings there on special days. Once after the offerings, a priest came to the dormitory door the next morning where he saw an ols man wearkng an eboshi 烏帽子 ritual cap asking for a favor. He had lived in the sanctuary for a long time, but now a new sanctuary for 弁天 Benten was putting shadow on his place and he wanted it to be relocated.
When the priest reported this to the head of the dormitory. The head found out that the priest making the offerings had in fact thought of Benten to grant him a wish. Anyway, they relocated the sanctuary and the man wearing the ritual cap came back to express his gratitude.

Gabi Greve said...

eboshi烏帽子 と伝説 Legends about ritual caps


Gabi Greve said...

Rokujurigoe Kaido 六十里越街道 Rokujurigoe Highway Pilgrim Road
A pilgrim road for mountain priests, leading to 湯殿山 Yudonoyama, Yudono san.
Yudonomichi ゆどのみち Yudono Michi
- Stations along the Rokujurigoe Kaido
Tsuruoka 鶴岡 Niigata 新潟県
Matsune 松根
Juo Toge Pass 十王峠
Oami 大網
Tamugimata 田麦俣
Yudonoyama 湯殿山
Oguki Toge Pass 大岫峠
Shizu 志津
Hondoji Temple 本道寺
Sagae 寒河江

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Fukushima いわき市 Iwaki city
At 八幡神社 the Hachiman Shrine at 草野 Kusano and at 諏訪神社 the Suwa Shrine at 絹谷 Kinuya there are ema 絵馬 votive tablets from Dewa Sanzan 出羽三山 the three mountains of Dewa. They depict a priest standing unter a waterfall. In front of the waterfall is a mirror and sometimes people can see the Deity in this mirror.
- At the Suwa Shrine in 絹谷 Kinuya is also an Ema with a serpent. The Serpent is the protector of kaiko 蚕 silk worms, because it eats the rats