Our trip to Mount Haguro did not go exactly as we had planned it. We were suppose to get off the bus at the stop named "Haguro Center" which is at the base of Haguro. Unfortunately, "center" turns into "semtah" when transliterated into Japanese, so we probably missed the announcement on the bus. We instead ended up at Gassan Center... which is near the top of Haguro. A kindly tourist bus took us to the top, free of charge, so we began our journey going down the steps rather than up. Hence, the pictures are backwards. I could simply reverse the order and claim we climbed up the mountain, but that wouldn't be very honest.
This is a shrine at the top of Haguro. Some of these shrines are centuries old.
This is one of the dragon/lion/things in front of the large Buddhist temple at the top of Haguro. There was a service of some sort occurring when we arrived here.
This is the spot where climbers of Haguro's steps can grab a drink of fresh mountain water. There is a lot of drinkable natural water from the mountains in this region.
This is Kim about to begin her journey down Haguro's 2400 stone steps.
These steps down the mountain were laid down in the Edo period--maybe 400 years ago. There are some pictographs carved into the steps. Supposedly if you find all of them, a wish will come true.
Midway through the trip we got a good view out across Tsuruoka and the Shonai region.
This is the famous five-story pagoda near the base of Haguro. It was first constructed almost 1000 years ago, but this incarnation of the pagoda is only a few centuries old (it has burned down a few times).
This is Peter at a point closer to the pagoda. It's pretty small at the base, and it doesn't look like anyone could really move around in it.
Here is a nice little red bridge over the river that runs down Haguro.
This is a view of the mountain river towards its source higher up.
On the other side of the river in one direction is a pair of small shrines. There is a little stone bridge leading to them.
And a waterfall behind them.
Finally, this is the entrance to the Haguro stairway... this is where our journey should have begun.