Coast to Coast Pilgrimage: Walk, Savour, Connect (Footsteps of Matsuo Basho)

Walk in nature, savour local flavours and connect with the people and culture of Japan’s deep north.


Embark on a journey of ‘rebirth’ in Japan’s deep north!

Travelling from the Pacific coast to the Japan Sea, you’ll traverse through untouched nature along ancient pilgrimage routes including the Three Holy Mountains of Dewa and Matsu Basho’s Oku-no-hosomichi (Narrow Road to the Deep North).

Each day you’ll be guided by unforgettable local faces – farmers, chefs, fishermen, Yamabushi mountain priests and more – who will inspire you with their stories and culture of living together with both blessings and ferocities of nature. Walk in nature, savour local flavours and connect with the people and culture of Tohoku.


What’s Included

• 5 nights accommodation
• 5 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners
• Yamabushi guided trekking and ascetic training program
• All transport and transfers as listed in itinerary
• Some snacks and refreshments
• Travel insurance
• English speaking guides / interpretation

Not included

• Airfares and transport to/from start and end points.
• Personal expenses
• Alcoholic beverages with meals (unless stated otherwise).




Day 1 – Depart from Sendai City, hiking in Matsushima Bay

After meeting your guides and group at Sendai Station, you’ll depart for the Pacific Coast of Miyagi Prefecture. 

Explore off-the-beaten-path trails in Matsushima Bay featuring hidden views that have remained changed for centuries.

Discover for yourself the natural beauty that left even haiku poet Matsuo Basho at a loss for words! 

In the evening, head to Ichinoseki City and spend the night eating and drinking like one of the locals in some of the tucked-away bars and restaurants. 

Accommodation: Business hotel style accommodation in front of JR Ichinoseki Station


Following in the footsteps of Basho, travel north to the ancient capital of Hiraizumi.

Experience the spirituality of Japan as you hike through World Heritage territory featuring temples, onsen (hot springs), and traditional crafts.


Driving inland across the mountains of Miyagi Prefecture you’ll arrive at Naruko Onsen. Discover the Japanese concept of ‘toji’ – rejuvenating your weary body with relaxation in hot springs and hearty meals of local food after a busy day of activity! 

Accommodation: Traditional hot spring ryokan, Naruko Onsen


Start your day with a morning hike along the Natagirikogen Mountain Pass – again, the same path followed by Matsu Basho whilst composing his great compilation ‘Narrow Road to the Deep North’. 

Enjoy a coffee break at a unique cafe which supports sustainable forestry and promotion of local wood craft – Kokeshi Doll making! 

Again, rejuvenate your tired body with another dip in the hot springs and delicious local meal. 


Travel from Miyagi to neighbouring Yamagata and enter the spiritual realm of the Dewa Sanzan – the Three Holy Mountains of Dewa. For over a thousand years, pilgrims from across Japan have travelled to these holy mountains to train their bodies, minds, and souls deep in the pristine nature of Yamagata. The pilgrimage traverses through the world of the present in the towering cedar forests of Mt. Haguro, death and the afterlife on the high peaks of Mt. Gassan, and rebirth at Mt. Yudono, the most holy site of the Three Sacred Mountains of Dewa.
A journey to all three of these mountains is known as the ‘Journey of Rebirth’.

Starting with an introduction to the history and story of the area at Ideha Cultural Centre, take a guided hike to the five-story pagoda (a national treasure) and up the 2446 stone steps to the peak of Mt. Haguro / Dewa Sanzan Shrine guided by an authentic Yamabushi (mountain priest). After the hike, check-in to your lodging for the evening, ‘Miyatabo’ – authentic Shinto pilgrim lodging – and dine on traditional ‘Shojin Ryori’ cuisine.


Accommodation: Miyatabo Pilgrim Lodging


Wake-up early for a private Shinto prayer ceremony and breakfast of Shojin Ryori to prepare your mind, body and spirit for the pilgrimage ahead.

Day four will arguably be the most physically challenging of the itinerary as your group tackles Mt. Gassan. Once again, you’ll be joined by a Yamabushi priest to not only guide the way, but to instruct you in the ascetic elements of the pilgrimage, including a visit to Gassan Shrine at the peak of the mountain. (Packed lunch included)

After a strenuous hike, leave the Dewa Sanzan and head towards the Japan Sea coast to watch a breathtaking sunset from the hot spring baths of Yunohama Onsen. Indulge in a delicious ‘kaiseki’ course meal of fresh seafood and toast to the final night of your journey with local sake and wine!

Accommodation: Traditional hot spring ryokan (Yunohama Onsen)



The last day of your journey will see you complete the pilgrimage and your journey of rebirth on Mt. Yudono – the third and final mountain of the Dewasanzan. Here, it is forbidden to speak of exactly what occurs during the blessing ceremony at Yudono shrine, but you will require an open-mind and a small towel…!

The last stop of your journey is Yamadera – another stunning mountain temple that inspired Basho’s works. Here you’ll leave the tourist crowds behind and attack the mountain from a different, slightly more adventurous angle, involving a bit of boulder clambering very much worth the stunning views of Yamadera (literally Mountain Temple). 

Your journey will end back at JR Sendai Station in the early evening.



JR Sendai Station
Six days, five nights
04-08 pax
Sign-up Deadline
By request
Cancellation Policy
• Cancelled more than 21 days prior to departure: Zero fees.
• Cancelled between 20 and 8 days prior to departure: 20% of the Tour
• Cancelled between 7 days and 48 hours prior to departure: 30% of the
Tour Price.
• Cancelled between 48 and 24 hours prior to departure :40% of the Tour
• Cancelled within 24 hours of departure: 50% of the Tour Price.
• Cancelled on the day of departure: 100% of the Tour Price.
• *No refunds will be given after the tour has commenced.*
If the minimum number of participants is not met the event will be cancelled.


Basic Plan

Price 460000

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Are you looking for a ‘deeper’ kind of travel?

At Tohoku ‘Local Secret’ Tours we can also suggest custom-made itineraries to meet your travel needs!
You want to experience what’s unique to Tohoku. You want to visit the places where the locals go; the places not listed in guidebooks! You want to meet and interact with local people. You want to take your time exploring Tohoku so you need a guide, or perhaps an English-speaking driver...
...whatever you need for your Tohoku travel, we have it covered!
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