Friday, 25 September 2009

Yamagata: Ga-san

We were up bright and early and after a quick dip in the onsen were on our way to Ga-san via Yamagata city.  Ga-san 月山 (which when you read it looks like Tsuki-yama or moon mountain) is one of 3 mountains, holy to Shinto, that make up Dewa Sanzan. (The three mountains of Dewa, Dewa being an old name for the region.) Had we been pilgrims we would have walked from mountain top to mountain top, fortunately we weren't.
Befitting tourists that come by motorbike, we planned to catch the ropeway part of the way up Ga-san and walk up from there, but we got there to find the ropeway under repair. The Pollyanna in me was glad they opted to repair it rather than risk a disaster on a busy tourist day.  It actually turned out to be a stroke of fortune as it was a beautiful climb with autumn leaves beginning to turn.
In addition to being a pilgrim destination, Ga-san is famed for skiing - apparently it is possible to ski here in early July.... which presumably means the pilgrimage season is very short.

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