Zen Experience at Yamadera Hidden Path

Follow in the footsteps of the early Zen monks of Yamadera Hidden Path. Take part in zazen meditation and sutra calligraphy.

3.5 hours


  • Take a Yamadera mountain walk through Hidden Path with a local guide
  • Experience firsthand the calming and meditative practices of meditation and experience sutra calligraphy
  • Nourish your body and soul like a local with a delicious soba lunch


Translated literally, the name Yamadera means “mountain temple”, which is a fitting name for this renowned temple complex among the mountains of Yamagata. Embark upon a journey through wooded paths that have been trekked upon by local monks for over a thousand years and that are known to inspire profound feelings of reflection and tranquility; afterward, enjoy a lunch of locally made soba noodles known to nourish both the body and the soul of the eager pilgrim. Whether you are joining a session of zazen meditation or trying your hand at sutra calligraphy, spirituality and inner peace are within your grasp at Yamadera.


Experience duration: 10.30 am - 02.00 pm

The starting location for the tour is located at the Fumotoya Main Shop located near Yamadera Temple; this is where you will meet your local guide and interpreter for the day. After a brief introduction, you will set off on your trek around the Yamadera Temple complex. Yamadera Temple is known as a power spot for not only the Yamabushi mountain monks but also among the local population, so having a local guide to show you the hidden, and often overlooked, areas of the complex is the perfect way to experience this sacred location. 

After visiting various sites in the complex, including an area known to be a favorite meditation spot for the Yamabushi, you will make your way inside the temple complex to participate in the ritual of sutra calligraphy. As your experience at Yamadera Temple comes to a close, you will return to your starting location to have a delicious soba lunch before saying your goodbyes.

When the tour is concluded, your interpreter would be happy to call you a taxi to bring you to your next location. JR Yamadera Station is located within walking distance (10 minutes) of the Fumotoya Main Shop, with local trains running about once every hour between Yamagata Station and Sendai Station.

Important information

Included in price

  • Lunch at a local soba restaurant
  • Entrance fee to the temple grounds
  • Private Japanese to English interpreter and local guide
  • Zazen meditation session and sutra calligraphy (shakyo) experience

Not included

  • Transportation to/from starting location and ending location
  • Entrance fee to the Yamadera main temple grounds

Prices of this experience

44,000 JPY (per person, for 1 people)
24,000 JPY (per person, for 2 people)
18,000 JPY (per person, for 3 people)
14,000 JPY (per person, for 4 or more people)

Know Before You Book

  • Cancellation: If the guest cancels their tour after the booking process is completed, the following cancellation fees will apply. In cases of multiple guests traveling together, if 1 guest cancels their trip, the applicable cancellation fee will apply for the remaining participants.
    Between 30 and 21 days before the date of travel = 30%
    Between 20 and 8 days before the date of travel = 60%
    Between 7 and 2 days before the date of travel = 75%
    Less than 48 hours before the date of travel= 100%
    No show or cancellation after trip start date= 100%
  • This tour is generally bookable up to 2 weeks prior to its date.
  • This tour is recommended for persons with a moderate fitness level, and no severe mobility impairment.

What you need to bring

  • We recommend bringing shoes suited for trekking/hiking
  • Water
  • Rain gear
  • Face mask (please see our current guidelines regarding COVID-19)

Starting point

Fumotoya Tozanguchi Ten, 4429 Yamadera, Yamagata, 999-3301, Japan

View Directions

Organised by wondertrunk & co.

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