Tsuruoka and Dewa-Sanzan

South of Akita along the Nihon-kai coast are small fishing villages where nets hang to dry only inches from train windows, vast plains of rice fields lead to faraway hills, rushing rivers and clear streams are full of fish, and, closer to Atsumi Onsen, you will be confronted with lofty forested mountains coming down to the endless crashing waves. Along the way is the town of Tsuruoka, once a castle stronghold of the Sakai family, which serves as a gateway to Yamagata City and the three mountains of Dewa Sanzan that are held sacred by members of the nature-loving Shugendo sect of "mountain warrior" Buddhists

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