Fodor's Expert Review Yudono-san
One of a trio of Dewa peaks, 5,000-foot Yudono-san is generally the last on pilgrims' rounds. You can descend on foot in a few hours from Gas-san, but it involves interpreting signs in Japanese, a bit of exertion, and slippery metal ladders, and you'll want to check with the tourist information folks about current conditions and the bus schedule. Seasonal buses make the 80-minute (¥2,000) run between Tsuruoka and Sen-nin-Zawa, a trailhead for a short climb to the summit, where you make a small monetary donation and be purified in a secret ritual that you are forbidden to photograph or tell anyone about. Once cleansed, don't miss the last bus back down to Tsuruoka, which leaves at 5:20 pm. The Shonai Kotsu buses have an erratic holiday schedule to Yudono-san, so make sure to check the schedule in advance as the bus is the only way back apart from hiking.