I climbed Mount Haguro on the third of June. Through the effort of my friend, Zushi Sakichi, I was granted an audience with the high priest Egaku, then presiding over this whole mountain temple acting as bishop. He received me kindly and gave me a comfortable lodging in one of the annexes in the South Valley.
On the following day, I sat with the priest in the main hall to compose some linked verse. I wrote:
Is this South Valley,
Where the gentle wind breathes
The faint aroma of snow.
I visited the Gongen shrine on the fifth. The founder of this shrine is the priest called Nojo, but no one knows exactly when he lived. Court Ceremonies and rites during the Years of Engi, however, mentions that there is a sacred shrine on Mount Sato in the province of Dewa. The scribe must have written Sato where he should have written Kuro in the province of Dewa. According to a local history book, the name of the province itself is derived from the fact that quantities of feathers were sent to the Emperor each year as a tribute from this province. Be that as it may, this shrine on Mount Haguro is counted among the three most sacred shrines of the north, together with the shrines on Mount Gassan and Mount Yudono, and is a sister shrine of the temple on Mount Toei in Edo. Here the doctrine of Absolute Meditation preached in the Tendai sect shines forth like the clear beams of the moon, and the Laws of Spiritual Freedom and Enlightenment illuminate as lamps in utter darkness. There are hundreds of houses where the priests practice religious rites with absolute severity. Indeed the whole mountain is filled with miraculous inspiration and sacred awe. Its glory will never perish as long as man continues to live on the earth.