Shugendo - the spiritual path of the yamabushi ("one who bows down on the mountain") - is a 1500 year old Japanese religious tradition distilling the profound wisdom teachings of Asia. Combining esoteric Buddhist practice, Shinto awareness of the sacredness of nature, Daoist teachings, and outdoor asceticism such as mountain pilgrimage, Shugendo is an intensely embodied path of awakening. 


Traditionally a lay rather than monastic tradition, Shugendo is open to all sincere persons regardless of background or profession. We invite you to join us.



The International Shugendo Association (ISA) - a not-for-profit organization incorporated in the United States - is the overseas outreach of the Mt. Koshikidake tradition of Shugendo centered on Kannon-ji temple in Yamagata prefecture, Japan. Our Headmaster is the current heir of that tradition, Shokai Koshikidake. Koryu Shugen Honshu, a recognized religious denomination in Japan, was founded by him to  promulgate the teachings of Shugendo in the modern era.

Persons interested in Shugendo, from any country or religious background (including other Shugendo traditions), are welcome to apply to join ISA or participate in our public events. You may contact us  (or one of our recognized practice centers) to begin learning.

For a detailed history of our Shugendo tradition see this article.



Mountain Training, a central focus of Shugendo for centuries and perhaps its best-known practice, is conducted annually at Mt. Koshikidake in Japan. Other Shugendo gyoba - training fields - have been established at natural areas in Japan and North America.


During these outdoor trainings conducted throughout the year, mountains, valleys, and forests become places of meditation and mirrors revealing our intrinsic wisdom and compassion. Through ritual and ascetic practices like takigyo - meditation under waterfalls - the Shugendo practitioner can shed old patterns and awaken to a new life.

Shugendo is truly a way to be reborn through nature.



Shugendo practitioners learn many meditation and ritual practices integrating the "three mysteries" of body, speech, and mind - mudra, mantra, and visualization. These are studied in a graduated curriculum that begins with recitation of basic sutras and mantras and then progressively introduces the student to more complex practices. Perhaps the most famous practice is the Shugen goma, the fire ceremony, a form of deity yoga centered on various Buddhist figures such as Fudo Myo-o.

Anyone can study these things if they have sufficient time and diligence. Ordination is required to learn beyond a basic level, but Shugendo is historically a tradition centered outside monasteries. This means that you need not be a full-time monastic or professional clergy to learn mikkyo (vajrayana) and other hidden practices. The most important thing is your own dedication and effort. If you are committed and willing to work hard over time, there is a path open to you.



Community is central to Shugendo in two ways.


First, we practice together. People from many walks of life can meet "on the mountain" - within the circle of our training -  where they support one another. In our way of thinking, none succeeds unless all succeed. 


Second, we practice not only for ourselves but for all beings: though we enter places of solitude to test ourselves, we return again to society to apply our practice for the benefit of all. This is the Shugendo way.

Shugendo is based upon respect and friendship. When you enter this path, you join a spiritual family.



Shokai Koshikidake was born in 1958 to a family whose members had been Shugendo priests at Mt. Koshikidake for centuries. Inheriting these traditions, along with a historically significant family archive of Shugendo knowledge that had elsewhere disappeared, he has devoted his life to sharing Shugendo teachings.

In 2005, after training extensively as a Tendai priest and in the Shugendo of Mt. Haguro's Kotaku-ji Shozen-in, he founded Koryu Shugen Honshu: an independent religious organization with the mission of preserving and reviving the Shugendo of the Mt. Koshikidake tradition. To this end, he has uniquely also welcomed non-Japanese students.


International Shugendo Association was founded at Koshikidake Soke's urging, in order to make these teachings more widely known outside Japan. Our mission is to plant Shugendo across the world, in ways matching the needs of different people and cultures.



ISA members may begin learning Shugendo practices under the guidance of our Headmaster and his students. They are also eligible to attend events throughout the year in the USA and Europe, and Mountain Training in Japan. Membership is additionally the gateway to many resources - including translated texts - that Soke has prepared for his students' use.

Members submit an entrance fee upon joining, and thereafter a small monthly donation that supports our events and our headquarters in Japan. When you join you will receive our daily recitation book and access to online resources for learning that and other important ritual practices. Some other things you will eventually need - such as juzu (prayer beads) - can be obtained through us on this site.

To apply, read the information on this page, and fill out the online application. You will also be able to submit your entrance fee there securely using PayPal.

Attention to new members who have already been accepted: 

if you have already submitted your application and been notified of acceptance by ISA, here is the page where you may set up your monthly donation and learn what comes next. 



For more information on ISA membership, you may contact the practice center below that is nearest to you.


Koryu Shugen Honshu/Kannon-ji - Our headquarters temple

 Higashine City, Yamagata Prefecture 

Please contact through


Shugendo Studies Oceania, Brisbane

Please contact Jisho Schroer through


Tenmyoji Temple, Toronto

Please contact Eikai Ip via this Facebook page


Enkyoji Hokke Shugen Dojo, Seattle

Please contact Kanjin Cederman via this Facebook page

Korinji Shugen Dojo, Wisconsin

Please contact Meido Moore through



Please join our email list to be updated about events!

MAY 30

Intro to Shugendo: Meditation in Nature, in Wisconsin USA

Join us for an introduction to the Shugendo way of spiritual practice in nature. We will meet at Devil's Lake, Wisconsin at 8am for an approximately 2-hour hike, including forest meditation and takigyo: waterfall training.
We will then have a picnic lunch together.

Please visit for details and to register

JUNE 19-21

Summer Shugendo Mountain Training in Wisconsin USA

A three-day training in natural areas near Korinji (about 50 miles from Madison, Wisconsin,

including hiking, takigyo (waterfall training), and practice of various ritual and meditation methods.

Please visit for details and to register


AUGUST 22-23

Overnight Shugendo Training in Wisconsin, USA
This training is especially suited to beginners, and to prepare for Koshikidake Soke's instruction in the Senko Goma practice. We will mainly practice the Daily Recitation, and accumulate some of the 1000 prostrations and 1000 Heart Sutra recitations that are foundational for future study. Training will be conducted outdoors.

For event info and to RSVP, see the Korinji Shugen Dojo Facebook page here.


Shugendo Mountain Training in Faido, Switzerland.

A three-day training in natural areas including hiking, takigyo (waterfall training),

and practice of various ritual and meditation methods.
For full event info and to receive updates, please contact Myoen Ciucci:



Shugendo Mountain Training near Seattle WA

A three-day training organized by Enkyoji Shugen Dojo. Includes suigyo (water purification practice),

Shugendo ritual,  mountain training, and other activities.  

For information please see this Facebook event page




SEPTEMBER 3-5, 2021

Shugendo Empowerments and Teachings in Wisconsin

Led by Shokai Koshikidake Soke, Headmaster of the Mt. Koshikidake Tradition of Shugendo

Special Guest: Kakudo Mitsunaga Dai-Ajari, Tendai Buddhist master and famous "marathon monk"

Join us for this historic first visit of Mitsunaga Ajari to the USA. Kanjo (empowerments) and instruction in Shugendo practice will be given; goma (fire ceremony) will be conducted by Mitsunaga Ajari, and other activities also offered

Full info here

OCTOBER 15-17, 2021

Mountain Training at Mt. Koshikidake

Higashine City, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan

Led by Shokai Koshikidake Soke; special Guest: Kakudo Mitsunaga Dai-Ajari

Beginners are welcome for their first mountain entry

Please also join this Facebook group for updates



Provided as a service to ISA members: proceeds benefit our non-profit org.


The Koryu Shugen Honshu Sutra Recitation Service, used for daily practice, contains Shugendo morning and evening services including important texts, mantra, and mudra. These daily recitations are the foundation of our training and crucial preparation for further ritual study. English translations are included. An appendix includes scores for the traditional calls played on the horagai, the conch shell trumpet that is an important ritual item and symbol of Shugendo.


135 pages, spiral bound. For ISA members only Note: this book is INCLUDED with your first year ISA member dues. Please apply for membership.

PRICE: $65.00 includes postage from Japan.


Traditional juzu of the Tendai style, as used in our practice. The beads are made from ume (Japanese plum) wood, a hard and durable material that will last a lifetime. Juzu are used to count mantra recitations and are one of the indispensable ritual tools for practitioners. 

These juzu are the chuhira (medium) size, which is ideal for carrying during outdoor training.

PRICE: $90.00 includes postage from Japan.


The wagesa is a kind of stole worn by practitioners during daily recitation and other practice. It expresses connection with our Shugendo lineage and community.

This wagesa for laypersons is made from beautiful dark brown silk, embroidered with the symbols of Koryu Shugen Honshu and the Mt. Koshikidake tradition of Shugendo.


For ISA members only. Please apply for membership.

PRICE: $85.00 includes postage from Japan.


An ofuda is a special protective talisman. This one carries the energy of the Buddhist deity Fudo Myo-o, and will be empowered by Koshikidake Soke during a ritual conducted by him. It is handwritten by Soke and personalized for the one requesting it (the one shown in the photo is an example).

Ofuda may be placed on one's personal altar or in any place of honor in a room.

PRICE: $110 includes postage from Japan.



These are large (15.5" x 21") kirigami, "cut paper," of original designs by our Shugendo Headmaster, Shokai Koshikidake. We have five each of 2 designs that have been drawn, hand-cut, numbered, signed, and empowered by him:

This kirigami depicts the Buddhist deity Marishiten, who was much revered by the samurai (this is also the guardian deity of Korinji in Wisconsin). Marishiten is the god (or goddess) of the dawn, here shown in a fierce aspect astride a wild boar and wielding various weapons. In the Marishiten Bosatsu Darani Kyo it is said that she is invisible and fast as light, and can not be hindered, traced, or obstructed by enemies. Those who chant the Marishiten mantra also gain these benefits.

Donations for these kirigami support our hosting of Koshikidake Soke and his master Kakudo Mitsunaga Dai-Ajari (the most famous living Mt. Hiei "marathon monk") at Korinji in Wisconsin in 2021!

PRICE: $285 includes postage.



These are large (15.5" x 21") kirigami, "cut paper," of original designs by our Shugendo Headmaster, Shokai Koshikidake. We have five each of 2 designs that have been drawn, hand-cut, numbered, signed, and empowered by him:

This kirigami depicts the fierce eye of the Buddhist deity Kishimonjin, who is venerated as a protector in Nichiren Buddhism (also the guardian deity of Enkyoji Hokke Shugen Dojo in Seattle). Kishimojin (Sanskrit: Hariti) appears in the Lotus Sutra, and in Japanese Buddhism is an aspect of the Bodhisattva of compassion. She especially protects children.

Donations for these kirigami support our hosting of Koshikidake Soke and his master Kakudo Mitsunaga Dai-Ajari (the most famous living Mt. Hiei "marathon monk") at Korinji in Wisconsin in 2021!

PRICE: $285 includes postage.



We have only a few of the special talismans against illness that Koshikidake Soke has made and empowered in response to the current pandemic. The inscriptions come from the archive of ancient Shugendo ritual practices that were preserved by his family. He explains:

"There is my family old document which collected many talismans, I found out one of them is very effective to expel any epidemic diseases. A secret incantation is engraved on the front side, and a secret Japanese poetry sutra is on the back side. That Japanese poetry said that ‘I will become wind and blow any disease away by the power of Kamikaze [divine winds] from Ise’."

These come with cords for wearing around the neck, but also with smaller cords for attaching to a mobile phone, keychain, bag, etc.

PRICE: $70 includes postage.


This protective talisman shows the honzon, main image of veneration, at Kannonji temple in Yamagata, near Mt. Koshikidake - our headquarters temple. This is Kannon Bosatsu (Avalokitesvara), the bodhisattva of compassion. The talisman has been empowered by Soke. 

These come on smaller cords for attaching to a mobile phone, bag, keychain, etc.

PRICE: $30 includes postage.


© 2019 by International Shugendo Association