© 2019 by International Shugendo Association


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.

All persons interested in Shugendo, from any country or religious background (including other Shugendo traditions), are welcome 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 priest to learn mikkyo (vajrayana) and other hidden practices. The most important thing is your own dedication and effort. If you are committe dand 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 annual dues that supports our events and our headquarters in Japan. Your first year's membership dues includes our daily recitation book, and access to online resources allowing you to begin learning that important foundational practice. 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 annual dues there securely using PayPal.



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 www.koryu-shugen.com


Shugendo Studies Oceania, Brisbane

Please contact Jisho Schroer through www.ubasoku.net


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 www.korinji.org



Please join our email list to be updated about events!



APRIL 25 2020

Introduction to Shugendo Training in Faido, Switzerland

We will practice moon-disk meditation (Gachirinkan), mountain walking, and takigyo (waterfall training)

Senko Goma fire ceremony will be conducted to bless the participants.

(Note: this event follows a Zen retreat, but you are not required to attend that...

you may attend only the Shugendo event on the 25th).


MAY 15-17

Spring 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

JUNE 19-21

Solstice Shugendo Training in Wisconsin, USA

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

including hiking, waterfall training, and practice of various meditation methods in nature.

Please email to info@korinji.org for details and to RSVP

OCTOBER 16-18 2020

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 and Registration Here: Early Registration Deadline is April 15!


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


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 next year!

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 next year!

PRICE: $285 includes postage.