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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Kannon Waterfall

観音滝


Kannondake waterfall We have some friends visiting for a few days, and its HOT! What better to do than chill out by splashing around in the natural air-conditioning of a waterfall.

We head to Kannon Daki, at 60 metres the tallest waterfall within the boundaries of Sakurae Town. It lies a couple of kilometers up Shikaga Valley just off Route 261.


Kannondake waterfallAfter a couple of hundred metre walk up a shady valley next to a bubbling stream, you turn the corner and there it is. The spray and mist made by the falls cools the air.


Kannondake waterfall Its a natural water slide into a cool pool of pure mountain water. For an hour we had the place to ourselves, and then families with kids start to arrive.

Kannondake waterfall Right at the base of the falls is a little Folk Shrine mixing Buddhist, Shinto, and Christian elements.
Kannondake waterfall folk shrine

There are 2 stories connected to the Falls. The first concerns a certain Mr. Yamamoto, a local notable from the mid-Edo period, who rested on a rock here and enjoyed a smoke. As he headed off down the trail he remembered that he had left his tobacco pouch on the rock. He headed back only to find a dragon with his pouch entangled on one horn. The dragon was surprised and bolted, so Mr Yamamoto never got his pouch back.
The story doesn't mention if Mr. Yamamoto had been imbibing sake at the time.
The other story concerns a local woman who committed suicide by jumping off the top of the falls. Her ghost reputedly still haunts the area so no local people will venture here after dark.


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