Welcome back friends. It’s me, Akie, your Akita Bijin guide from the land of the most beautiful women in Japan! Last week I told you a little about we eloquent beauties of Akita Prefecture, and let slip one of the mysteries of our unique charm-the water! Don’t get upset, I was going to tell you about it anyway. I have a few more secrets to unfold, so you still have a lot to learn, but for today let’s talk more about Akita’s “Fountain of Youth”-like water. You know, Akita is a place of wonderful nature highlighted by folklore, enchanting tales and legends. One of the many great mysterious folkloric tales is encapsulated in the golden statue you see behind me. The statue is of Tatsuko Hime (sometimes called Takko Hime). We’ll call her Princess Tatsuko.
Erected in 1968, this golden statue stands on the shores of Lake Tazawa, the deepest lake in the entire Japanese archipelago. Legend has it that the crystalline waters that feed the lake were a main source of Princess Tatsuko’s enchanting beauty. She drank from these waters in the belief that it would give her eternal beauty. Unfortunately, she drank so much of the water that the Goddess Kannon cursed her, and turned her into a water dragon.
Well, the story gets more interesting. Prince Hachirotaro, a young prince from a nearby village, went fishing one day and ate a fish he caught from a stream near Lake Tazawa and from that developed a powerful unquenchable thirst. He drank the water there for 33 days, and as a result also turned into a huge water dragon! Since he could never go home in such a condition, he decided to inhabit Lake Tazawa, which as you know by now was home to Princess Tatsuko.
Of course they got together. 2 water dragons in the same place, what are the chances!?! Tales passed down throughout the different eras tell us that during the winter months, the heat from their passionate lovemaking prevents the lake from ever freezing over. Scientists might give you another version but it won’t be as romantic, hehehe! All these tales are great, and there are some versions I’ve never heard. If you know of any great folk tales from around Japan, or from your hometown, send them to me.
You can post them so all my readers can learn something new about Japan, or somewhere else. Tales, myths and legends aside, the lush scenery of this area is great. From rolling hills and volcanoes to some of the most amazing onsens (hot spring baths) in Japan, Tazawa is home to the No.1 onsen in Japan – Tsurunoyu…Ooops, there I go again talking more than I should. These onsens might be another secret to the beauty of Akita Bijin…but I’ll stop for now. Ja ne, until next time.