FOLKLORE & FAIRYTALES
The stream flows from the source of the spring past two dramatic natural rock formations. The first of these is a rock grotto that recalls a beautiful story told by Hearn of his experience at the Cave of the Children’s’ Ghosts at Kyu-Kukedo-San, the Ancient Cavern near Kaka-ura. In this cave, the spirits of small children are cared for by the god Jizo-san. The children are fed from a fountain of milk. In the mornings visitors can see small heaps of mounded stones and little footprints made by the playing children.
The second natural rock outcrop forms the backdrop for a pond that provides the ‘ocean’ setting for the story of Urashima Taro. He was a fisher boy who saved the life of a small turtle. In gratitude, the mother turtle magically gave him fins to swim underwater to the Palace of the Sea King where he fell in love with the king’s daughter. He found himself in the land of eternal youth and the story thereafter is similar to the Irish legend of Oisín, who visited Tir na n-Óg, the land of eternal youth.