“Famous Places, Lake of Towada [sic]”, steep ladder, c. 1930.

1930sFolkloreOutside TokyoReligious
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“Famous Places, Lake of Towada [sic]”, c. 1930. Lake Towada is in the crater of a dormant volcano, the largest mountain lake in Japan, in Aomori Prefecture. By descending the rock by means of a chain and an iron ladder, Ouranaiba is reached.

Lake Towada is often compared with the famous Crater Lake in America, and although it lacks the grandeur of the American lake, it is considered far superior in scenic charm. he main attractions of the lake are its size and depth (as deep as 1,200 feet), the woodlands surrounding its shores, its cliffs, and its pine-clad islets. Like the lakes in Scotland, the district is rich in legends and romances woven around the creation of the lake.

“The remoteness of the lake may be a deterrent to visitors [but] along the promontories there are many scenic spots rich in legendary interest … From the Nasobo Shrine there is a rocky path to a small building containing a granite staute of Nansobo. By descending the rock to the right by means of a chain and an iron ladder, Ouranaiba is reached.

“‘Ouranaiba’ means ‘place of divination’, or fortune-telling place. From ancient times country people have been in the habit of placing bronze coins on pieces of paper in the water to test whether their prayers would be answered. This was considered certain if the coin sank immediately or if the attached twisted paper stood erect.

“Several years ago a Shinto priest hired a diver to recover the money sunk in this manner and coins to the value of ¥2000 [~US$1800 in 1941] are said to have been salvaged.”

Japan: The Official Guide, Japan Government Railway, 1941

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