About two miles away from our house, nestled off of ultra busy route 58, is a small little park named Mori no Kawa. It is the site of a massive concrete slide, what Ben referred to as the "worlds largest kitty litter box", and a few tennis courts, and jungle gyms.
It seemed to be a pretty normal park...however, at an isolated area of Morinokawa you can find two very famous Okinawan folklore sites. The first site is a spring, tucked away behind trees and foliage. It was constructed out of stones and is still actively running with water. Nearby, a little diagram showed what the spring looked like when it was built.
According to ancient legend, an angel was bathing in this spring when a local man spotted her robe which had been hanging on a nearby tree. He was so captivated by the garment, which was silk and covered in white feathers, that he stole it. After her bath, the angel realized that her robe was missing and became distraught because it meant that she could not get back into heaven. When the man found her weeping alone, he invited her to go back to his house. Eventually, they both married and gave birth to two sons. One later became Lord Satto who is credited for facilitating trade between the Ryukyu Islands and China.
Having taken an Indo-European Folktales class in college, I love this story because it is actually a quite common tale, with many different variations, found in several other countries.
A little further back from the spring was another, creepier, Okinawan spiritual site. It is simply known as the "Door to the Spiritual World." It is literally a large door that has sections of stone wall on either side of it. There is nothing behind the wall, only thick forest which lets it almost no light. Locals believe that this is an entry way to the spiritual world and they respect it, but avoid it. Apparently, only "Yuta," people who are able to communicate with spirits, are allowed to enter the area. The spirits in this area seem to be somewhat malevolent because locals have claimed that their children have been pushed down the slide by them. Yikes! I wish Ben and I didn't explore every inch/touch the door/go behind the wall/take pictures of everything before we knew that bit of information... Pretty sure our house is now haunted, I half expect to run into the grudge girl every time I go into the back bedrooms. Note to self: research BEFORE you visit ancient sites!!!
Until next time...
We're Kara and Ben, a Marine Corps family currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan. Enjoy our adventures, travels, photos, thoughts, and life together halfway around the world!
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