The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Omens, Superstitions, Taboos

The Miraculous Water of the Tengu in 1903 #3 (Hatcho Toge Pass)
September 1965

Meiji Sanju Rokunen Tengu no Reisui #3 (Hatcho Toge)
[The Miraculous Water of the Tengu in 1903 #3 (Hatcho-toge Pass)]
38.1 x 54.0 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

The sacred water had to always be carried in bamboo containers. It was strictly taboo to carry it in other containers.
Kaho County had been divided into the two counties of Kama and Honami until 1887. The names of these two counties are only left in the names of rivers. It was decided that the distance from these counties to Mt. Hiko in Tagawa County was 9 ri (ku ri: 36 km). The people in Kaho County (Kahan chiku) always said that it was 36 km to Mt. Hiko (Hiko ku ri). Akizuki in Asakura County was not as far as 36 km from this county. But this town was more than 30 km away from Tagawa County.
Regardless of the distance, men and women of all ages left home before dawn in order to receive the saving grace of the tengu (long-nosed goblin) before others. Each of them wore a kimono with its skirt folded and put under their waistband and a pair of straw sandals (waraji). They each carried a bamboo container for the miraculous water and a pack of rice balls each with a red pickled Japanese apricot (ume) as their lunch called a hinomaru bento, shouldering them apportioned between their front and back or hanging them on their waist.
The people from Chikuzen [northern part of Fukuoka Prefecture; Kaho County here] reached Miyano via Okuma and the people from Buzen [eastern part of Fukuoka Prefecture; especially Tagawa here] reached the same town via Kamiyamada. They climbed, perspiring, up and down the steep slope of Hatcho-toge Pass for Akizuki, which was reportedly so dangerous that even horse shoes could be broken. Not only the people from pits, but also the people from towns and villages paid homage at the shrine of the tengu in line.
It was said that the old lady who ran a teahouse at the northern foot of Hatcho Toge Pass was busy receiving customers who wanted to eat the teahouse's specialty water-cooled tokoroten (gelidium jelly) and that she enjoyed every minute of her work every day.
At that time, most people usually offered a 5-rin (0.005 yen/a half sen) coin while rich people offered a 1-sen coin to other shrines. Some people offered even a tarnished 1-rin coin. However, it was said that those who believed in the tengu offered 5 (0.05 yen) to 10 or 20 sen to the tengu's shrine.

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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