art & culture of Katori
We will introduce a variety of arts and culture around the city.
The white snake that purifies oneself
from "Rumor of Sawara" (edited by GOKITA,Masami)
The bridge laid on Kasaigawa-river is called "the sunrise bridge" . There are the rice fields on the east side, and is a mountain "Waterfall" in the other side. But it doesn't seem to be able to see at all the sunrise.
According to the story of the old Shinozuka who has already died now,"the bridge was made from three logs in those days. It was a shortcut to the Sawara for the people in the region of Oone, Kaeda and Ono". Especially on the day of the festival in Sawara, a lot of people went over the bridge.
One day, a man who had drunk sake too much in the festival happened to pass this bridge on the predawn. He found the sky above "the Waterfall mountain" slightly lightening.
"Oh, is it already a morning? However, it is unusual to see the sunrise in this place".
He getting tipsy cheerfully returned to the house, and spoke this to his families. But everyone did not think it's true.
After that, several days passed. Three young people in the village happend to pass the bridge on the way back from seeing movie. They found the sky on "the waterfall mountain" was dimly bright though it was cloudy.
"Is it already a sunrise?"
"Gimme me a break! Do you think the morning's already dawned only though see the movie?"
"So, what is that?"
They felt weird, and returned home in a hurry.
This story becomes famous. The priest of the Saizouji temple heared that. He told to the people "As for it, a white snake has purified the body by the water of the waterfall. The snake is the Dominus of the village".
In those days, the mountain of the waterfall was to have seen like a mysterious world for people.
The waterfall dried up, snakes don't appear, and the bridge became concrete. But you might feel old times, standing at the center of this bridge.
The town comes with oars, comes with the song.
from "Stories of the rivery town" (SHINODUKA,Eizou)
On the evening of Gion Matsuri festival, when the band begins to perform the melody of "Omigawa ditty", we old timers, feeling nostalgic, think of far old times.
In the age when in Chiba Prefecture without the railway yet, Omigawa was river port in Tonegawa that was one of the largest route of distribution. The Kurobe river was crowded with a big and small boats such as Takase-bune ships or Tenma boats. The carriers who applied the straw rice bags formed the line in both shores in the river during harvest season. The town was effervescent. The Kurobe river was transparent to see the riverbed when I was young. The river water was used as daily life water of people in the town.
Generally, the east shore of the river was not plenteous in the underground water. The river water is used for drinking through the filter, washing, cooking rice, and bath. Dashi [small wharf in river] was always lively.
Many kinds of fish, such as Medaka, Japanese bitterling, the crucian carp, and the bonito etc., were swimming in the river. The fish is careful and is quick. Children try to capture these beautiful fish. They prepare the tools and the foods suitable for the fish. The ideas and experiences are necessary to to it. The pleasure when a big fish was caught was a special. The Kurobe river was attractive playground for children. It was often that the child who had enthused about fishing fell into the river. However, because the river had stuck to the resident's life, there was always a public notice, and the adult helped jumping into the river at once.
There was little drowning accident because children also swam in the specially-installed pool in the river in summer, and they were able to swim considerably at the school age period. Still, the people who lived in houses on a river wished that the water imp did not draw in the child to the river, and did the event that presented some rice cakes to the river. I remember that I, with elder sisters, throw out a few rice cakes from Dashi to the river, never looked back, ran at full speed, and returned home.
In Omigawa now, there are a lot of temples and shrines in which water was enshrined. I can say that it shows thanks and fear to the river that deprive of the life at times.
The fair of the Kotohira Shinto shrine was quite colorfully. There were a lot of crowd from Shinmachi-dori Ave. to the Oone-zuka, the shop of Okada's candy opens, and downtown women parade. When it rained heavily in the early spring or autumn, and became impure the Kurobe river, the clerk of my home went out with the cast net. Because the carp and the crucian carp go back the Kurobe river.
On the diary, Mokichi Saito who is the famous poet in Japan, wrote,
Saturday, January 5, 1935 fine
Left Ueno Station by the morning 8:30, went to riverside district Omigawa with Yamaguchi and Sato, and we stayed at Hayashiya inn. It is a very good in the coast of Tonegawa.
Went to the noodle shop and the confectionery by the boat. Saw the dune etc. At night, drunk sake with the eel.
The performance of the Tokyo sumo wrestling was frequently opened here at prewar days. Wrestlers who arrived at the station did the demonstration parade of the attraction walking to the inn in the Main Street. The champion sumo wrestler Shimizugawa accompanied by the apprentices walked on the riverside street, people in the town shouted, "Hail to you, boss!"
Diagonally to the front of the Hayashiya inn where they stayed, there is a large willow tree.
It seemed that the writer of "the Omigawa ditty" saw the willow in the wind, chanted,
"The town comes with oars, comes with the song. The song comes through the shadow of the willow".
SHINOZUKA, Eizou [Omigawa]