A 30-minute drive along Yoshino River from Tokushima’s Ikawa-Ikeda Interchange brings you to Yamashiro chō. Surrounded by the Shikoku Mountains, the Yōkai village well known as the hometown of Konaki-jiji (crying old man), a familiar character in Shigeru Mizuki’s comics, is to be found. Taking a mountain-hugging side road off the national highway eventually leads to an area with small roofs dotted around. With 54 kinds in 110 locations, the village abounds with Yōkai myths and legends. Even today, elders occasionally gather to discuss Yōkai.
There is a good reason why so many Yōkai inhabit this area. Being mountainous, the gradients around Yamashiro chō are very steep area with few flat spaces. There are many cliffs and deep waters, and people have suffered natural disasters through the ages.
To pass down the wisdom of living in such a harsh environment, parents teach Yōkai folklore. Children mustn’t go near dangerous areas for fear of making the mountain god angry!
In the past, villagers were afraid of Yōkai. Now, however, they are playing a huge part in revitalizing “Yōkai village”. Around the area, many wooden objet d’art made by locals are on display. A“Yōkai tour” is also available, with the “Yōkai festival” being held every autumn.
Featuring neko-musume (cat girl) who screams unnervingly on stage, a Yōkai rock band plays excellent heavy metal versions of Yōkai tales!
Yōkai soup to silence a crying child… Handmade and crammed full of the goodness of the land, Yōkai soup is so delicious it may stop a child weeping! Everything here is Yōkai related.
The climax ensues when all the Yōkai in Yamashiro chō gather together for the Yōkai parade.
You can meet those that created their own particular wisdom on life in their surroundings, the genuine, utterly charming Yōkai of Yamashiro.
-Yamashiro/Ōboke Yōkai village (Japanese) http://www.yamashiro-info.jp/youkai/
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