Children stand still in awe of the cobalt blue…
We are almost bang in the center of Yamaguchi prefecture, and this is Mine city’s Beppu Benten Pond. Allegedly, if you "drink one glass of its natural mineral water, you can live one year longer".
It is said that in olden times a wealthy man reclaimed the surrounding land, but was troubled by a water shortage. However, this clear source was discovered after he received a divine message to: "Worship Benzaiten and use a green bamboo wand to search for water".
Admiring the beautiful blue pond, it's honestly easy to believe such a legend.
Water flows out at the rate of 186 liters per second, that's 11 tons per minute!
In addition to using the waters for drinking and irrigation, it also flows to the nearby trout farm.
I cup my hand and scoop out a mouthful. The flavor of the spring water, which stays at 14℃ even on the hottest days of the year, is as soothing as its color. It feels like the water seeps not only into your body, but also your heart. You can but only agree with these waters being selected among the best 100 in Japan.
Moreover, you can't but wonder where the mysterious blue comes from!
The reason rests in the minerals found in Benten Pond's spring water.
On a large scale, sunlight can be divided into seven colors. When sunlight enters water laden with minerals, the water absorbs six of the colors, which leaves only blue to be reflected back.
Don't you want to try the trout grown in these mysterious waters? Though you can eat it at almost every local restaurant, nothing tastes better than a fish you've caught yourself.
So, let's head to the fishing pond at the nearby trout farm!
I’m given a bamboo fishing pole and some bait at the reception. After about a 10-minute battle, I catch my first trout. It's huge! If you take your catch to a nearby shop, they’ll prepare it for you for JPY300 per fish.
I requested classic fried fish seasoned with salt!
Oh, the happiness of eating trout grown in these mysterious waters! You can enjoy your heart's fill of this marriage, a combination you cannot taste anywhere else.
Though I visited on one of the hottest days of summer, my whole stay was enfolded in refreshing air.
I wonder if it 's an exaggeration to say that it must be thanks to the drinking waters of Benten Pond…?
Oidemase! Come to Yamaguchi!
Beppu Benten Pond
Located within the grounds of Beppu Itsukushima Shrine, the legend associated with the pond talks of it being discovered thanks to the vision a wealthy man, troubled by a water shortage, had in his dreams. The pond is brimming with clear 14-degree (Celsius) water, and in 1985 it was selected among Japan's top 100 best waters. Every year in autumn, a Buddhist ceremony is dedicated to offering gratitude to the deity that awarded us with the waters.
Address: Mizukami, Shuhocho Beppu, Mine city, Yamaguchi prefecture
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Masashi Fujimoto
Masafumi Fujimoto Hi there! My name is Masafumi Fujimoto. Until the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, I was engaged in editing production at an advertising company in Tokyo. However, the earthquake was a turning point in my life and I headed home to Yamaguchi. When I arrived, I was extremely energized and motivated to help revitalize the region, but I had a hard time adjusting to the motivation level of the local people. Around that time I met an elderly lady who said: "It doesn't matter if all the people move away from the island; that's just the nature of things. Someday people will come back again." Lessening the tension I’d been feeling, those few words relieved me hugely, and I was able to finally adjust. Since then, I've been involved in writing and editing magazines, and working in advertisement production, as well as doing a little bit of farming. I also spend time walking around Setouchi searching for the many, many voices out there.
> A guided tour, including teatime, where you can see the former “Koshien Hotel” – “Frank Lloyd Wright type” architecture by Arata Endo. / Koshien Hall at Mukogawa Women’s University (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo)
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
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