Some of the most beautiful legends from Japan are related to dragons living in lakes or rivers, especially when there’s a temple or a shrine nearby. One of the oldest is this story from Asakusa:
More than 1300 years ago, the area around the Senso-ji Temple was wild and swampy, almost unpopulated, with only a small fishing village on the shores of the Sumida river. The legend says that one night, a large forest with 1000 pine trees suddenly appeared near the temple. And three days later, a giant golden dragon descended from the sky and disappeared inside the pine forest…
The dragon was never seen again, but is still honored today with a spectacular festival, Kinryu-no-Mai, the Golden Dragon Dance, in which a giant, 30 meters long dragon, moved by 70 men, is dancing in front of the temple. And inside the Asakusa Station there’s also a beautiful mural mosaic representing this impressive dance…
Travel Tip: The Kinryu-no-Mai festival takes place twice a year, on March 18, when the temple’s sacred image is presented to the public and on October 18, for the Memorial Service for Chrysanthemums.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: