Tokyobling's Blog

Joren No Taki – Shizuoka Water Fall

Posted in Animals, Nature, Places by tokyobling on August 4, 2014

Many people who visit the mountainous Izu peninsula to the south west of Tokyo will pass through the Amagi mountain range. The mountains are actually mostly ancient volcanoes (there’s over 100 of them) and are quite popular with hikers and mountain climbers. Even for people not that interested in physical activities the Joren falls of Mount Amagi (天城山) are a very popular point to stop and rest you legs on the long drive from Tokyo to the tip of Izu. Although the best nature views are not around the falls, it is really beautiful enough to visit. The more beautiful nature around the old volcanoes are much more inaccessible but worthwhile if you have experienced hiker friends.

The Joren falls (浄蓮の滝) were formed 17 000 years ago when the volcanoes last erupted and you can clearly see the magma flows in the columnar joints making up the base of the falls. The walk down to the falls from the road is a little steep but has some good views on the way. The river valley is home to a small Wasabi plantation and there’s usually small rest house open that offers food, drinks and sweets (many with a wasabi theme). The falls are located in Izu City (伊豆市), Yugashima (湯ヶ島).

There are some old folk-tales associated with the falls:

Once upon a time, there lived an old farmer who had a field on the back of Joren Falls, near the basin of the waterfall. One day, after working in the field for some time, he sat and rested on a stump. There he found a Joro-Gumo (wasp spider) winding a web around his leg. “The spider must take my leg for a branch”, he thought and cut the web to wind it around a branch. Suddenly the earth started to shake, and the next moment, the stump was dragged into the basin with a lot of noise. Trembling with fear, he said to the villages, “The master of Joren Falls is a beautiful Joro-Gumo. It will drag you into the pool by winding its web”. Since then, no villager had come close to the waterfall.

A few years later, a lumber jack from another village entered the forest. When he was cutting of a tree near Joren Falls, he accidentally dropped his hatchet into the pool of the waterfall. He was at a loss of what to d. After a while later, a beautiful woman with the hatchet in her hand appeared and said, “You can get your hatchet back. But don’t tell anyone that have seen me or I will take your life.” Without a word he received the hatchet from her. Later he figured that the beautiful woman he met was the dreadful master of the waterfall, Joro-Gumo.

After the incident he moved to another village for work, though he couldn’t forget the fearful experience and the promise he made with the woman. One night, when was drinking with his friends, he let the word slip out about the beautiful master of the Joren Fall. After the party was over, the drunken lumberjack closed his eyes and never woke up.

There are lot of folk tales in Japan people disrespecting nature or not keeping the promises or talking too much. A common theme in many stories are also the village drinking party! It must have been an important aspect of the social life of ancient Japanese people.

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6 Responses

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  1. dragonlife said, on August 4, 2014 at 6:32 am

    been there! Great place! At the bus stop you will find a sign to beware of the wild boars and almost next to it a shop selling wild boar meat dumplings!

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  2. Irina Kolak said, on August 4, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Been there, as well. 11 years ago. Would love to see it again. Thanks for the great photos. I hope you’re doing great, dear Tokyobling.

    Like

    • tokyobling said, on August 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Thank you Irina! What a coincidence – I was also there 11 years ago (my first visit). I always stop on my way to the south of Izu. I am doing well, as I hope you are also! (^-^)

      Like

  3. […] of a beautiful woman, and who can either drown or protect people from drowning, is still known from the folklore surrounding the Joren Falls in the Izu peninsula in eastern Japan. From Lappland to Central Asia, the spider was a divine or […]

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  4. Vividhunter said, on January 30, 2016 at 12:56 am

    Hi! Do you mind if I share this on the Runaway Japan’s facebook page? Thanks!

    Like


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