Travel: Ome city’s ghost websites not the usual haunts for tourists

Famous for its ume Japanese apricot blossoms, the city of Ome in western Tokyo is counting on something more ominous, namely yokai ghouls and hobgoblins, to attract visitors.

Ome is also called the area of Yuki-onna (snow woman), a ghost story composed by worldwide author Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904).

 

City authorities are using this legend and other ghost stories to promote Ome as Tokyo’s center of folklore.

Up until now, they have hosted trial assisted trips and a stamp print gathering occasion at related websites throughout the city. Did you understand there are so many yokai in Ome? Bintaro Yamaguchi, 49, explained to a group of about 20 participants of a directed trip in late February.

 

The author who lives in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, is well-versed in ghosts and other occult phenomena.

Yamaguchi mentioned 40 to 50 yokai beasts carefully connected with the city as he led the trip around JR Ome Station. He discussed the nighttime Azuki-babaa (azuki bean-washing old woman) at Sokenji temple, Warai-jizo (laughing jizo, or the statue of a Buddhist guardian deity for children) at Kongoji temple, and a flying, squirrel-like mystical creature called Tenmaru at the Joganji temple.

 

Participants who gathered stamp prints at 9 spots gotten in touch with yokai legends were given an illustrated map showing haunted areas in Ome. To arrange the occasions, officials of the city’s tourist association, company operators from local shopping streets and other pertinent parties made use of the Tokyo urbane government’s development initiative focusing on the rediscovery of local resources.

Yuki-onna was composed by Hearn, also known by his Japanese name, Yakumo Koizumi, who studied Japan during the Meiji Era (1868-1912). The Greece-born author apparently heard the legend of the snow woman from a servant who hailed the village of Chofu (contemporary Ome).

 

Koizumi’s descendants and scientists founded a study hall around 2000 and started exploring the city to read more about the snow woman. They discovered numerous folk tales related to other yokai. It’s reasonable to state (Ome is) an equivalent of Tono in Tokyo, stated Yamaguchi, who is also a member of the study group.

 

Tono, in Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan, is referred to as the background for Tono Monogatari (Tales of Tono), a record of folk tales published by Kunio Yanagita (1875-1962), who is considered the father of Japanese folklore studies.

There is no other location like this where a lot of folk tales and legends have been given. Due to feedback from the individuals, we wish to arrange full-blown yokai-related events beginning with new fiscal year, authorities from the tourist association stated.

 

The association has actually likewise established yokai-themed food items, including white arare rice crackers to represent the snow woman and green tea to represent the green-colored sprite kappa.

There is also yokai shiruko, an unique sweet red bean soup topped with red pepper flakes in tribute to human souls in the shape of fireballs.

 

The occasions have actually currently concluded, the Showa Retro Packaging Museum in front of JR Ome Station has an exhibition section devoted to the snow woman.