Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kannon Falls

Kannon Falls 1

When we have visitors and it's hot, instead of heading to the beach to cool off we usually head to a waterfall. There are a lot of waterfalls in our area, and the highest, and also the most accessible is Kannon Falls.

Kannon Falls 2

Located up a small valley that runs down to the Gonokawa river at the village of Shikaga, the falls are about 400 metres up a pleasant path that follows the stream dappled in the sunlight filtering through the trees. The falls are more than 50 meters high, and end in a largish pool that is waist-deep in the middle.

Kannon Falls 3

It's a popular place in the summer and there are usually several families there, splashing, picnicing, and fishing, though no locals come here after dark as long ago a woman climbed to the top of the falls and committed suicide by jumping, so it is believed her ghost haunts the area.

Kannon Falls 4

The falls are named for Kannon, the Japanese name for the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, and there is a small shrine to her near the base of the falls. Note the figure of the Virgin Mary in the bottom right. In parts of east Asia, and among Japan's "hidden christians", Kannon was equated with the virgin mary, allowing them to appear to be worshipping the buddhist Goddess, but secretly worshiping Mary.

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