During the Sengokujidai or Warring
States period, when there was civil war in Japan,
there was a small village in the Nasu area.
One day to a house in that small village came a young man.
This young man was on his way to Mt. Nasu to train as a Yamabushi (mountain
He asked if he could stay the night at the house,
the family eventually agreed and the young daughter of the house was
told to look after him.
Early the next day the young man left, continuing his journey up to the
and his training to be a Yamabushi.
However the young girl kept thinking about him,
worrying about him realizing that she loved him.
So she dressed herself in men's clothes to disguise herself,
and went up the mountain to look for the young man.
She disguised herself because, the mountain being a holy place, women
At that time Kita onsen was a center for training Yamabushi,
the onsen was used to help the Yamabushi to recover from their hard training
and to help cure diseases.
Women were also forbidden to go there; the Yamabushi rules were very
She looked for the young Yamabushi, but didn't find him,
and then suddenly she saw a Yamabushi.
It wasn't the young man but another, who realized that she was a woman.
He pulled out his sword and cut off her head!
Some time later the young Yamabushi discovered her body,
when he saw it he was grief struck.
He built a shrine over the spot where she was killed.
The sword that had killed her was then taken to the shrine
and kept there to be prayed over and purified.
Later, during the Tokugawa
period this area was taken over by the Kurobane-han
or The Oseki family.
They had been given this area as a reward for their services to Hideoshi.
This same family controlled the area from then until the Meiji period,
some 400 years!! A very unusual occurrence in Japan.
The Kurobane-han used Kita onsen as a base for the defeat of the Yamabushi
and mountain worship.
The old shrine stopped being used and the sword disappeared.
The Ozeki family (Kurobane-han) built a house on the site that later
At the beginning of the Meiji
period (1867) Kita onsen came into the Kumagai family,
the owner being Kumagai Genzo.
Whilst preparing the site to build a new onsen ryokan, the missing sword
This was a great surprise, but it also disturbed him to find the sword,
he thought that it would bring bad luck.
So he put the sword in the room that had been built over the place
where it had been found and ordered the room to be kept closed and sealed.
Believing that as long as the room was kept sealed the ryokan would prosper.