September, 2008

This page is written monthly
by Harumi Okochi.
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Sayohime Doll made by Mrs. Matsuo

Kagamiyama and The Legend of Sayohime

Kagamiyama seen from the River Matsuura

How are you, friends?
September is the month when we enjoy the clear sky and autumn full moon. I especially like the moon over Kagamiyama, which is the mountain of the legend of Sayohime.
The story of Matsura Sayohime appears in Man'yoshu, the oldest anthology of Japanese poetry.
Do you like to hear the legend?
About 1500 years ago, in Korean Peninsula, a small country called Mimana was attacked by another country. The small country was Japan's ally. The Emperor sent Otomo Sadehiko and his soldiers to fight for Mimana.
Sadehiko came from the Capital Nara, and stayed in Matsura (present Karatsu) for some months preparing for the war. While he was here, a beautiful girl named Sayohime was made to be his wife. Sadehiko and Sayohime loved each other so much.
But the day of Sadehiko's departure came at last, and Sadehiko left Sayohime.
Sayohime run up to the Mountain and looked and looked until the sail of her husband's ship disappeared beyond the horizon. She waved her white long scarf in the prayer that the magical power of the cloth would purify and calm the sea until her husband arrived to the land.
After her long dance of waving the cloth, Sayohime wept and wept, and turned into a stone.
Poems were made in later years in memory of Sayohime, and the legend still lives here.

On Kagamiyama, there is a shop, a souvenir shop and tea room, called Sayohime Teahouse. Mr. and Mrs. Kunihisa Matsuo are the owner of this shop. Mr. Matsuo is also a photographer. His main motif is the seasons of Kagamiyama. He generously said yes to my request to let me use his beautiful photos in this page.
So please enjoy the mountain of the legend, the scenery from the mountain, and right above, a hand-made doll of Sayohime made by Mrs. Matsuo.

Spring of the pond on top of Kagamiyama
Summer night seen from Kagamiyama
Autumn evening.
The dead tree might be Sayohime's sorrow.
Snow is rare in Karatsu. But when it falls, it is this beautiful
The moon still lingers.
West view from Kagamiyama
East view
The highest mountain is Ukidake, in Fukuoka Prefecture.
Sunlight from the clouds.
South view.
Azalea blooms near the pond.
This cherry tree is the symbol of Sayohime's love.
North-west view from Kagamiyama.
Beyond this horizon, Sadehiko's sail disappeared.

The long green line is Nijinomatsubara Pine Forest.
Yoyokaku is near the left end of the green belt.


West view from Kagamiyama.

Thank you very much for visiting this page.
I hope you will return next month.
Yours, Harumi Okochi

Proprietress of

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