The Princess and the Golden Rooster: A Legend

Once upon a time:  A golden rooster lived in Kyoto during the Heian period. It crowed every New Year’s Day during the four centuries of peace. Then, in the year 1093, war broke out and the golden rooster flew away.

The Princess Kogane-Hime, a devout Buddhist who missed the rooster, faced Hiei-zan. She heard a message:  Go to a mountain of waterfalls. So she traveled far and long and finally reached Hida-Kanayama at the end of the year.

She could hear the voice of the rooster, but search as she did, she could not see it. She went from one waterfall to another: The Shirataki and the Ni-no-taki, and finally a third waterfall. She stood under the water to purify herself. Suddenly, she heard the golden rooster.

The falls she stood under became known as Keimei-taki of Yokotani Gorge.

Although the rooster refused to return to Kyoto, Kogane-Hime gathered some herbs for her ailing mother and went back to Kyoto in time to save her mother. The princess became known for her compassion and was regarded as the goddess of children.

People would come to Komori Jinja near Keimei Falls to pray to the great Komori goddess when their children became ill. After the children recovered their health, in gratitude, they brought rooster images to Komori Jinja.

The day before the summer solstice 2012, we visited the White Waterfall (Shira Taki) and the Double Waterfall (Ni no Taki). Due to the rain, we had to by-pass Keimei Taki.

In 2013, we were able to go to Keimei Falls. There is a hokura at the top of the path down to the pool where the taki falls. It is a beautiful waterfall. There is a lot of water coming down, so it must have been quite a feat for the princess to stand under it. There is a small pavilion where we had a bento lunch surrounded by verdant sugi and hinoki trees. Other than the structure and the path, the rest is as nature had it a thousand years ago when the princess stood under the falls.

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