Lake Suwa

Lake Suwa  N 36.05, E 138.11, Alt. 769 m

Lake Suwa (諏訪湖 Suwa-ko) is the largest lake in Shinano. It is fed by the small rivers of the Kiso Mountains. Lake Suwa is the primary source of the Tenryu River. The Tenryū River (天竜川 Tenryū-gawa) has a length of 213 km; it is the ninth longest river in Japan. The Tenryu flows through Aichi and Shizuoka prefectures.

“According to Shinto legend, the male god Takeminakata would cross the lake to visit the female god Yasakatome at her shrine on the other side. The crossing was evidenced by the god’s footsteps on the ice that left a sinusoidal ice ridge, known as the omiwatari in Japanese.”  [From National Geographic]

We stayed at the Saginoyu Hotel on the road around the lake (sagi, heron; yu, hot bath). The water of the onsen hot spring was the color of coffee. There were ashi reeds growing at Suwa lakeside. We wonder if these are similar to the ashi of Lake Biwa which are the namesake of Ashihara no Nakatsukuni, the so-called Central Land of the Reed Plains. We will explain this in relation to the Naka-Kuni of Isanami and Isanagi at Oumi Lake Biwa in the Wosite documents.

Yatsugatake Mountains

The Yatsugatake 南八ヶ岳 mountain range extends for 30 km north to south on the east side of Lake Suwa. We found the following story here.

The following story is in ancient mythology.
Yatsugatake compared heights with Mount Fuji. And Yatsgatake won.
But Mount Fuji gave a kick at him. Then Yatsugatake had broken into many mountains. So Mount Fuji became the highest mountain.
Yatsugatake’s sister, Mount Tateshina (the northernmost peak, 2,530 m), wept at his broken figure.
And her tears created Lake Suwa.

Here is an alternate version.

According to legend, Yatsugatake was once higher than Mount Fuji,, but Konohanasakuya-hime, the goddess of Mount Fuji, tore it down out of jealousy, leaving the collection of peaks we have today.

View of Yatsugatake from Lake Suwa

All photo credits: Okunomichi 2019