Nagano's Bank of Deities – Timeless Reflections
Ina City, Nagano Prefecture – In a quaint little city within Nagano prefecture lies a quaint little pond…Its view as serene as the environment it lies in. This is Rokudō no Tsutsumi. In English, it means ‘Bank of Deities’. Though not as popular as the famous ‘Takato Castle’, Rokudō no Tsutsumi is arguably the better option for your ‘hanami’ or flower viewing party in the spring time. And, though access is granted all year round, it is in spring that this small and seemingly insipid pond really shines.
As with anywhere in Japan, once spring time arrives, families and friends – people of all sorts, young and old are out and about searching. They bring with them picnic sheets as well as baskets with home cooked meals. Others are seen carrying plastic bags containing food purchased at nearby convenience stores. Either way, they’re all looking for the same thing – the “best” hanami locations. And, Rokudō no Tsutsumi is definitely a contender!
With photographers – amateurs and pros alike coming to snap photos of this quaint little beauty, it’s a wonder why it isn’t more popular. Rokudō no Tsutsumi’s beauty is demonstrated mainly in the falling of its ‘sakura’ or cherry blossoms’ petals – the way it dances in the wind, and how it gently lands upon the surface of the pond’s water – adding to the reflected image of its 120 cherry blossom trees contrasted against the snowy peaks of the south and central Alps mountain range behind it.
The reflected image of what can only be labeled as “Japan’s beauty” is also difficult to compare with the image in which it is reflecting. The natural beauty surrounding Rokudō no Tsutsumi is also one that is hard to match. With the constant fresh breezes of air and the songs of birds within it as well, Rokudō no Tsutsumi is definitely a place in which one can find inner-peace. Staring into the reflection of the pond, one may get lost in its beauty which may even bring them to another time period. A time without cities or a time without civilizations…Wherever it brings you, it’s easy to see why Rokudō no Tsutsumi was given its name – its timeless reflection is one so rare that it should definitely be treasured.
With such a beautiful sight that seems so natural one may wonder about its existence. And, one would be right to. Rokudō no Tsutsumi is actually a man-made contraption. It was created by the order of the Lord of Takato in the Edo period. His name, Naito Yoriyasu and the date of completion, sometime in September of 1851. The water was originally from the Fujisawa River, however renovations have taken place in 2009 following some minor leakage problems.
For a short while, this beautiful pond was empty – the sand at the bottom cracking from the hot rays of the sun. The renovations done to prevent further leakage of Rokudō no Tsutsumi however were successful and we are now able to visit Rokudō no Tsutsumi and enjoy its beauty without worry. The renovation’s overall cost was 150 million yen, with the country and local people contributing the most of it. Seeing these numbers, one may also realize what a treasure this location really is – whether it be to the locals who live near it or to the entire country of Japan.
Further information: Rokudō no Tsutsumi has no entrance fee and is open all year round. The recommended season however is spring.
How to get there: Rokudō no Tsutsumi is quite far from any public transit, being around 7 km from its closest station, Inakita. As such, your options are fairly limited to catching a taxi, renting a car, or cycling the 7 km from Inakita station.
Japanese Address: 長野県 伊那市 美鈴 1403