Osore-san: Highway to Hell
We march towards the entrance of Mount Osore under the crazy heat. Osore means fear, so the place should be anything but peaceful paradise, especially in the summer! As of now, the sulfide is already burning our nostrils. I have to constantly drink water to keep myself alive.
Time is around… 800 AD. En’nin is a Japanese monk who went to study Buddhism in China. One evening, perhaps had a bit too much to drink, he had a dream… a strange, strange one. Well, actually it is not that special, it is about a saint coming to talk to him. Who doesn’t have this kind of dream every once in a while 😉
The Saint told him that on his way back to Japan, he will walk to the east. He will find a sacred mountain walking for 35 days after reaching Kyoto. However, it took him a while longer to carve Jizo statues along the way and to spread buddhist teachings, he did what he was told.
There was indeed this little piece of heaven exactly as described in his dream after so much distractions on the way. Never forgotten his tools, he sculpts a beautiful jizo. So that’s basically the story of the birth of Mount Osore. This is not really a mountain but in fact the volcano crater surrounded by other mountains.
The Ponds of Hell
It is a real experience of walking around 108 small sulphide pots (one for each represent one of the 180 desires) which makes up the first part of the visit of Mount Osore.
Composed of water and mud, the ponds bubble and are not welcoming at all, but we must try to get closer…
If you have a friend in hell, you can probably leave a message in this mailbox.
Spent long enough on the melting ground, we are going to visit Paradise now; it seems not too far away after all!
The Lake Usori
This is the second point of interest of Osorezan. After the hot pots, this lake seems a perfect place to cool it off a bit.
A beach of white sand, crystal clear water, but where are the sunbathers? I look at the water more closely: long streaks of sulphide are visible in the water and not a fish in sight.
The only living creatures are some strange little insects.
The surroundings of the lake are not at all refreshing in the end and I am in pain. Fortunately, there is the Bench of Osore in the Shadow! It is a very popular spot, I am honoured to be here and with good company too; a grandma who works on dances for Aomori festival, she is the director (or one of them) of the famous Aomori Museum, and a grandpa who registered a place in Iwate at UNESCO! New travel destinations!
But Osorezan is especially a place of silence, where souls of children who left too early can be found. You can find small colourful windmills here and there, they are offerings from relatives or visitors.
These small piles of stone are prepared for the nighttime. Spirits of children will throw stones at demons to protect themselves. You can help the children by adding a few more stone piles.
Attention here, Mount Osore will take away part of your soul and you will have to pick it up a few months later. If you do not come here even number of times you will end up eating rotten eggs in hell. Buddhist recruitment/marketing technique? No one knows for sure. In any case, I highly recommend you visit Mount Osore once, but … not in the summer!
Comment y aller ?
– In car, 30 minutes of Mutsu.
Où loger ?
– Mutsu Park Hotel : Not many hotels in Mutsu, better jump on this one quick!