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Folklores in Arima

Fire Protecting Jizo of Konomoto


From olden times Arima has been called "Yu-no-yama (Bath Mountain)" with many people coming to have their pain and illness cured. To get to the Yu-no-yama or Arima from Osaka or Kyoto, people must pass through Namaze. Thinking it would be a shame not to stop on their way, many visitors to Arima visit the temple where the statue of Konomoto "Jizo (guardian deity of children)" is housed. The nearby villagers place great importance on the kind Jizo since it is this patron saint that protects the children and women of the village.

In the vicinity of the Jizo lived a farmer named Otoji of Kawabe, who from an early age believed deeply in Buddha and often prayed to Konomoto Jizo. Otoji was married and the couple had a lovely baby.

One day when the couple went to gather firewood on the backside of the mountain, they left their baby sleeping the basket since it was fast asleep. They worked hard to gather wood and started preparing to return. "Let's call it a day. Let's go home." At that time, they looked toward the foot of the mountain and saw black smoke billowing from the proximity of their house.

"Fire!" they screamed, casting down the heavy pack that they had been carrying. The couple descended the mountain as fast as their legs could carry them. Deep in their thoughts was the sleeping baby inside the house engulfed in a sea of fire. Overcome with fear for his baby's safety, Otoji jumped through the flames into the house.

Inside the wall of fire, he saw the standing form of Konomoto Jizo. The baby was cradled in the bosom of Jizo and was sound asleep. The always kind-looking face of Jizo had a stern expression as he fended off the fire with the strenuous rustling of his sleeve to make sure that the smoke and spit of the fire would not come down on the baby. Otoji quickly took hold of the baby and dashed outside. He handed the baby to his wife and tried to rush back into the house, but in the deep flaming fire he could not see Jizo anywhere. After their home fell from the flames, Otoji realized that Konomoto Jizo had returned to the temple. Otoji hurried to the temple to see Jizo.

At the temple, Otoji could see, as always, the kind eyes of Jizo, but the face and robe had been blackened.

"It was you, Jizo, who saved our baby from the fire, wasn't it! Thank you. It is because of you that our lovely baby is alive. I'll never forget this blessing for as long as I live!" With the mother holding their baby, the three of them prayed before Jizo for a long time and could not bring themselves to leave.

Even now, the damage to Jizo's cheek and robe at left side is clearly visible, and the reason for the damage has been handed down expressing the "Fire Protecting Jizo"

Folklores in Arima Index
No. 1 Tale : Two Gods and Three Crows of Arima
No. 2 Tale : Saint Gyoki and Hot Springs of Arima
No. 3 Tale : Saint Ninsai and the Spider Guide
No. 4 Tale : Totoya-michi and the Mountain Dog's Repayment
No. 5 Tale : Spider Waterfall
No. 6 Tale : Valley of Hell (Bird Hell and Insect Hell)
No. 7 Tale : Mt. Kumuchi and Cedar Valley
No. 8 Tale : Uwanari-yu (Jealousy Bath)
No. 9 Tale : Tamoto-ishi (Tamato Stone)
No. 10 Tale : Negai-zaka (Slope of Wish)
No. 11 Tale : The Teakettle of Zenpukuji Temple
No. 12 Tale : Kobu-zaka (Lump Slope)
No. 13 Tale : Otoku-san
No. 14 Tale : Funasaka and Saint Gyoki
No. 15 Tale : Fire Protecting Jizo of Konomoto
No. 16 Tale : Origin of Motoyu "Ryuusenkaku"

"Motoyu Ryuusenkaku - Arima Onsen"
1663, Utsugidani, Arima-cho, Kita-ku,
Kobe City, Hyogo, 651-1401 Japan
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