Mt. Tatsugane

The mountain of the “dragon god (water & sea god)”

“The mountain of the ‘dragon god (water & sea god)’.”

In spring, the seas off Minamisanriku glisten in quiet beauty. Peach, plum, and cherry trees begin to bloom one after another in this joyous and heartwarming “mahoroba” (spiritual home).

 

In May, the sacred Mt. Tatsugane is dyed crimson with azalea blossoms. Some say that the name “Tatsugane,” is an abbreviation for “Tatsugamine” (dragon’s peak). The summit of Mt. Tatsugane commands a superb view of the area extending all the way to Cape Utatsu and this remarkable landscape is said to resemble a gigantic dragon that lies facing west. The dragon god who lives here is also a water god and a sea god.

 

In Utatsu, there are some unusual place names that use the kanji (Chinese character) meaning “leg” (romanization is “tari”). They include “Natari” and “Satari.” Some say that Natari is located in the right leg of the dragon and Satari is in the left leg of the dragon.

 

Many scripture mounds are located at the summit. They say that Fujiwara Hidehira who led his domain to prosperity through the gold culture of 12th century Hiraizumi in Iwate Prefecture, worshiped this mountain and built three temples and many other buildings related to Buddhism to express his faith. Many scriptures on which the Lotus Sutra is written in vermilion on Japanese paper were dedicated to the scripture mounds at the summit.

With the production of gold, Minamisanriku played an important part in the prosperity of Hiraizumi culture at the time.

In spring, azaleas bloom as far as the eye can see in Mt. Tatsugane where it seems that the energy from the land and sea seems to gather and gush forth. When summer comes, the contrast between the golden fields of sunflowers and the blue sea is dazzling.

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