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  • Writer's pictureHayati Mustaza

The Legend of Hagoromo at Miho no Matsubara

Have you ever heard of The Legend of the Hagoromo or The Legend of the Celestial Maiden? Anime fans may know a somewhat similar version of the legend from a famous shojo manga or anime title Ayashi no Ceres. The legend is so famous that it has adaptations in other languages around the world. Well, the legend goes like this; A celestial maiden descended to earth and hung her hagoromo (feather robe) over a pine tree to take a bath. Then a fisherman who was walking by decided to take the robe and refused to return it until she performs a heavenly dance. As the robe was needed for her to return to heaven, she performed the dance and got back her robe from the fisherman. This story has been made into a Noh performance and is performed in front of the said pine tree every October.

So what exactly is Miho no Matsubara? It is a scenic area on the Miho Peninsula in Shizuoka city in the prefecture of the same name, where approximately 7km of it's coastline is lined with pine trees. And it is said to be the location where the legend happened. There's a pine tree called Hagoromo no Matsu which is supposedly the exact pine tree where the celestial maiden in the legend hung her robe. The current tree is around 200 years old, and its predecessor was around 650 years old.

Miho no Matsubara has been illustrated in ukiyo-e as well as many other artworks since hundreds of years ago. The beautiful scenery of the pine trees along the seashore with the majestic Mount Fuji in the background became an iconic view and thus chosen by as Japan's New Three Views (Nihon Shin Sankei, a list created in 1915 of Japan's three most celebrated scenic locations) and Japan's Three Pine Groves (Nihon Sandai Matsubara, a list of Japan’s most celebrated pine groves). It was also designated as a National Places of Scenic Beauty of Japan in 1922. Subsequently in 2013, the pine groves were added to the World Heritage List as part of the Fujisan Cultural Site.

While you're visiting the area, you may want to take a stroll along Kami no Michi or God's Path, which is a 500m walking path lined with pine trees connecting Miho no Matsubara and Miho Shrine. Miho Shrine is a famous power spot for matchmaking and married couples. You could also drop by Miho Shirube or Miho no Matsubara Culture & Creativity Center to learn about the history of Miho no Matsubara.

There is no train station nearby however there's a bus on the Miho Yamanote Line which you can take from JR Shimizu Station to Miho-no-Matsubara Iriguchi bus stop. A one-way ride takes approximately 25 minutes.

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