Megijima.

As previously mentioned, I’m not too crazy about Ogijima‘s sister island, although to its defense I’ve never been during summer time where it is said to be more lively.

But the fact that it is my least favorite island of the area is no reason to shun it. After all, my taste is not your taste and who knows, maybe you’ll like it.

Megichō on Megijima

So, today, I will tell you about what was Megijima‘s main attraction before Art Setouchi came to be, and it is the Oni Cave!

This cave is located right under the top of Megijima‘s northern hill and it is articifial. It is said to have been dug by miners several hundred years ago. It was also used as a pirate lair back when the Seto Inland Sea was full of them.

A few years ago (10 years ago? 50 years? 100 years? More? I have no clue) the people of Megijima decided to develop tourism on their island and as to do so they needed to have tourist attractions, they decided to take their cue from the fact that Megijima is most likely  Onigashima, the island from the legend of Momotarō.

The very short version of the story is this one. Momotarō is a boy who was born from inside a peach and who had a dog, a monkey and a pheasant as friends. One day, for reasons I have forgotten (hey, this is the short version, I’m allowed to forget and skip parts) they had to go to an island named Onigashima in order to fight with a group of Oni that lived there and terrorized the area.

He went there, entered the cave where they lived, fought them, killed them, and brought their treasure back to the local Daimyō.

So I guess you know where I’m going with this, Megijima‘s cave became at some point in time the Oni cave and those became the island’s official mascots.

But you know them Japanese people, they can’t have a horrible, blood-thirsty creature as a mascot, so Megijima‘s Oni have somewhat been transformed into cute little things, because this is one of Japan’s special powers; the ability to turn anything into a cute little thing, even a man-eating monster.

Although, to be honest, the Oni in the cave are not that cute, they kinda sorta look threatening, well at least to little kids. The other Oni on the island? Cute things. Definitely. I’ll show you another day.

Ok, enough soliloquying, time to make room for what you’ve been expecting since your started reading this post:

 

Oni on Megijima

The Oni's treasure?

 

 

Oni on Megijima

 

Oni on Megijima

 

 

Momotaro in the Oni Cave

And just like in the Western world with stories like the Little Red Riding Hood, the contemporary version of the story has been seriously watered down. Momotaro doesn't kill the Oni anymore, he befriends and tames them.

 

 

 

Oni and kids in the Oni Cave on Megijima

Ura, the Oni king and his hundreds of little spawns ready to cause mischief!

 

 

 

Oni in the Rain on Megijima

The Oni guarding the exit of the cave was seriously getting wet. Luckily for him, the kids were nice.

 

 

That’s all for today. More about the cave very soon…

 

8 thoughts on “The Oni Cave”

  1. Can’t terrify the kids who make the trip down to the cave, can we? Are there snippets of the tale posted anywhere in/around the cave to enlighten visitors about the tale of Momotaro and his adventures?

    I find this quite interesting even with the watered-down version. Maybe because I’m a Mom now…

    1. I guess you’re right, as kids are the main “engine” for visitors to go there (or should I say “were”, you’ll see why in my next post) the place has to remain kids friendly.
      Yes, there are small panels telling Momotaro’s story (or just the cave part of the story, I’m not sure as they’re in Japanese only). Although it is my understanding that all of the kids in the area know the story (or maybe even all Japanese kids? I’m not sure).

      The first time I saw it, I was so disappointed, I really expected something more serious and adult (i.e. not giant plastic Oni and more about the actual history of the place, which still remains fuzzy at this point). However when I went back I found it quite funny and more interesting especially for the contrast between those Oni and the newest addition to the cave (am I good at building up suspense or what? 😉 )

          1. Yes, your daughters may still be a little young, but in the few years I’m sure they’d love it. The kids that were visiting didn’t seem scared at all, as you can see on the last picture, but the kids of Kagawa are used to them too, as I’m pretty sure every kid in Kagawa has been there at least twice (once with school, once with their family).

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