Why Does This Japanese Town Ban Cucumbers?

Why Does This Japanese Town Ban Cucumbers?

During the summer, cucumbers are a great treat in Japan to cool the body. They are cooling, crunchy and healthy so it seems strange that anyone would want to ban them. Nevertheless, in Fukui Prefecture, there is a town called Adose-cho where cucumbers are prohibited from being eaten or even grown.

cucumber

Apparently, the town bans cucumber due to a folklore. When it comes to cucumbers and folklore, the kappa comes to mind:

kappa-japanese-folklore

However, the folklore isn’t about the kappa. Legend has it that cucumbers are hated by Susanoo, a Shinto god who is also known as Takehaya Susanoo-no-Mikoto and Kumano Ketsumiko no kami.

susanoo-shinto-god

The mighty Shinto god was supposedly terrified of a thunderstorm and hid underneath a shelf where there were cucumbers on top of it. The shelf broke and caused the cucumbers to fall with one of them striking Susanoo’s eye which made that eye partially blinded. Thus, Susanoo was traumatized and hated cucumbers ever since then and probably got angry at the sight of them.

no-to-cucumbers

If you do not read much into it, it seems like an average folklore. Well, anyone would hate cucumbers too if cucumbers made them blind. However, if you think about it, the story does seem to be somewhat strange and does not make sense. First of all, why would a god be terrified of storms? What more, Susanoo is a god of sea and storms. If he himself is terrified of storms, why create storms to terrify others? How does he even gather the courage to create storms? Were the very storms he was hiding from created by himself? How could a mighty god sustain serious injury from a mere falling cucumber?

The people of Adose-cho believe in that superstition till now which can come across as a strange attraction to visitors. If you are visiting the town, remember not to bring in any cucumbers! Or you might if you want to test the superstition…

Related Articles:

What is Shinto? Learn about its History and Importance
Make Your Own Japanese Pickles! It’s Fun and Easy!