Lake Tazawa is known to not freeze in the dead of winter! Famous at this lake is also the golden statue of Tatsuko Hime which was erected in 1968. The lake and statue have been featured in IRIS, which is a South Korean action and spy drama. Read on to find out the story behind the statue and why the lake does not freeze.
Legend has it that Tatsuko was a very beautiful girl and as she grew older, she realized that her looks were fading which made her worry. She was very adamant about preserving her looks so for 100 nights, she prayed hard to Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, for a solution to be beautiful forever. Kannon heard her request and told her to go north and find a holy spring of which she should take a sip from.
Hence, Tatsuko visited Lake Tazawa and drank the water from it. No matter how much water she drank, she couldn’t quench her thirst. She then caught her reflection on the lake and was shocked to see that she had turned into a dragon. Devastated, she sunk into the lake.
Tatsuko’s mother was getting anxious as her daughter had gone missing for quite some time, so she looked for her in the mountains. The search wasn’t fruitful until she reached the lake where Tatsuko appeared briefly to let her mother know that she had become a dragon and could not go back with her. After that, Tatsuko returned into the lake and her mother was so heartbroken that she threw her torch into the lake, which then turned into a kunimasu fish.
The story was not all sad, though. In the Hachirogata Lagoon situated north of Lake Tazawa, there was a man named Hachirogata who had also turned into a dragon. He fell in love with Tatsuko and would visit Lake Tazawa every winter to be with her and because of this, it is said that the passionate love between the two dragons generates enough heat to prevent the lake from freezing over in winter!
Another variation of the story
There are several other versions of the story. In another version, Tatsuko was very greedy in her pursuit of beauty that she drank a lot of water from the lake, thinking that it would be more effective. As a result, Kannon punished her by turning her into a water dragon. The rest of the story is similar to the aforementioned story above.
Of course, those with scientific minds will not be satisfied with the story as an explanation of the non-freezing ability of the lake. The secret lies in the depth of the lake which prevents it from freezing. It is the deepest lake in Japan with a depth of 423.4 meters.
Did you enjoy reading the tale of Tatsuko? It is just one of the many enchanting tales in Japan. Perhaps you should visit the lake during winter and take a photo of it with the statue!