Taki Time – Wonderful Waterfalls of Shikoku, Japan
By Matthew Lindsay
The Chinese character kanji for waterfall means water next to dragon. This description presumably stems from Chinese legend that has it that should a carp ascend a cascade it will become a dragon. I’ve yet to encounter any dragons at the numerous waterfalls I’ve visited here on Shikoku but I can say that many of them are magical, mystical places.
Statues of Fudo-Myou a ferocious looking Buddhist deity can often be seen by cascades. Known as the ‘immovable one’, Fudo-Myou is regarded by the yamabushi mountain ascetics as their protector. As such they practice purification rituals under waterfalls, even during the height of winter! Waterfalls are also regarded as sacred places by Shinto, the animist religion native to Japan. Shinto shrines often are located by waterfalls, paying homage to the spirits that inhabit them.
I hope that these photos provide some insight into the beauty and power of nature that is manifested by waterfalls.
Matt Lindsay in Tokushima, Japan.