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[Suguruku-Ga (or Shiguruku-Ga)]: A Quiet and Peaceful Site in Naha Connected to the Hagoromo Legend
post : 2020.02.29 20:00
Shintoshin Koen or Shintoshin Park is located in the Shintoshin area in the northern part of Naha City. This big park was part of the development that took place after the full return of the land that was used as a US military installation in 1987.
It opened as a comprehensive park in July 2001, with an area of 122,075.71 square meters of park use, and 18 hectares overall. It consists of four zones: Chuo Hiroba (central square), Mizu-no Michi (waterway), Hana-no Michi (flower path), and Okinawa-no Mori Zone.
In the Okinawa-no Mori Zone, where it is particularly lush with greenery, you’ll find species of vegetation that are native to Okinawa, as well as cultural properties like sacred places of worship, and tombs. This area offers visitors to appreciate nature, history and culture.
As you stroll along the walkway that stretches between the Okinawa-no Mori Zone and the Sagawa Express Company (Urasoe sales office), you’ll see a gated area.
Through the gates and at the foot of a gentle slope is a spring, called Suguruku-Ga, or also known as Shiguruku-Ga, or Amakudari-Ga (water from the heavens).
Ga in the Okinawan language means spring or well.
The legend of Hagoromo surrounds the Suguruku-Ga, hidden from the hustle and bustle of the city and where the clear natural water steadily flows.
Written in Ryukyukoku Yuraiki, the records of the origin of the Ryukyu Kingdom which was compiled in 1713 by the Royal Court of the Ryukyus as its very first documented record, is the legend of Mekarushi. In the history book is a legendary tale of a local man by the name of Mekarushi encountered a celestial maiden “at a spring in Mekarubara”, and it is believed that the spring mentioned in the legend is Suguruku-Ga.
It is said that Tamagusuku Chokun, the royal dance magistrate and the founder of Kumiodori which is Okinawa’s unique musical theater with a history that extends three centuries, wrote the Kumiodori play, Mekarushi, based on the Hagoromo legend surrounding the Suguruku-Ga.
Below is a summary of the Hagoromo legend.
Mekarushi came across a heavenly maiden who was bathing in the springs at Mekarubara, and hid her Hagoromo, or robe. The maiden was unable to return to the heavens without her robe, and so Mekarushi convinced her to stay with him until she was able to find her robe. The celestial maiden stayed with him and soon, they became husband and wife. They had two children, a girl and a boy. One day, the mother hears the daughter soothing her younger brother by singing a lullaby. Through the lyrics of the lulluby, the mother learns where her robe was hidden. After finding her robe, the heavenly woman ascended back to the heavens, as she wept over having to have to leave her children behind.
Legend also says that the daughter of Mekarushi and the heavenly maiden, who was singing the lullaby, later married King Sho Shin.
Another famous anecdote about Suguruku-Ga and its high-quality water is that a Chuzan King once ordered the spring water of Suguruku-Ga and Ryuhi from Shurijo Castle be brought to him in order to taste the differences. Suguruku-Ga was an important and precious source of water for the local people, offering life-giving water through numerous droughts. Today, the spring is cherished and protected by the people as a sacred place of worship.
In the middle of Naha, a city busy with people and veiled in its legendary tales of the Hagoromo, the Suguruku-Ga rests quietly among the lush greenery and streams that have remained untouched. If you decide to visit, please be careful getting there and keep in mind that it’s a sacred site revered by the people of the island.
Address: Within Okinawa-no Mori, Shintoshin Park, Mekaru 2-Chome, Naha City, Okinawa
Telephone: 098-951-3225 (Flower & Greenery Division)
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Mika Asaka