Come discover the folktale of Okayama City.
There is a famous folktale called Peach Boy, or “Momotaro” which is known to every Japanese person .
The folktale is said to be based on a legend from Okayama City.
Once upon a time, there lived a prince named Kibitsuhiko, whose guardian angel was “Momo” or peach. People called him “Momotaro” or Peach Boy. One day, Momotaro hears that “Oni”, or ogres, are running rampant in Kibi Province and attacking the villagers. Together with his companions, Momotaro defeated Ura, the head of Oni, in order to save the people. Later on, however, Momotaro discovers the secret truth of Ura.
*The legend has many different versions.
Many place names and historic ruins associated with this legend can still be found in the Kibiji area. At Kibitsu Shrine, Kibitsuhiko-no-mikoto, a famous model for Momotaro, is worshipped as a god. Its main and front shrines are designated as national treasures and their architectural style is one of a kind in Japan.
“Okamaden” or Okama shrine has a legend that Ura’s head is buried deep inside its grounds and it is the only place in Japan that holds the time-honored “Narukama no Shinji”. This special ceremony reads whether your wish will come true by listening to the sound coming from “Kama” or a pot. The sound of the pot is said to be the roar of Ura.
In the Kibikogen Highlands with an altitude of 400 – 600m stands “Kinojou Castle” where Ura is said to have lived. Strong towering stone walls used in strategic areas, make this intimidating and impregnable stronghold a force to be reckoned with.
Momotaro, the Peach Boy, passed on for generations.
The legend of Momotaro has evolved over generations and has become a famous story known to everyone in Japan. Lately, it has been popularized as a children’s story where Momotaro is born from a peach, then goes on a journey meeting a dog, a monkey and a pheasant, with whom he defeats the ogres. Momotaro can be seen all over Okayama, including a statue of Momotaro in front of JR Okayama Station. Okayama is also known for their delicious peaches and “Kibidango”, which appears in the story. It is a very popular souvenir among tourists.