From Futami Park, cross the Futami-tsuribashi Suspension bridge, enter the Futami Jozan Road nature trail, turn immediately right and descend to reach the banks of the Toyohira River. Here you will find a precipitous cliff on the left bank, and on the right bank two rocky mountains known as Futami Iwa (formerly Meoto Iwa).
Before the Hoheikyo Dam was constructed, much water had flowed through the Toyohira River; the two rocky mountains protruding like islands standing tall in the river. The torrents of the Toyohira River splashed, roared and swirled through these mountains to create an abyss which stands to this day.
The Legend of Kappa
Before Choshi no Kuchi’s hydroelectric dam was constructed in 1909, the Toyohira River had such an incredibly large flow rate that lumber was carried down from upstream, and many large freshwater fish flowed down into the abyss. Once upon a time, a young man was fishing when something pulled him down to the bottom of the river, where he disappeared. One night, a year later, the young man appeared in his father’s dream and told him that he was “living happily with his kappa wife and child.” The young man, one of the most beautiful men in Jozankei, must have attracted the kappa living there. So they started calling this place Kappabuchi Pool. Since then, no one has gone missing.
The rocky area around Kappabuchi Pool has long been a valuable haven for plants and a coveted place for plant researchers and enthusiasts.
A variety of wildflowers such as Ezonoiwahatazao (Arabis serrata var. glauca), Moiwanazuna (Draba sachalinensis), Yamahanaso (Saxifraga sachalinensis),Ezonokirinso (Sedum kamtschaticm), Ezogomana (Aster glehnii F. Schmidt),Marubakinreika (Patrinia gibbosa), Moiwashajin (Adenophora pereskiifolia), Daimonjiso (Saxifraga fortunei), and shrubs, such as Taniutsugi (Weigela hortensis), Ezoshimotsuke (Spiraea media), Ezoajisai (Hydrangea serrata var. yesoensis),and Noriutsugi (Hydrangea paniculata) bloom here, adding color to the rocky terrain.
Among them, Ezonokirinso (Sedum kamtschaticm)is an important wildflower as it is the food plant of Jozankei’s eponymous butterfly, the Jozan chequered blue. The most popular flower in Kappabuchi Pool is the Daimonjiso (Saxifraga fortunei), but the wildflower that should not be forgotten is the legendary Marubakinreika (Patrinia gibbosa), also known as the Jozan ominaeshi, or maiden flower.