Taba Gorge

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Taba Gorge spans 10 kilometers from the village of Tabayama to the Yanagisawa Pass on the northern side of the Daibosatsu Ridge. Through the gorge flows the Tamba River, from which much of Tokyo’s drinking water is sourced. As the surrounding mountains are covered in lush deciduous forests, the valley is ideal for watching the seasons change. Taba Gorge is especially popular as a driving route in autumn.

There are a number of scenic spots along the gorge, but none have a history as tragic as the Oiran Abyss, the story of which dates back to the Warring States period (1467-1568).

Legend has it that there was once a secret gold mine near the gorge controlled by the Takeda clan, a prominent samurai family who ruled Kai Province (present-day Yamanashi Prefecture). The Takeda used the gold to fund their battles and bankroll their extensive spy network, which included many female ninja, who posed as holy women, servants, and sex workers to gain valuable information from rival clans. The clan also employed 55 courtesans or oiran to entertain the miners during periods of rest.

The Takeda were forced to close the mining operation, in part due to declining yields and in part because the clan was rapidly losing ground to other warlords. In an effort to prevent this secret from falling into enemy hands, the clan leaders decided to eliminate the courtesans, fearing that they might know too much about the gold caches.

The men constructed a massive platform suspended over the gorge, and ordered the women to practice their dancing in preparation for a party in the evening. As they danced, the men destroyed the platform supports, causing the women to plunge to their deaths on the sharp rocks below.


Venue Address

Tabayama-mura, Kitatsuru-gun

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