Lake Yogo is a small but scenic and serene lake. It is north to Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan.
Lake Yogo is said to be the site of Japan’s oldest Swan Maden folktale (羽衣伝説). But today I'll talk about historical facts leaving the legend for another opportunity.
This is Lake Yogo seen from Mt. Shizuga-take.
Shizuga-take Mountain is not a high mountain (421.13 meters high or about 1200ft) but it is very steep. It stands between Lake Biwa and Lake Yogo. The picture below is a view of Lake Biwa with a small Chikubu-shima Island/竹生島 seen from Mt. Shizuga-take. The three outstanding trees look like sky-piercing spears, which look symbolizing the battles that took place in the medieval time.
|south view from Mt. Shizuga-take|
Shizuga-take mountain is famous for the major battle between Hashiba (later Toyotomi) Hideyoshi and Shibata Katsuie which took place in the 16th century. It is called the Battle of Shizuga-take. About 28000 (20000 versus 8000) warriors fought around this mountain and many were killed. Hashiba won the victory, while Shibata committed ritual suicide with his wife in the fire set up to destroy his stronghold in Echizen province (eastern Fukui Pref. now). It was one of the most important turning points for the end of Japan's Age of the Warring States.
Three of the reasons of Hashiba’s victory is thought to be Sakuma’s (one of Shibata’s allies) impetuosity, Hashiba’s quick arrival, and the overall terrain.
Shibata’s allies’ forts were situated on a small chain of mountains surrounding Lake Yogo. Shibata thought they had the advantage of height.
However, Hashiba had plenty of room to maneuver about in the area south to the mountain. From top of Shizuga-take where Hashiba stood, the terrain of the battle field could be overseen. The south view from there: you can see Mt. Ibuki and Kotani to the east (below), Lake Biwa and Chikubu Island to the south (the 11th image).
Ojizo-sama stand to commemorate all the fallen soldiers.
Zencho-ji Temple/全長寺 has prayed to the Buddha for the repose of Menjyu/毛受 Brothers. When there was a strong possibility of Shibata’s defeat, the brothers fought pretending to be Shibata to give him time to prepare for the ritual suicide at his base back in Echizen. Being killed by the unknown soldiers was thought to be disgraceful. The temple also has performed religious services for the departed souls of unknown soldiers in the Battle of Sizuga-take.
The temple is in the heart of rice paddies.
The grounds of the temple are abundant in ajisai hydrangeas.
As you know, ajisai flowers change color because of the ph. level of the soil, Ajisai was thought to be immoral due to their changeable flower color in warrior class culture where warriors were supposed to remain loyal to their feudal lord.
The flowers disliked by the warriors are now consoling the souls of the dead warriors.