Steeped in myth and history, Yashaga Pond is famous for its legends of dragons, sacrifice, and isolation.
Located 1,100 metres above sea level, the pocket of untouched nature is surrounded by dense, ancient forest off the main route towards Kuzuryu Dam (the location of the submerged babysitter urban legend).
Due to the abundance of water within the pond, it is believed a protective spirit of a dragon resides under the surface. To honour the dragon's presence, shrines can be spotted around the perimeter. One such shrine is said to be the origin of the dragon urban legend.
In the year 817, the area suffered a devastating drought which forced the winter-supply crops to the brink of wither and ruin, threatening the lives of the local villagers.
One day, a villager was following a trail when he discovered a small snake among the grass.
"If thou deliver rain, I will offer my precious daughter to you," he promised.
That night, the snake appeared to him in a dream.
"I have informed the upstream dragon of your promise. Stay true to your deal."
Within moments, the sky clouded and heavy rain fell upon the village. The crops were saved, and the villagers would survive another year.
The next day, the snake approached the villager's home in the form of a young man in order to collect the daughter.
The villager had three daughters and explained the circumstances of the young man's presence.
The second-eldest daughter who was known for her kindness and open mind agreed to go with the visitor. "I am grateful the village has been saved, so I will go with you."
The snake, surprised by her willingness, asked, "Is there anything you would like to take with you?"
Upon careful thought, the daughter said, "I was weaving cloth when you arrived, and I would like to take it as my wedding garment."
Dressed in the simple cloth, the daughter ventured to the northern pond with the snake disguised as a young man.
A few days later, the villager became anxious at the absence of his daughter, and decided to pay her a visit.
Once reaching the pond, he called, "Dear daughter, please show yourself to your father once more."
The surface of the water rippled as a giant mass approached the surface. Suddenly, a massive dragon appeared from within the depths.
"Father, I am your daughter, but I can no longer appear in human form," the dragon admitted before abruptly disappearing under the surface.
Shortly after, the villager built a shrine next to the pond in dedication of his daughter, naming the pond after his daughter - 'Yashagaike'.
The descendants and family home belonging to the villager and his daughters remain near the lake. Visitors are welcome.
If you enjoyed reading about the Loved One's Curse, check out these similar posts on Hiding from Japanese Ghosts.
One of Kyoto's most famous haunted locations, Midoro Pond has ghostly sightings from a woman who rides a taxi, to the patients from nearby mental health facilities who have drowned.
Hidden among Kyoto's oldest temples, Hakachi has an urban legend of ghostly hands which emerge from the wells located within the cemetery.