Creative spill: Japanese hot spring gets gallery of rain-activated artwork


KAGA, Ishikawa – A hot spring area in this city in central Japan is home to a new series of public paintings, but with a special twist – they can only be seen when it is raining.

The “Kaga Rain Art” event takes place in three of the city’s “onsen” spa districts to keep tourists entertained even on rainy days, which is often the case in the Hokuriku region on the Sea of ​​Japan coast. . The weather changes so often that it has spawned a local saying: “Don’t forget your umbrella, even if you forget your lunch box.”

The project was organized to revitalize the tourism sector in the hot spring region, which has suffered greatly from the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the images painted on the grounds of the Hatori Shrine in Yamashiro Onsen District is a mythical three-legged raven called “yatagarasu”. The hot spring is said to have been discovered when Gyoki, a high Buddhist priest of the Nara era (710-794), saw a yatagarasu treating an injured wing in the soothing waters. There is also a pattern related to the Yakuoin Onsenji temple in the district, which has a connection to the Buddhist priest Myogaku, who created the basis for the Japanese kana phonetic syllabary during the Heian period (794-1185).

In the Yamanaka Onsen district, images including an egret and a geisha are painted on the floor of a plaza in front of the Yamanakaza Theater.

On the Shibayama Lake promenade in the Katayamazu Onsen district, the images include a duck, fireworks and a snow crystal in homage to the late physicist Ukichiro Nakaya, who was born in the area and invented artificial snow.

People affiliated with the city government and the hot springs came up with ideas for the patterns, and around 30 people, including college students from Ishikawa Prefecture, painted them with special water-repellent sprays. The locations were selected to combine the images emerging in the rain with remarkable buildings or views, creating charming photo spots.

Asami Shida, from the Tourism Exchange Division of Kaga Municipal Government, said, “We hope this will enhance the awareness and brand power of Kaga City.

While artwork can be enjoyed for about one to two months until the sprays wears off, they can be difficult to see depending on the viewer’s angle and the amount of rain. For more information, contact the division by phone at 0761-72-7900 (in Japanese).

(Japanese original by Nanami Hidaka, Osaka Regional News Department)

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