Glossary: place - lake

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Ashino-ko (芦ノ湖)

Also known as: Hakone Lake, Ashinoko Lake, Manji Pond

Lake Ashi is a crater lake that lies along the southwest wall of the caldera of Mt. Hakone, located in Hakone Town. It is known for its beautiful views of Mt. Fuji and many hot springs.

Legend has it that during the Nara Period, when the lake was still called Manji Pond, it was home to a poisonous nine-headed dragon. In order to appease the dragon's anger, the villagers would offer maidens to it as sacrifices. Holy Priest Mangan, who had come to Mt. Hakone to practice asceticism, heard the tale and bound the evil dragon to a rock at the bottom of the lake in order to save the villagers. The dragon promised to protect the mountains and villages, and thus reformed, became a dragon god. Thereafter the villagers fed the dragon red rice instead of their daughters.

Chuuzenji-ko (中禅寺湖)

Lake Chuuzenji, located in Nikkou National Park in the city of Nikkouview map location, Tochigi Prefecture, is one of Japan's 100 famous views. It is the 25th largest lake in Japan and drains through the Kegon Falls.

Suwa-ko (諏訪湖)

The largest lake in Nagano Prefecture, Lake Suwa extends into the cities of Suwa and Okayashi, and Shimosuwa Town of Suwa County. It has many surrounding natural hot springs and is a designated Protected Lake.

It is said that Takeda Shingen's will stated that he was to be laid to rest in a stone coffin with his armor in Lake Suwa.

Another legend associated with Lake Suwa is the Omiwatari (御神渡), or God's Crossing/Divine Crossing. In the legend, the god Takeminakata-no Mikoto leaves his home in the Kamisha to visit his consort, the goddess Yasakatome-no Mikoto in the Shimosha, six miles away, by crossing over the frozen surface of the lake. The ice cracks with a large booming sound and juts upward. This phenomenon was observed in 2004 and on Jan. 10, 2006, where the ice thrusted up to a height of around 60 centimeters.