Former site of Hisa Fukushima's tea shop

  Excerpts from The Great Onisaburo Deguchi

One day late in July 1898, when Kisaburo was praying at Obata Shrine, he received the following divine instruction: "Make your way to the northwest without delay. Someone is waiting for you. do not worry about anything, just get up and leave for Sonobe."

Sonobe was a second home for Kisaburo, and there was a meeting place there for the study of spiritual science. Feeling that this divine instruction held some special significance, he hastily left Anao on foot. After about five miles, the San-in road took him to a place called Toraten-ine in Yagi, near the Hozu River. There, in the shade of a fine old pine tree, stood a tea shop. As Kisaburo was taking a rest there, the mistress came over and spoke to him: "Excuse me, but what is your line of business?" "I am an investigator of gods," Kisaburo replied.

As this she seemed most delighted and said, "As it happens, my mother in Ayabe has suddenly been possessed by a god called Ushitora no Konjin, and many people have received divine virtue from this god. According to the god, a man able to establish his identity is to come from the east, and when that man comes, then we will understand why the deity is possessing my mother. That is why my husband and I have opened this tea shop offering rest and refreshment to travelers, just to look for this man my mother speaks of. I can't help thinking it must be you. Won't you please come to see my mother just once? These are some of her spirit writings."

At the time Kisaburo was wearing an old-fashioned cape, was carrying a large valise, and had his teeth blackened. When he examined the loose sheets of paper which the woman offered him, they seemed at first very poorly written, but there was at the same time something of unassailable refinement about them. Furthermore, these writings of "Ushitora no Konjin" seemed to have much in common with his own view of God and his own spiritual experience. Therefore he was not unmoved by what he had heard and seen, but took his departure with the words, "It is possible I will visit Ayabe sometime in the future."


Nao's third daughter, Hisa, opened a tea shop in this place to wait for the "person from the east" who would decipher Nao's Ofudesaki messages. This person turned out to be Onisaburo.

Haida Pass

Kisaburo's kanku (a kind of haiku) teacher, Seinosuke Yagi (alias Dohenkutsu Uhososho Asanebo Kanraku) and his daughter, Ben, walked over this pass to Anao to meet Kisaburo.

Former site of the residence of Ben Yagi

Kisaburo and Ben had a fleeting romance.

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