Himeji Castle is the site of a famous legend in Japanese folklore, Okiku's Well. Okiku is a name of a beautiful servant and lover of the Aoyama family Lord. One day she overheard the Aoyama clan's retainer plot to murder the lord and assume the lordship. Okiku divulged what she heard to her lord. As a result of Okikus loyalty, the plot failed. Later when the Aoyama retainer discovered that it was Okiku who interfered with his plans, he became very angry and wanted her killed.

Okiku was a favorite of the Lord, and was entrusted to caring for a priceless set of ten dishes, a great honor. To ensure her fate, the foiled retainer had one of the ten treasured dishes stolen and accused Okiku. It is said that he offered to vindicate Okiku if she would become his lover, which she refused. To lose such a precious treasure was punishable by death. Sadly, Okiku was subsequently sentenced to death on account of the missing dish. She was tortured and thrown into the well. It is said that her sobs and wails could be heard coming from the bottom of the well, driving the Lord to a state of near madness. Okiku, it is said could be heard counting the treasured dishes, One, two, three,..... up until nine and then a heartrending wail would ensue. One version of the legend states that this continued until a friend of the Aoyoma retainer "Mitsakuni Shonin" exorcised the well. Other believe she can still be heard at night. What do you believe ??




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