Yakushisama of Yaba River
Long ago, near the village of Yabakawa, there was a small mountain called Yakushi yama, and on this mountain there was a shrine dedicated to Yakushisama, the Physician of Souls.
Near Yakushi yama, there was the home of millionaire. One night, a thief entered the home and made off with all of the money and treasure that he could carry. The thief, with his bag of loot slung across his back, fled from the rich man’s home onto Yakushi yama.
To the thief’s bewilderment, no matter how he tried, he could not escape from the mountain! Seven or eight times he tried, but he always ended up right back in the same place; in front of Yakushisama’s little shrine!
“What the heck is going on here!” Grumbled the thief. “If I keep stumbling around on this dung mountain, dawn will come” Finally, there before his eyes, the thief noticed a statue of Yakushisama. “Aha!” He cried. “So this is all because of you. No matter how far I run, I can’t leave this mountain. Well…, now I have a surprise for you. If you’ll just close your eyes for one minute…”
Having realized that the watchful eyes of the statue were the cause of his inability to escape, the thief drove nails into both of Yakushisama’s eyes. Afterwards, he was able to flee the mountain.
This left Yakushisama in quite a fix. He knew that people rarely visited the mountain, and that he would have to do something about this problem himself. So, starting that very night, Yakushisama secretly came down off of the mountain and made his way to the Yaba River for which the village of Yabakawa was named. There he washed his wounded eyes in the water of the Yaba river.
For many nights after that Yakushisama, returned to the river to wash his eyes. Finally, the nails fell from his eyes and he could see once again.
To this very day, people who have problems with their eyes come to the Yaba river to wash their eyes in the hope that the water that helped Yakushisama will help them, too.