Sōgen Temple (Kappa-dera)
The Folklore of Kappa-dera Temple
The common name of Sōgen Temple is Kappa-dera. A Kappa is a mythical creature that is said to live in water.
According to a legend, at the beginning of the 19th century there lived in the vacinity a raincoat maker named Kappa Kawatarō. In Japanese the word for "raincoat" is also "kappa". This was once a basin with poor drainage, therefore rains would often bring floods causing undue trouble for the residents. Because of this, Kawatarō began the construction of a series of drainage ditches with his own finances. The project was said to have been completed only with the assistance of the kappa living in the Sumida River whom had been helped by Kawatarō in the past. It is said that those who actually witnessed the river kappa thrived in business.
This legend is the origin of the name "Kappa-dera". Furthermore, the name of "Kappa bashi" (a bridge that once stood at the Kappa bashi intersection) is also said to have come from this legend. At the temple they celebrate the Kappa Daimyōjin and there is a stone monument that is said to be Kappa Kawatarō's grave.
Various kappa around かっぱ/合羽橋 Kappabashi