Long ago, a white snake, the retainer of a dragon, lived by the springs.
The white snake lived by the waters and acted as their natural protector.
The waters gradually grew and grew until they became as deep as a big bathtub.

One day, the dragon told the snake:
“The waters have grown. You surely can’t protect them alone.”
In that instant, twenty-four angels alighted at the springs.
The angels acted as the sworn protectors of the spring. The white snake also continued in its role as protector.

One day, the white snake was injured. It suffered and writhed in pain.
The dragon said,
“Touch the waters.”
And so the white snake did, and its wounds mysteriously healed.
The angels and snake rejoiced and continued protecting the spring.

As the days and months passed, Sugatani was eventually embroiled in war.
The warriors became injured, and the women despaired.
This spring was where the warriors would come to heal their wounds and where the women would come to unwind and ease their minds from the wartime struggle.
The white snake and angels were pained to see the people struggle, and continued protecting the shrine.

Eventually, the battle ended, and more time passed.

The springs continued being protected by the white snake and angels, forever and ever.
Today, this spring is known as Sugatani Hot Springs and continues to soothe the hearts and souls of visitors.

 Text by Mari Nakanishi