Japanese urban legends are often associated with a fixed location in reality. Sometimes, the stories of events inspired by these very places are even scarier than the legends woven later. Two of such places are Inunaki howling tunnel and Maruoka sacrificial castle.
Whether Inunaki Village really exists or not is still an unanswered question. Rumors about this strange village appeared in Japan and spread on the Internet since the 1990s. Inunaki Village is said to be located deep in the countryside of Inunaki in Fukuoka Prefecture on the island of Kyushu. According to rumors, the village is connected to the outside by a single path through the Inunaki Tunnel.
The urban legend of the village says that everyone who entered the village suffered a terrible death. The legends and stories surrounding the village even mention scary warning signs, meaning that everyone who enters must face horrors as well as phenomena. Supernatural.
However, for many people, the legend of Inunaki village can be traced back to a real case that took place in the Inunaki tunnel. This tunnel is real in real life, it is a remote location with little traffic. Therefore, many gangs consider this place a favorite destination. On the afternoon of December 1988, a group of rogue teenagers abducted, robbed, and tortured 20-year-old Umeyama Kouichi. Then they burned the young man alive in the tunnel.
The brutality of the case has made the tunnel an obsession with vehicles as well as people in the area. Today, the Inunaki Tunnel, or Howling Dog Tunnel in Japanese, is considered one of the most haunted places in Japan. Despite the large concrete blocks blocking the entrance to the tunnel, many adventurous people still managed to get inside. Residents living near the tunnel said that their electronic devices and even their cars often broke down when approaching the site. Many people claim to hear both the barking of dogs and the horrible screams coming from deep inside the tunnel.
Although the truth about the village and the chilling phenomena in the tunnel is unknown, the urban legend of this place became the inspiration for Takashi Shimizu’s film Howling Village (2020).
Maruoka Sacrificial Castle
Hitobashira, a form of human sacrifice, was practiced in Japan until the 16th century. Legend has it that warlords would trap survivors in pillars, dams, and other foundations. floor to appease the gods who protect the building from attack and natural disasters. This custom was so widespread that it later became a term for workers being buried alive.
Maruoka Castle in Sakai, Fukui Prefecture, is home to one of the famous urban legends associated with this form of sacrifice. The story goes that one of the castle’s walls continued to crumble during construction, no matter how many times it was reinforced. After that, it was suggested that the lord of the castle perform the hitobashira sacrifice.
A single-handed farmer named Oshizu was called to be a sacrifice. She accepted the order, only asking the lord to make her sons samurai after the ceremony was performed. The lord agreed to the request and buried Oshizu under the castle’s large pillar.
Unfortunately, after completing the sacrifice, the lord of the castle did not keep his promise. Oshizu’s son was not made a samurai. Therefore, every spring, when the rain falls, the moat will overflow until it is time to cut the algae. Locals think it was poor Oshizu’s tears of grief. They comforted her by setting up a grave. At the same time, through the generations, people passed the verse:
”The rain that falls when the crop season returns is the rain that recalls Oshizu’s tears of grief.”