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Seasons and culture of Japan

Yokosuka's amazing ”Old Faithful" springs, called: HASHIRI-MIZU (走水)

In this article, we will take a look at Yokosuka's amazing ”Old Faithful" springs, called: HASHIRI-MIZU (走水). Yokosuka is one of the few cities in Japan which has its own water-works/supply -- drawn from powerful natural springs which flow out of the Kannonzaki Hills. The springs, and the local temple & district, are called "HASHIRI-MIZU" -- 走水 -- the kanji characters literally mean: running + water. Back in the late-1860s, when the French technical & construction engineer team came to Yokosuka to help build the Iron Works (which later turned into the Japanese Imperial Naval Arsenal [Navy Base]), they needed to find a reliable & abundant source of water to supply all of the industrial/facilities infrastructure and the people who worked there. They were taken to see the HASHIRI-MIZU springs, and the Frenchmen immediately saw that they would be meet the requirements, and by 1874, a reservoir and piping system were built to supply the growing Naval complex. Today, the springs and water-works still function, and provide for about 30% of Yokosuka City's needs. If you drive on the road south from the Navy Base towards Kannonzaki Park, there is a parking lot (on the left-hand-side) where you can stop -- and there are spigots from which you can fill-up bottles with fresh HASHIRI-MIZU water (for free!) It is said that after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 (which caused extensive damage to Yokosuka), the spring's flow was not interrupted. Also, the (restricted) area over the old reservoir is now covered with cherry (sakura) trees, and during the blossoming season (usually in late-March or early-April) it is opened to the public for "Hana-Mi" flower-viewing picnic parties. Finally, nearby the HASHIRI-MIZU waterworks is the only remaining "large" natural beach on the Tokyo Bay-side of Yokosuka. We hope you will be able to visit this interesting area while you are living here.

written by Goodfield

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