So, I traveled to Japan and had my mind set one seeing a mermaid mummy. There are a half dozen or so scattered about the country and the one by Mount Fuji seemed the most likely. Like me, you probably think that you can just sashay up to a temple and see one. Right? Wrong.
My brother and sister-in-law were kind enough to rent a car in Fuji city where she was born. We drove an hour through the real back woods to the middle of nowhere. Eventually we ended at a rock with a Japanese symbol on it and a path nearby. After contemplating our next move we blindly followed the path and a small temple complex revealed itself through the mountain fog. A real Indiana Jones style entrance. When we got down there a little old lady popped her head out and said “I never thought youd actually find me” in Japanese. If I hadn’t been with locals I never would have. My sister in law was born and raised in Fuji and neither her nor her parents had ever heard of the temple or the mermaid.
We walked over to the temple and the little old lady let us inside. There was no electricity but she had a flash light held up to a red curtain on the opposite side of the room. And then, she pulled it aside and revealed the mermaid. It was glorious! I inspected it closely and saw that it had a mammalian head and heads and the body of a rather large fish. Unlike most mummified mermaids Ive seen it had scaled skin all the way the arms to the hands. The skull really didn’t seem like a monkey but Im not sure what else it could have been. It was a real hide because the hair and follicles were visible from up close. It was rather large, probably near 4’ if it wasn’t scrunched up. The pictures don’t do it justice because its very thick and reflective glass. I have good camera equipment with directional flashes and still just couldn’t nail a great shot in the dark. There is no door on the box and they will not remove it due to efforts to fight moisture destroying it. There is also evidence that insects got into the head at some point. Most likely moths.
I scanned the cover of a small book and paper about the temple that the woman gave me. Im told it claims that the mermaid appeared to Prince Shotoku 1,400 years ago and before dying taught him many lessons about the sanctity of life. The mermaid was once a man but was punished by the gods for futile killing of animals. The prince built a temple to house it’s body so that others can come and remember it’s teachings. The original temple was struck by a variety of accidents and it was moved several times over the years until its spirit was eventually quelled at its present location.
Apparently I am one of the only white people to ever visit the temple. Im not surprised since there is no information online other than the fact that it has a mermaid there. Lets try and change that! Here is an address for the temple and phone number you can reach the local shinto sect to make an appointment. Good luck! You’ll need it.
The lady asked us to please donate 300 yen per person which is about $3.