With the arrival of autumn in Japan, tourist spots see a sudden influx of visitors, eager to do spot of sightseeing and wander around outdoors without melting into a big, sweaty mess like in summer.
One tourist spot in particular, however, has received more attention than usual this year as tourists squeeze onto boats in order to catch a glimpse of something rather special- the image of Jesus Christ himself!
First “discovered” late last year by a tourist guide, the image of everyone’s favourite water-walker stands tucked away in a rocky alcove on the lakeshore of Lake Towada in Aomori prefecture.
At over 60 km², Lake Towada is the largest body of water on the main island of Honshu, Japan. The lake sits on the border between Akita and Aomori prefectures at the northernmost point of the island, and sees thousands of visitors each year, taking advantage of the temperate climes and enjoying the beautiful natural scenery.
Reports of a large rock on the Aomori side of the lake shaped like Jesus Christ, however, have prompted both an increase in tourists and an outbreak of chatter online.
The rock, measuring around 1.5 metres tall, stands in a small alcove on the west bank of the lake, and can only be seen from the water.
Tourists have commented that the moss and distinctive colouring on the rock resemble JC’s hair, and that the “figure” can almost be seen to be standing with its hands together as if in prayer…
▼Can you spot the miraculous rock?
▼For those of you struggling to make it out, it’s this one. We think…
Japanese internet users are not entirely convinced, however, with many stating bluntly “Guys, it’s just a rock…”, and some jokers suggesting that the leader of men has been “slacking off in an alcove” all this time.
This isn’t the first time that rumours of Jesus Christ being present in Aomori prefecture, though.
The village of Shingō in the southeast part of the prefecture purports to be the true resting place of Jesus, with the story going that, at the age of 21, Jesus arrived in Japan in the pursuit of knowledge before returning to Judea in his early thirties.
While many Christians believe that Jesus was crucified, monuments in Shingō claim that Christ in fact fled to Japan, leaving his brother to take his place on the cross while he instead became a rice farmer in Shingō and lived to be 106 years old, leaving behind a family of his own.
It’s certainly quite a tale, but we might be quicker to believe it than we would to agree that the rock on Lake Towada’s shore bears any resemblance to the generally-accepted image of Jesus. The colouring on the “face” section of the rock certainly helps make it appear a little more lifelike, but it’s still kind of a hard sell.
We humans have a habit of finding familiar patterns in shapes and objects, and we all know how, if you squint hard enough, things like ordinary clouds can soon take on extraordinary shapes and forms.
I mean, personally, I think my spilled breakfast cereal milk looks a lot like Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, but not everyone would agree…