A-Yokai-A-Day: The Bōrei of Tsuruga Province

Today I am in Kyoto attending the Mononoke Ichi flea market and hyakki yagyo night parade. It’s been 3 years since the last time this event took place and the last time I went; coronavirus put it on hold. So it’s great to finally be back and attending one of the coolest yokai-themed festivals in Japan!

Tonight’s story takes place in Tsuruga, which is only about one hour from my home. In fact, I drove through Tsuruga on the way to Kyoto to get to this festival. I made sure not to use the toilet though, just to avoid any bōrei or henge.

The Bōrei of Tsuruga Province

A traveler staying at in inn in Tsuruga Province went to the outhouse late one night. Looking out the window, he saw a woman in a white kimono hanging around the back door, looking dejected in the hazy moonlight.

The traveler grew suspicious and watched her for a while, but she did not go inside. He grew even more suspicious. He left the outhouse and approached the woman, but then she utterly vanished. Surely she was a henge of some sort, he thought. He went back to his room without telling anyone and went to sleep.

When dawn broke, the traveler saw the innkeeper kneeling before an altar and making an offering of incense. He turned to the traveler and said, “Today is the anniversary of my wife’s death. And last night in my dreams, I vividly saw her come here and loiter at the back door!” Then he burst into tears.

The traveler told me that he didn’t have the heart to tell the innkeeper what he had seen.

A ghostly woman loiters by a back door in the light of the moon.

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