Tango no kuni Fudoki (the records of Tango Province) (丹後国風土記)
"Tango no kuni Fudoki" (The records of Tango Province) is a record of Tango Province (now the northern part of Kyoto Prefecture). Because it's a lost book, the contents are only found as quotations in the "Shoyu Nihongi" (a commentary of the Nihonshoki) and some other books. Because Fudoki (the description of regional climate, culture, etc.) was compiled by imperial order in around 713, it seems that the original text came into existence during the middle of eighth century at the latest.
Among a number of lost books of the Fudoki, Tango no Kuni Fudoki remains as relatively long articles. The legends of Urashima and Hagoromo (a robe of heavenly feathers), which belong to the oldest articles, are particularly unique, including Japanese poems written in Manyo-gana (an ancient Japanese writing system using Chinese characters). There is also the legend of Amano Hashidate (Bridge to Heaven).
(The following Japanese poems are written in kanji and kana:)
The Urashima Legend
The article, 'Tsutsukawa no Shimako, Mizunoe Urashima no ko,' provides a description. With the words 'heavenly immortal place' or 'immortal land,' the idea of immortals, Shenxian, from China, is seen. Mizunoe Urashima no ko' was regarded as Urashima Taro, a man from a popular Japanese children's story.
A good-looking man, Tsutsukawa no Shimako, or Mizunoe Urashima no ko, who was an ancestor of KUSAKABE no Obito and others, lived in the region of Tsutsukawa no sato.
IYOBE no Umakai no Muraji described as follows:
The story was introduced as above. During the reign of the Emperor Hatsuse no Asakura no Miya (the Emperor Yuryaku), Urashima no ko went fishing in a small boat. For three days and three nights, he didn't catch any fish, but he did catch a five-colored turtle.
He felt it was strange, but while he was sleeping the turtle turned into the most beautiful woman he had ever seen,
During their conversation, she talked about herself, saying, 'I am from a heavenly, immortal place.'
She told Urashima no ko to sleep, and when he woke up, before he knew, they had arrived at a big island under the sea. When they entered the gate of the palace, seven children and eight children saw him. They introduced themselves as 'Subaru-boshi stars' (the Pleiades) and 'Amefuri-boshi stars' (the Hyades), respectively. The woman welcomed him along with her parents, and during the entertainment she told him the difference between the human world and an immortal land. He stayed in the palace for three years, but eventually Urashima no ko missed his hometown and hoped to return to the mundane world instead of being in the heavenly, immortal world.
Tearfully saying goodbye to him, his wife gave him a tamakushige (a casket) and warned him, 'Never, ever open the casket if you want to come back again.'
Returning to find the neighborhood changed, he asked a man in the village. It had been said that Urashima no ko went to sea but never came back. When he opened the Tamakushige, the change happened as if something had fluttered and flown into the winds and clouds.
Urashima no ko, choked with tears, walked around, singing:
Clouds drift away to the land of the dead with Mizunoeno Urashima's message.
The goddess sings, and her beautiful voice echos.
Don't forget me; even the wind blows away the clouds in Yamato, your place.
In the morning, when I open the door, missing you, I hear the sound of the waves from the land of the dead.
People of succeeding generations would sing:
If Mizunoeno Urashima had not opened the casket, he could have met her again. Clouds are drifting into the land of the dead but I can't see her, how sad.
In another book, "Kojidan" (Talks of the Past), it is stated, 'In 825, the reign of the Emperor Junwa,
Mizunoe Urashima no ko in Yosa County, Tango Province,
he took a boat this year,
for his home village,' it said, then it seemed that 300 years had passed from the time of his departure until his homecoming. The date of his departure, in the reign of the Emperor Yuryaku, is not determined, but considering other Urashima legends, which have something in common, suggest that time of this world must had passed much faster than that of three years in the palace.
The Hagoromo (Robe of Heavenly Feathers) Legend
The article entitled 'Hiji no Manai, Nagu no yashiro' describes as follows:
Unlike other legends of Hagoromo handed down in other places, the story is unique.
In Manai Lake (eventually it became a swamp, they say) in the village, eight tennyo (heavenly maidens) were bathing, but an elderly couple by the name of Wanasa hid a robe of feathers and adopted one tennyo, who had lost her robe. Because of her, their home became rich.
However, when they became rich they drove her out, saying, 'You are not our child.'
The tennyo left, crying.
After that, the village of the elderly couple, who had driven her out, became a ruin. The tennyo was, they say, enshrined in Nagu-jinja shrine, Yasaka Town, Takeno County, as Toyoukehime no kami (a goddess of food).