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Yoza Fountain has gushed water 600 years

Date Posted: 2002-09-06

Located close to the west coast in Itoman City, Yoza Fountain has supplied water for drinking and irrigation to local population since 14th century.

According to a legend, a powerful chieftain was presiding over the area that is now Yoza. When he died people started digging him a grave, as was the custom. Suddenly, a strong stream of water gushed out of the ground. They took that as an omen that their powerful chief’s spirit would provide them wealth and help in their daily lives, and eventually constructed stonewalls around the fountain and dug channels to irrigate their crops. The fountain actually remains one of the few places in Okinawa that never dries. It is also the only area that has never experienced water rationing.

According to records, the area was constructed renew in 1727 with stonewalls and channels that kept the water clean and usable for everyone. The walls still remain in place although new superstructure was erected a couple of years ago.

Yoza has provided clean water to Takamine, Kochinda, Kaneshiro and Yoza Villages for over 600 years and continues to do so to this day.

Originally, the villagers had trouble keeping the water from leaking out of their channels. The problem was solved in 1837 when a wealthy local farmer Chikutoyuki Uehara devised a new way to channel the water where it was needed. It is said that he employed 47 men working on the water line every day to keep it in shape.

After WWII, the U.S. Military authorities took over the fountain and ordered local people to move further down the hill. The military constructed a pipeline from the fountain to supply water to Naha Military Port and Naha Air Base. That also meant that locals could not take water from the fountain for their needs any more.

Local farmers had requested a permission to use the water from the fountain for their rice paddies, but the request was turned down. Since they could not continue farming rice, they turned to growing sugar cane.

Today the Yoza Fountain has been rebuilt into a modern park that even has a small pool for children to play. Its water is again used for private houses in the area and irrigation of fields. It also offers a nice and cool place for picnics and family outings.

Yoza Fountain is not very easy to find. To get there, drive south to Itoman Rotary and take left from there. Follow the road about 2 km and then turn right towards Naha Country Club. Halfway up the hill towards the country club, Yoza Village is slightly to the right.

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