- 3 min read

Kamo Shrine

Home of the best water in Japan

When you alight from the train on the platform of Iyo Saijo Station you are likely to see a stone plaque declaring that Saijo is the ’Spring Water Capital of Japan’; the most delicious and cleanest water in the nation. Most people, whether in high-rise apartment complexes or in old traditional houses, are supplied this gift of nature directly via well. The water comes out clean. It has not the smallest hint of a chemical taste. For those coming from big cities like Osaka this is nearly unbelievable.

The fact is, though, that not all wells in Saijo get quite the same water. Different regions have different levels of different minerals, and so finding 'the best water in Japan' can be tricky. There are parts of Tanbara-cho that have over 100 milligrams per liter of calcium, which is considered too high, and neighborhoods like Tamatsu with a more optimal 58. There are dozens of artesian wells in different parts of the city, some in private possession, for example the izakaya Shanimuni, others in public areas like by the library, post office, city office, the port, and by the farmers market. Being more conveniently located, these are more well known. But if you want to find the exact well that has won the award of Best Spring Water in Japan two separate times in the reign of the current emperor Heisei, then you must proceed to a small shrine in a deep corner of Saijo.

Kamo Shrine, by the banks of the Kamo River (different kanji are used for each respective Kamo), possesses the well in question. The water comes out of the spout that is used for ablutions within the shrine, so it might feel a little strange drinking the water as well. Bring a water receptacle of some kind to fill up. The water is sweet, in mineral water fashion, and is as healthy as can be. Most drinking water and beverages are acidic, and drinking water rich in dissolved minerals is good for more than just heart burn. Make sure to enjoy it while you are there, because water of this class is certainly expensive at a supermarket!

The shrine itself is very basic, and not particularly beautiful or unique. The stone stairs and bridge for those coming from the riverbank are very nice, but all in all, with the exception of the excellent water, Kamo Shrine isn't a remarkable sight. Worry more about bringing a water bottle than a camera. The neighborhood is very nice, with plenty of trees and the river running along it. Help yourself to some water and enjoy a picnic in the sun by the riverside!

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