Society | Jan 31

In Search of Tokugawa's Buried Treasure

Shizuoka, Jan 31 (News On Japan) - A gaping hole, the size of a human standing upright, has mysteriously appeared in the backyard of a residential area in Shizuoka, leading to a tunnel-like horizontal cavity extending about four meters. At the end, there lies a stone wall, as if to tantalize what might lie beyond. The landowner, Kato, 65, suspects with 99% certainty that it is an air-raid shelter.

However, for Kato, it's the remaining 1% chance of treasure that holds his interest. "There's a slim chance there could be treasure. That's what I'm betting on," he says. His speculation isn't entirely baseless, considering the proximity of the site to Hamamatsu Castle, a location historically surrounded by samurai residences.

Located just 300 meters in a straight line from Hamamatsu Castle, the site has intrigued locals and historians alike. A visit to the local library reveales a late Edo period map indicating the site as near a checkpoint – the entrance to the castle. Local lore supports this, with elder residents recalling a stone monument marking the checkpoint to the castle.

The enigma deepens with the legend of the "Tokugawa Buried Treasure." Hamamatsu, being a Tokugawa Ieyasu-bonded land, has long been subject to such myths. While similar treasure hunts in Gunma Prefecture's Katashina Village have yet to yield any discovery, the lure of a supposed 20 trillion yen treasure continues to attract seekers.

This recent discovery in Hamamatsu, a city where buried coins from the Kamakura period have been previously unearthed, only adds to the mystery. The dark depths of this hole, alongside ancient documents, stir the imagination. Old maps indicate a large temple, Mansho-in, nearby during the Edo period, and historical documents suggest significant Tokugawa vassals resided there.

Kato expresses a keen desire to explore beyond the stone wall, hoping to uncover what lies further in. Hamamatsu City has already visited the site for inspection. If the hole is indeed an air-raid shelter, the city plans to take responsibility for its appropriate handling and fill it in. But for Kato, the mystery of what lies ahead remains an irresistible allure.


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