Vagabond Tim
Like many of Japans legends, or in fact statements made by its populous, there are two completely contradictory yet completely accepted stories of how Kinosaki Onsen came to be, one refers to a Buddhist saint that prayed for 1000 days to cause the springs to appear, the other “Kounoyu” refers to these once extinct Storks.

Apparently some fellows about 1400 or so years back witnessed an injured stork land in the water and be instantly healed, wanting to share in this miracle they built a series of hot-springs that use this water as well as a foot-bath and egg cooking station… I make no apologies for how little sense this makes, such is Japan.

The reality of their reappearance in the region is to me far more impressive.  About forty years ago they were extinct in Japan due to a combination of toxic agricultural chemicals and over hunting. Given that these little fellows are one of the historic explanations for the regions very existence this simply would not stand.

After years of reclaiming territories for them and banning many of the aforementioned agri-poisons in 2007 they were again laying eggs and living in the area, although being antisocial creatures they are still really hard to find and photograph without scaring them into fleeing at speeds faster than my camera will focus.

I tried to photograph these little fellows myself but they are faster than I am

Yes they actually put effort into saving this unpleasant looking little fellow

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