Situated in the heart of the Japanese city of Matsumoto lies Nawate Dori (Nawate Street), a small but charming street dedicated to all things frog.
The story told is that this area in the Japanese Alps used to have high numbers of Kajika, a species of frog endemic to Japan. In 1959, the Pacific typhoon season was one of the worst on record and caused devastating floods across Japan. A consequence of this flooding was that Matsumoto’s Metoba River overflowed, flooding Nawate Dori and the surrounding streets. The flooding led to the kajika frogs leaving for higher ground upstream. Despite the locals’ efforts to clean up the flood damage, the frogs never returned.
Due to the absence of these much-loved amphibians, the locals decided to construct artificial frogs in the street. In 1972 Kaeru Daimyoujin, a shrine dedicated to frogs was constructed, and shortly after the local traders started selling small figurines and other items related to these animals. This interesting story sits within the heart of many local people and aims to exist as a symbol of rebirth.
Know Before You Go
There are several small shops lining the street selling frog-related items including small figurines and items of clothing.