Japanese Village Offers GBP 8,000 For Slippery Creature’s Capture

A village in Japan is reportedly offering more than GBP 8,000 to anyone who captures the mythical ‘tsuchinoko’ serpent during an organised hunting event to be held this spring.

The tsuchinoko, literally translated to “child of hammer”, is a legendary snake-like creature that has remained elusive despite numerous reported sightings.

It is described as being approximately 10 to 30 inches long, with a body shaped like a snake that has swallowed a large meal and a triangular head.

Tsuchinoko Fest 2023 is set take place in the village of Higashishirakawa, in central Japan, on 3rd May 2023 after a four-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Locals are hoping to finally catch the animal during the search, which will be held alongside several events.

The village prides itself on being a “tsuchinoko hotspot” and has been organising the fest ever since 1989, with a prize pool of JPY 1 million (GBP 6,195).

And each passing that the creature is not captured, it adds a JPY 10,000 to the pool, with the 31st edition now reaching a total of JPY 1.31 million (GBP 8,115).

The festival has become increasingly popular over the years, so much so that the local authorities have decided to limit the number of participants to only 2,000 people.

This is reportedly due to lack of parking space, as well as safety concerns with the ongoing pandemic.

Photo shows people searching for tsuchinoko, the legendary animal, during the Tsuchinoko Fest in Japan in 2019. Tsuchinoko, literally translating to “child of hammer”, is a snake-like being. (Higashishirakawa Municipal Government/CEN)

The main event will be organised into three groups of 270 people with a local guide assigned to each one.

Participants will also get the chance to win various prizes in other planned events such as a treasure hunt for tsuchinoko-themed ‘Easter eggs’ and fun lotteries.

The tsuchinoko is believed to be a native to the deep and remote mountains and forests of Japan, and some parts of the Korean peninsula.

According to legend, the animal has the ability to speak and a tendency for lying – and even a taste for alcohol.

Some 20 reports of local citizens encountering the tsuchinoko have been made since the beginning of the 20th century, but no one has managed to catch it.

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