Mayohiga in Perfect Cherry Blossom
Somewhere around the Great Hakurei Barrier?
"In an abandoned estate in the mountain recesses, in which a lost traveler, upon taking and returning with some daily necessities, received good luck," so to speak appeared as such in the Touhou Project. Like the Hakurei Shrine, it is located deep within the mountains near the Great Hakurei Barrier. It is unclear whether "mountain" refers to the Youkai Mountain or to some other. However, while the shrine is physically on both sides of the barrier, Mayohiga acts as the rest of the barrier separating Gensokyo from the Outside World. Humans who come near the barrier will start to become disoriented and lost, and if they continue onwards, they will find themselves spirited away to the almost dreamlike village of Mayohiga.
The Village of Cats (猫の棲む里 Neko no Sumu Sato) is believed to be located in Mayohiga, far away from the Human Village, where it is a place that Chen can try to make the cats here her servants. Chen brought the cats here because humans abandoned this village ages ago.
It is a very likely that the explanation of Yukari Yakumo and Ran Yakumo living in Mayohiga is actually not true. Yukari's residence has been described as "A place of unknown location that no-one should ever be able to reach," but Mayohiga is occasionally stumbled upon by lost humans, from which it is also possible to return safely. Moreover, the presence of information on Mayohiga in the Gensokyo Chronicle show some awareness of its existence on the humans' part.
The spellings マヨヒガ, 迷ひ家, and Mayohiga are all archaisms based on the pre-WWII orthography and do not reflect the pronunciation of the name. Modernly, it is spelled マヨイガ in katakana, 迷い家 in kanamajiri, and Mayoiga in Romaji. In Perfect Cherry Blossom, the old katakana spelling is used in the stage title while the modern kanamajiri spelling is used in the dialogue.
The original source of Mayohiga appears to be from 1910 book Tōno Monogatari (遠野物語, Tōno Legend), a collection of folk stories by Kunio Yanagita, known to be the founding father of Japanese folklore. The tale, told mainly in the northeast of Japan, is about a strange house reached by people wandering into another world.
Although there are unusually many variations of the story, the basic plot remains the same: a traveler lost among the mountain recesses stumbles upon a mansion with a beautiful door, and upon entering and leaving with some tableware and daily necessities, experiences good fortune. Some describe a lot of livestock living at the mansion and several kinds of flowers blooming out of season in its gardens, while other versions describe the place as completely deserted, with no sign of any living thing. Some versions definitely state that the traveler will be able to return, while others say that not all travelers will be able to do so. In some versions, the good luck brought by the items taken home is trivial, while in other versions the items bring the traveler's family great prosperity for many generations.
It was the version in Tōno Monogatari that became best-known internationally. In chapters 63-64 of the book, the appearance and circumstance of the Mayohiga is described thus:
- "At the house were many cows, horses, and chickens, and flowers of red and white were in bloom."
- "Likewise, entering through the foyer brought the visitor to a serving-room. In the parlor, a kettle of water was on to boil, as if someone were just about to make tea and had left for the lavatory."
In Tōno Monogatari, Mayohiga exists on Mount Shiromi in Tōno, and in manuscripts of the book, was even indicated on a map. The fact that Tōno was once a source of great wealth, seemingly from another world, perhaps contributed to the formation of this legend.
- Perfect Cherry Blossom
Mayohiga is the location of Stage 2 in Perfect Cherry Blossom, and the stage theme is "The Fantastic Tales from Tono". The heroines travel here to look for the source as to who took spring from Gensokyo, only to find the place deserted, except for some fairies. Chen appears as the mid-boss of the stage and then again as the boss. She announces that whoever wanders into Mayohiga can never return, but she is easily defeated, and the heroine is able to leave without any trouble.