A part of the Netherworld in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody
On top of the Youkai Mountain
The Netherworld (冥界 Meikai, lit. Gloomy World) is the land where ghosts and phantoms reside after death. After a phantom has been judged by the Yama, they'll either go to Hell, Heaven or here in the Netherworld. The world frequently appears in various Touhou Project games and Manga, making it an important location.
The threat level in the Netherworld is 'high' and encounterable youkai include phantoms, ghosts and other types of spirits. After death, humans pass through the Road of Liminality, cross over the Sanzu River, and receive the Yama's judgement. Depending on the severity of their crimes, they are sent to either Hell, Heaven, or the Netherworld. Amongst these, the Netherworld is where the guiltless dead spend their time as phantoms, until they achieve nirvana or reincarnate.
Different from the desolate Hell, the Netherworld is calm, though it has various seasons. It is filled with beautiful cherry blossoms in spring, and dyed with beautiful red leaves in autumn. The Netherworld is a notable place for people in the know for their cherry blossom viewing parties. The animals here are also dead, so they fly in the sky silently and splendidly. Like the Lunar Capital, it is a Pure Land where things do not change or decay with time; things from the Netherworld which seem old were simply made that way for aesthetic reasons.
Hakugyokurou, located in the Netherworld, is where two notable Touhou characters live: Youmu Konpaku and Yuyuko Saigyouji. The former is a gardener and the latter is the "princess" of the land. The manor is a beautiful structure, surrounded by walls and stairs using designs from the continent, and has a Japanese-style residence and Zen garden at its highest level. The entrance to the manor is a very long stairway called "Hakugyokurou's Stairway" (白玉楼階段 Hakugyokurou Kaidan).
Even though the dead comprise most of the Netherworld's inhabitants, the Netherworld is a distinct part of Gensokyo. However, travelling between the two is restricted by a gate above the clouds, sealed by the Barrier of Life & Death. During the main events of Perfect Cherry Blossom, a hole opened in the barrier between the Netherworld and Gensokyo, and it has become easier to travel between them. This is because the barrier was weakened by Yuyuko Saigyouji, making it possible to simply fly over the gate, and Reimu Hakurei (in her scenario) was able to destroy it. Afterwards, Yukari Yakumo was asked to repair the damage, but apparently never got around to it, as the boundary continues to thin through the summer of Imperishable Night.
- Perfect Cherry Blossom
The Netherworld first appeared as the centre of the main events of Perfect Cherry Blossom, being the location of stage 5 and the Final Stage. The spring was taken from Gensokyo and placed in the Netherworld in order to fully bloom the Saigyou Ayakashi, a youkai cherry blossom tree that, unknown to Yuyuko Saigyouji, holds her dead body inside. After the heroines went across the Barrier of Life & Death in Stage 4, they went up Hakugyokurou's Stairs, in Stage 5, fighting ghostly fairies, but then encountered Youmu Konpaku. She warned the heroines that coming to the Netherworld is forbidden amongst the living, but was eventually defeated. After going deeper into the Netherworld on Stage 6 to Hakugyokurou's garden, they encountered Yuyuko, the final boss of the game.
Ten days later, the heroines re-entered the Netherworld as part of the Extra and Phantasm stages. In the Extra Stage, the heroines tried to find the one who was not repairing the barrier between the Netherworld and Gensokyo. They fought bizarre ghostly fairies and spinning enemies, as well as bumped into Chen. Some time later, they encountered Ran Yakumo, only to discover that her mistress was asleep and that Ran was guarding her. After what was considered an unnecessary, long battle, Ran was defeated, and the heroines had to come back at night. This formed the precedent for the Phantasm Stage, which is similar to the Extra, but more difficult. After fighting more bizarre ghostly fairies, Ran re-appeared as a midboss, only to be defeated again. Eventually, Yukari Yakumo appeared, with the heroine demanding that she should fix the barrier. She still didn't fix the barrier even after defeat.
- Phantasmagoria of Flower View
The Netherworld appeared as Youmu Konpaku's stage location in Phantasmagoria of Flower View at Hakugyokurou's Stairs. The stage generally appears on stage 3, 4 or 5 of most of the playable characters' scenarios, but on 6 in Lyrica Prismriver's scenario. Various characters will come here to look for leads on the flower incident, only to find and defeat Youmu, and discover that the flower incident has not spread to the Netherworld; only in Gensokyo. In Eiki Shiki, Yamaxanadu's scenario, she'll come here to see if Youmu has been keeping up with what she (was supposed to have) learnt from the Yama, which she hasn't.
- Ten Desires
The Netherworld once again appears in Ten Desires on Stage 1, where ZUN states that it's "been a while since we last went to the Netherworld". The heroines immediately thought that the cause of overflowing divine spirits was coming from here, only to find that Yuyuko Saigyouji does not know anything about it. She is the stage's boss, and a random divine spirit is the midboss. Yuyuko points the heroines towards the Myouren Temple following her defeat. In Youmu Konpaku's scenario, Yuyuko forbade Youmu from leaving the Netherworld to further investigate the incident unless she could defeat her, which she soon did.
- Shoot the Bullet
The Netherworld frequently appears on Shoot the Bullet, specifically on stages 6, 8 and Ex-3 & 4. On Stage 6, Aya Shameimaru encounters Chen and Youmu Konpaku to try and take photos of their danmaku. The previous stage and the next stage are both at the Scarlet Devil Mansion. After the mansion on Stage 7, Aya will come back here and encounter Ran Yakumo and Yuyuko Saigyouji to try and take photos of their danmaku in Hakugyokurou garden. There are 8 scenes on both stage 6 and 8. Additionally on the Extra stage, after Aya met Flandre Scarlet at the mansion, she will come here again to encounter Yukari Yakumo, trying to take photos of her danmaku. Aya will then fight Fujiwara no Mokou on Ex-5 and 6 at Eientei.
- Impossible Spell Card
The Netherworld appears on the seventh day of Impossible Spell Card, where Seija Kijin finds herself here and carries on defending herself from stronger humans and youkai who are trying to capture her. She'll fight against Marisa Kirisame, Sakuya Izayoi, Youmu Konpaku and Sanae Kochiya as they try to capture her with their "impossible" spell cards. There are 8 scenes total in the day. The previous day was located at the Untrodden Valley in the Youkai Mountain, whilst the next day is located at the Shining Needle Castle.
The stairway on the Extra of Perfect Cherry Blossom
The stairway on the Phantasm of Perfect Cherry Blossom
Netherworld at night in Immaterial and Missing Power
The Zen garden in Immaterial and Missing Power
The stairway in Phantasmagoria of Flower View
The stairways in Shoot the Bullet
The garden in Shoot the Bullet
Hakugyokurou in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody
The stairways in Ten Desires
The stairways in Impossible Spell Card
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