Kamuy Kotan – the Battle Between Demon and God

Once upon a time in the legendary site of Kamuy Kotan, the demon Nitnekamuy was struck down by the blade of the god Samaykur and turned to stone for attacking the Ainu of Kamikawa. It is said that the Ainu prayed to the gods for safe passage through the treacherous waters of the Ishikari River each time they passed through this area. The Kotan Festival is held here every September to calm the spirit of the demon and pray for safe travels.


Component part

(1)The Giant Holes of Kamuy Kotan: Nitnekamuy O Raosma I, the footprints of the demon


Oketsu are the name for the round holes carved into the bedrock along the river banks that are created by the current’s passage over many years. The entire 1,200 meters of the area of this natural monument has been designated by the city of Asahikawa as a cultural property. In Ainu legend, the holes are said to be the footprints of Nitnekamuy, from the time the demon was chased down by the god Samaykur. In the rock upstream, you can see the cut marks left by the deity’s sword.

City-designated Monument

(2)Nitnekamuy Netopake, the Demon’s Body


The massive rock that the Nitnekamuy Pass travels through is said to be the resting place of the demon Nitnekamuy, struck down by the sword of the god Samaykur. The demon’s body, the stone on the opposite bank said to be the head and other strange rock formations of Kamuy Kotan are made of pelitic schist and other metamorphic rock shaped through the influence of heat and pressure. Geologist travel to Kamuy Kotan from across the country and overseas for its readily observable collection of serpentinite, chert, greenstone and other metamorphic rock.

(3)Nitnekamuy Sapa, the Demon’s Head


In the Legend of Samaykur told by the Ainu of Kamikawa, this rock is the head of Nitnekamuy after the hero cleaved it from the demon’s body, which is said to be the rock resting on the other bank of the river. The strange rock formations and other geographical features of Kamuy Kotan were formed over thousands of years of shifts and collisions in continental and oceanic plates. The area is also known as the Kamuy Kotan Metamorphic Belt, where pelitic schist, serpentinite and other metamorphic rock can be observed.

Basic Information

Cultural property name
Kamuy Kotan – the Battle Between Demon and God