The weather has been shockingly cold here in Kumamoto (my iPhone weather app read 34* F this morning!) but I still got up the gumption to go out exploring today. My sister-in-law is in town and I wanted to show her the countryside of Kumamoto Prefecture. As it turned out, heavy frost had already closed the road to Aso Volcano but we ended up instead on the south side of the mountain in the village of Aso-Shirakawa, where I snapped this cover.
This one-street town is the home of Shirakawa Fountainhead (or Shirakawa Spring Source), a water source rated as one of the top 100 in Japan. Every day, over 60 tons per minute of water gush out of the ground and into the Shirakawa River. When you visit the water source, you can actually see the water bubbling up from the spring; it almost looks black as it roils under the surface.
So that explains the picture of the pool on the bottom of the manhole cover. As for the butterflies, I’m planning on making a return trip here in the spring so maybe that visit will explain what the butterflies are about!