The Sanzu River (Japanese: 三途の川 Sanzu-no-kawa), or River of Three Crossings, is a Japanese Buddhist tradition and religious belief similar to the Greek concept of the River Styx. It is believed that the dead must cross the river on the way to the afterlife, a belief reflected in Japanese funerals when six coins are placed in the casket with the dead.
Real Sanzu Rivers in Japan
- in Kanra, Kanra, Gunma36°15′31″N 138°57′09″E / 36.258613°N 138.952444°E (confluence with Shirakura River)
- in Chōnan, Chōsei, Chiba35°25′22″N 140°15′54″E / 35.422747°N 140.264917°E (confluence with Ichinomiya River)
- in Zaō, Katta, Miyagi38°08′39″N 140°29′29″E / 38.144116°N 140.491333°E (confluence with Nigori River)
- in Mutsu, Aomori41°19′33″N 141°05′46″E / 41.325877°N 141.096083°E (drains from Usori Lake)
In the Touhou project franchise, the sanzu river of Gensokyo is occupied by the lazy ferryman, Onozuka Komachi. It is also covered in higanbana, also known as lycoris flowers.