NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/1/8


落合の石畳 Ochiai-no-Ishidatami Stone-paved Road in Ochiai

Jp En

There is a stone-paved road remaining in Ochiai, Nakatsugawa City, Gifu Prefecture. In the late Edo period (1603-1868), stone-pavement work was given to the road between Ochiai Jikkyoku Pass and Magome-juku Post Station of the Nakasendo Road, because this section was very steep and difficult to go through.

According to the historical record, the pavement was repaired for the procession of Princess Kazunomiya, who was on her journey to Edo for the marriage to the emperor in 1861. In the Meiji period (1868-1912), a part of the pavement was cleared away for a construction work, as a result of which only a part of the original pavement remained.

In 1988, a restoration work was given to the section of 840 m in total length. Together with the historic sites of Honjin and the large iron pot in Ochiai-juku Post Station and the stone monument inscribed with “Kisoji Road, further ahead” written by Toson Shimazaki, a novelist in the Meiji period, this stone-paved road will bring the travelers back to the old times.
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2007/8/17


陸奥上街道 Mutsukami-kaidou The Mutsukami-kaido Road

Jp En

The Mutsukami-kaido Road connects Ichinoseki on the Oshu-kaido Road and the Dewa-kaido Road via Kurikoma, Ichihasama-Masaka and Iwadeyama. It is a nationally designated Historic Site. The road is well-known as the ancient route of the Oku no Hosomichi, which Basho Matsuo used on a Haiku journey coming back from Hiraizumi in 1686. Currently, this ancient route has been partly paved with stones and restored, but still remains quiet, surrounded with old trees. The name “Oku-no-hosomich (the narrow road to the deep north)” sounds just apposite. It reminds us of good old days.
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2007/5/22


赤沢宿 Akasawa-juku Akasawa-juku Post Town

Jp En

Akasaka-juku is a small village located in Hayakawa-cho, Minamikoma-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture.
Akasaka-juku was a post town situated along Minobu highway that connects Minobu-san Mountain, which is a head temple of Nichiren Buddhism, and  Shichimen-san Mountain known for its mountain worship.
The town was crowded with worshippers from many different study groups called “kou”. In Meiji period, “Minobu-kou” became popular and attracted even more worshippers.
Inns located in the town still display wooden plaques called “Ita tamanegi” on which each kou’s name was inscribed as to show their regular inn.
The town, being surrounded by mountains, also produced many fine craftsmen such as carpenters, lumberjacks and sawyers.
In 1993, the town was designated as an Important Cultural Buildings Preservation District.
Akasawa-juku is located between deep mountains and valleys, where stores and homes are still preserved on streets with stone pavements like in ancient times.
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2007/2/8


今市石畳 Imaichi-ishidatami Imaichi Stone-Paved Road

Jp En

The stone-paved road in Imaichi is part of the old Higo road that was used in the past. This important historical path was designated as an important cultural heritage site of the prefecture in 1972.

Imaichi Stone-Paved Road is located in the town of Notsuharu in Oita Prefecture. Notsuharu-cho became part of Higo territory from 1601, and Imaichi and the Notsuharu area formed a post station for the Higo clan until the late Tokugawa shogunate.

It is said that a teashop along the road here once prospered as a trading center. The stones used to pave the road reflect former ages. The 2m-wide section of stone-paved road lies in the center of the 6m-wide road. It stretches about 660m and reminds us of the time in the past when a daimyo lord would pass along this road.

The Kagokaki race, which takes place annually in August, is also famous. It is a race to reenact the cityscape back then. During the race, people run along the pathway, wearing a costume and carrying a basket.
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二王座 Niouza Niouza

Jp En

Niouza is an historical street of Samurai residences dating to the Azuchi-Momoiro period, and is located in Usuki, Oita Prefecture. It was selected as one of Japan's 100 Best Cityscapes in 1993.

Niouza was originally a road on the ashy slopes of the volcano Mt Aso. It is said that the name 'Niouza' derives from the two deva king guardian statues glaring out from the deva gate to the Gion Shrine (present-day Yasaka Shrine) in this vicinity.

Along the road are many temples, remains of stone paving, samurai residences and old ramparts, which together create a tranquil ambience. Places on the way, such as the Old Shinkou Temple and the Inaba-Hidemichi-Yashiki Ruins, are well worth visiting. You can also see the ruins of the battlefield Kiri-toushi and numerous other points of interest.
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2007/2/7


暗峠 Kuragari-touge Kuragari Tōge Mountain Pass

Jp En

The Old Nara Highway (National Road 308) dates to the C8th and is the main road that used to connect with Kawauchi until modern times. Kuragari Tōge (455m) is a mountain pass on the prefectural boundary between Osaka and Nara and was a tollway that once bustled with traders coming and going from Osaka, or pilgrims visiting shrines, or daimyō on their way to pay regular attendance at the Shōgun's court in Edo.

These days, tourists can easily visit this area by driving along the Shigi-Ikoma Skyline road along Mt Ikomayama, where they will see the remains of old stone paving, guidepost, and old rows of houses. There are a lot of historic sites around Kuragari Tōge, such as a monument to the Yanagisawa daimyō of Koriyama and a stone statue of Amitabha Buddha. In the Edo period, Bashō crossed this pass and left an excellent poem describing it.

The views of Ikoma city is superb. And one can see splendid terraced paddy fields extending before one's eyes.
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2007/1/30


歴史と文学の道 Rekishi-to-bungaku-no-michi The Walk of History and Literature

Jp En

The Walk of History and Literature is an old road lined by white plastered walls, that is some 700m long and begins at Yoken Temple's Sannomaru Yagura (watchtower) Gate at the base of Shiroyama Hill in Saiki, Okayama Prefecture.

The Walk of History and Literature is included in the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport’s top 100 roads in Japan.

This road is closely connected to the history and literature of the Saiki domain. Places such as the castle town of Saiki, Kunikida Dokuho House (birthplace of Yano Ryukei, a Meiji period politician/writer); the ruins of the former Saiki domain's castle; and Sannomaru yagura (watchtower) gate are there. In addition, the beautiful white walls of the Saiki samurai residences, and Yoken Temple (the Mori family temple) are there, too.

One of the historic places along the road is the house where Kunikida Dokuho stayed with his brother during his years here as a teacher. Kunikida Dokuho House is the reconstructed building of the former Sakamoto Mansion. Visitors can pick up and enjoy reading valuable documents on display inside Kunikida Dokuho House.

Saiki has an enjoyable proximity to nature. Deer sometimes come down from the mountain and can be seen near the tearoom that is built in the former rice warehouse at Kunikada Dokuho House.
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2007/1/25


熊野古道 Kumano-kodou The Ancient Road of Kumano

Jp En

The Ancient Road of Kumano is a beautiful stone-paved road in Higashi-Kishu, Mie Prefecture.

The Ancient Road of Kumano is one of the pilgrimage roads included in the World Heritage's 'Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range'. The road was made for pilgrims to visit the Three Shrines of Kumano, the Grand Shrine of Kumano Hongu, the Grand Shrine of Kumano Hayatama, and the Grand Shrine of Kumano Nachi.

In ancient times, the Kumano area was revered as a holy land where gods and goddesses dwelled, and also as a place of rebirth where the dead gather.

After the Shirakawa Emperor's royal visit to Kumano in 1090, more visitors came to the Three Shrines of Kumano. Visiting Kumano became so popular in the Edo period, that it was known as the 'Kumano ant pilgrimage'.

Due to the separation order of Shinto gods and Buddhist images after the Meiji Restoration, the number of shrines along the Ancient Road of Kumano dropped sharply. The custom of visiting Kumano almost disappeared.

The Ancient Road of Kumano still lives today in the region and is known as the road to Kumano and the place of Pure Land Buddhism and rebirth.
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