NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/5/17


中山道太田宿 Nakasendou Ootajuku Otajuku Post Town on the Nakasendo Highway

Jp En

Of the 69 stops along the old Nakasendo highway, Otajuku is the 51st post town, counting from the Itabashi end. Otajuku prospered because of its strategic location right before the Otanowatashi, one of the three most gruelling sections of the highway. It was also sited before the highway forked into the Hida and Gujo highways.

Otajuku spreads 680m east to west along the highway, and preserves much of its historic architecture and scenery, allowing visitors to enjoy the old atmosphere while strolling the streets. After walking past the Matsugata and entering the Former Nakasendo Highway village, the remains of the Honjin Gate are to the left, while on the right is a side building open to the public.

In the vicinity is Yusen-ji Temple, famous for its Waterfall Kannon legend, the grave of Banryu-Shonin, and monuments commemorating the poems of Shoyo Tsubochi, Hakushu Kitahara and Matsuo Basho. In the old days, travellers leaving Otajuku would cross the Kiso River at Otanowatashi, and head for Fushimi and Mitake.
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2007/1/18


草津宿本陣 Kusatujuku-honzin Kusatsu-juku Honjin

Jp En

Kusatsu-juku is the 52nd of the 53 post stations along the Tōkaidō from Edo to Kyoto. From 1635 to 1870, a period of 235 years, Kusatsu-juku Honjin was a special inn used only by nobility and government officials.

Kusatsu-juku lies at the branch of the Tōkaidō and Nakayama roads and there used to be over 100 inns here. Kusatsu-juku Honjin is the largest of its type still standing. Names like Asano Naganori and Kira Yoshinaka can be seen on the register.

The head of the honjin, the Daifukucho, kept a record of visitors from 1692 to 1874, a total of 182 years. There is one register book per year, and in total there are 182 books. In Kusatsu-juku, there were 2 honjin, 2 sub-honjin, and about 70 inns.

Of all these, the Tanaka Shichizaemon Honjin has kept to its original appearance. In 1949, it was designated as an important cultural asset and attracted many people to the world of Edo. It was restored and opened to the public in April 1996.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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