NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/1/30


大入島 Ohnyu-jima Onyu Island

Jp En

Onyu Island is inside Saiki Bay and faces the Bungo canal in Oita Prefecture. The island's total area is 5.9km2, and its circumference is 17km around.

It is said that Emperor Jinmu came to this island during the anabasis, and drove the broken bow into the ground. Then, a clear and a fresh stream of water sprang from the ground. Today, there is a place called the Well of the God, where fresh water springs out.

The main industry of this island is fishing, and Onyu Island's chirimen and iriko (two kinds of dried baby sardines) are famous nationwide. The freshly processed sun-dried and cured fish are popular as a souvenir.

Onyu Island is a thriving tourist spot. There are beaches and spots for fishing. Also, there is a 'kangaroo park', with kangaroos that were gifted to the island by its sister city in Australia.

The fire that burns during the Onyu Island Don-do Festival, held every January, is said to have originally come from the fire that was lit to send Emperor Jinmu. The fire-light of this festival is believed to bring good luck. People pray for good health. The fire flames up in a gigantic torch over 10m high, making a spectacular sight.
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2007/1/29


暘谷城址 Youkoku-joushi The Remains of Yokoku Castle

Jp En

Yokoku Castle was built in 1602 by the first leader of the Hiji Clan, Kinoshita Nobutoshi, with the assistance of Hosokawa Tadaoki.

The castle was originally called Hiji Castle, Aoyagi Castle or Ukitsu Castle. The third clan leader, Kinoshita Toshinaga, took an excerpt from an old Chinese book called 'Enanji', which stated that: 'The sun rises from Yokoku and shines on Kanchi', and changed the name to Yokoku Castle.

Today, the castle site is used as the Hiji Elementary School, but certain parts of the castle, such as the Kimon tower and the back gate, are being reconstructed.

A park has been established around the castle base, and is a popular spot to take in and appreciate the entire view of Beppu Bay. The seashore at the foot of the castle ruins is called Shiro-shita-karei, and is famous for deriving its name from the Shiro-shita seashore. There is also a spring, which is one source of fresh water for this region.
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2007/1/26


由布川渓谷 Yufugawa-keikoku Yufu River Valley

Jp En

Yufu River Valley is a beauty spot in Higashiyama and lies between Beppu and Hasama in Yufu, Oita Prefecture.

Prefectural Highway 601 runs for 12 kilometers from Beppu to Yufu through the valley, which is lined with 60m cliffs.

More than 40 waterfalls run down the rock in various places, and there are some 100 inlets, big and small, that produce a mysterious beauty, lending this area the nickname Eastern Tirol. Over time, the Yufu River has eroded a path through the Yufu Tsurumi Mountains to form this valley. The gently curving rockface is unique.

Each year, on the second Sunday of July, Yufu City and Hasama Town hold the Yufu River Valley Festival. The festival is held as a prayer for the people's safety and locals enjoy traditional dancing and music as well as a treasure hunt.

Yufu River Valley is a wonderful scenic area with extraordinary cliffs and waterfalls.
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2007/1/25


志賀島 Sika-no-sima The Island of Shika-no-Shima

Jp En

Shika-no-shima island is located in Higashi-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture. It is a tombola island in the northern part of Hakata bay, and features two small islands connected by a bar of land. The island is approximately 11km in circumeference, with some 790 households and a population of about 3000. A tombola-form island such as this is very rare in Japan.

In 1784, two farmers harvesting rice on the island came across the golden seal of the Kan-no-wanona-no-Kokuo. It is thought that the seal was the same one referred to in the Chinese book 'Gokanjo' (the 'Book of the Later Han'), which was said to have been handed to the messenger of Nakoku from Kobutei (Emperor Guangwu).

Not only is the 'Gokanjo' a very important historical artifact, it is also a valuable national treasure. This golden seal reveals the early history of Japan, and is currently preserved and exhibited at the Fukuoka Museum. However, it is still unknown why the golden seal was buried on Shika-no-shima. One thing, however, is understood: that Shika-no-shima was the starting point from mainland Japan for overseas trade by the early rulers of the country. It is an ancient place and site of many historic incidents.
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2007/1/23


英虞湾 Agowan Ago Bay

Jp En

Ago Bay lies to the south of the Shima Peninsula in Mie Prefecture. It is the biggest landlocked bay in the Shima Peninsula and has a saw-toothed coastline. Big and small, innumerable islands like Kashiko Island are very impressive.

Ago Bay is famous for pearl culture and, in the early Showa period, it was called Pearl Bay. Ago Bay is where a genuine round pearl was invented for the first time in the world, and it is said 'Ago Bay is the home of the pearl'.

The name 'Ago' dates back to the time of the Emperor Tenmu. In prehistoric times, many peoples lived here. There are many stone age tools found here, which were brought from remote Shinshu, evidence of the movements of prehistoric man in Japan.

Ago Bay appears at the beginning of Japanese history, and is a very time-honored sea. The pearl rafts are charming sights, unique to this district and a pleasure for visitors to see.
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