NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/1/8


旧取手宿本陣 Kyu-toridejuku-honjin Old Toridejuku Honjin

Jp En

Toridejuku was a post station on the Mito Road in the Edo period (1603-1868). In1687, the residence of the Someno family, Nanushi (village officer) of Toridejuku, was designated as honjin (the inn for the nobility and daimyo) by the Mito Tokugawa clan. The original building was burned down by fire in 1794 and the existing main building was built in the next year.

It is a large-scale private house in Yosemune-zukuri style, with 19 m wide and 13.3 m deep. The bargeboard on the Irimoya-styled roof (hip-and-gable roof) over the wooden step at the entrance hall gives a dignified impression. The inside of the residence was divided into two sections; the honjin section for lodging and the private section. As did the formal honjin, the honjin section had Jodan-no ma, which was the special room for the nobility and daimyo, and the suite of three rooms.

In the garden stands a stone monument inscribed with a poem written by Tokugawa Nariaki, the 9th lord of the Mito domain, in 1840, when he was on a boat going down the Tone River on his way back to Mito. The stone monument was later presented to the Someno family from the Mito domain, which shows the close connection between the Mito Tokugawa clan and the Someno family.
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2007/10/3


亀山宿 Kameyama-juku Kameyama-juku

Jp En

Kameyama-juku was the 46th of the 53 post stations of the Tokaido Road in the Edo period (1603-1686). It was in the eastern part of current Kameyama City in Mie Prefecture. The town thrived as a post town and a castle town as well. There are a lot of historic sites such as the ruins of Kameyama Castle including the ruins of Edoguchi-mon Gate and Kyoguchi-mon Gate and the site where the Ishii brothers gained revenge.

In Ando Hiroshige’s “Kameyama” of his “The 53 Post Stations of the Tokaido Road,” he depicted a procession of a feudal lord ascending a steep hillside, under deep snow among the trees, to the entrance to Kameyama Castle. The brightness of snow is wonderfully expressed in this monochromatic ink painting, but at the same time we can’t help realizing keenly how hard it was to make a journey in those days.

Presently, there are many historic constructions remaining in the town. These remnants of an ancient castle town include a temple, which used to be a part of the castle compound, old samurai houses, and the right-angled streets.
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2007/8/16


群馬 白井宿 Gunma Shiroi-juku Shiroi-juku

Jp En

The townscape of classic Japan can be seen in the old Shiroi-juku post town in Shiroi, Shibukawa City, Gunma Prefecture. Shiroi-juku was a prosperous post town located at the point where the Agatsuma River pours into the Tone River.

Old residences with earth store houses continue along the Shirai-zeki water channel. Many stone structures including 8 draw wells and the bell tower remind us of the town’s prosperity in the old days.

Being slightly away from National Route 17 and its bypass, the town has a little car traffic and is a good place for walking. The townscape of the good old days will make you feel at peace.

On the 4th Sunday in April every year, a lot of tourists visit this town to enjoy Shiroi-juku Yaezakura (double-blossomed cherry) Festival, in which the warrior parade goes through the town and the local products fair is held.
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2007/8/7


仙台 東照宮 Sendai Toushou-guu Toshogu Shrine in Sendai

Jp En

Toshogu Shrine in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, was founded in 1654 by Date Tadamune, the 2nd lord of the Sendai domain. Enshrined deity is Tosho Daigongen, namely Tokugawa Ieyasu.

In 1649, Tadamune applied for the permission to build a Toshogu shrine to the 3rd Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, to express his gratitude to the Shogunate for having lent 18,900 kg of silver when the domain was suffered from a catastrophic flood. He decided on the present place as the construction site because it was where Tokugawa Ieyasu stayed with Date Masamune, the founder of the Sendai domain, in 1591, when they were on their way back home from the inspection tour on the rebellion by the Kasai and Osaki clans.

Toshogu Shrine was worshipped as the guardian god of the Date family during the Edo period (1603-1868) and given generous protection from the domain as the second most important shrine after Shiogama Shrine.

The historic importance of the structures such as Honden (the main hall), the Karamon gate, the see-through fence, the stone torii gate, the stone lantern and the Zuishinmon gate is highly esteemed and all are nationally designated as Important Cultural Properties. The beauty of these structures is known nationwide and a lot of tourists come to visit the shrine especially on the anniversary of Tokugawa Ieyasu’s death, April 17, when the annual festival is held at the shrine.
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2007/6/22


旧和田宿本陣 Kyu-wadajuku-honjin Old Wadajuku Honjin

Jp En

Wadajuku Honjin was honjin (the inn for the nobility and daimyo) of Wadajuku post station on the Nakasendo Road. Located at the entrance to the Wada Pass, which was the hardest chokepoint on the Nakasendo Road at the time, most travelers stayed at this post town before climbing up to Wada Pass.

Wadajuku honjin was constructed in 1861, but destroyed by fire in the same year. In this year, however, the procession of Princess Kazunomiya was to stay at Wadajuku on her journey to Edo, where she was going to be married to the 14th Tokugawa Shogun. Consequently, money was lent from the Shogunate and the honjin was reconstructed in as short a time as four months.

After the Meiji Restoration, the system of honjin was abolished, but the building had been used as the town hall until 1984, when the town office moved to another place and the building was to be dismantled. However, its historical and architectural values were acknowledged and the building was rebuilt after dismantling. Presently, only the residence of the proprietor has been restored and preserved. Wadajuku is one of the few post stations where such a large-scale honjin remains to the present day.
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旧日野宿本陣 Kyu-hinojuku-honjin Old Hinojuku Honjin

Jp En

Old Hinojuku honjin is the only honjin (the inn for the nobility and daimyo) building existing in Tokyo today. The original building was destroyed by fire on New Yea’s Day in 1849. What remains today was rebuilt by the proprietor of honjin and Nanushi (village officer), Sato Hikogoro. The construction works took as long as ten years until 1863. He lived here and reopened honjin in December, 1864. Keenly aware of importance of self-policing at the time of the fire, he enrolled at Tennen Rishin-ryu swordsmanship school. Being conferred full mastership later, he opened a dojo at home, where the members of the Shinsengumi including Kondo Isami, the commander, and Okita Soshi, the captain of the 1st unit, dropped in and practiced kendo on their way to Kyoto. There remains a room where Hikogoro’s younger brother in law, Ichimura Tetsunosuke was provided shelter after he visited Hikogoro to hand him the picture and a personal memento of Hijikata Toshizo, the deputy leader of the Shinsengumi. Old Hinojuku honjin is a historically important place not only as a honjin building but also as the place with many other roles.
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2007/6/21


御油宿 Goyu-juku Goyu-juku

Jp En

Goyu-juku was the 35th of the 53 post stations of the Tokaido Road in the Edo period (1603-1686). It was in current Goyu-cho, Toyohashi City, Aichi Prefecture. It is confirmed that the vermillion-seal letter to order the requisitioning of horses for official use was issued to this town in 1601, from which we know Goyu-juku was established in the same year as the Tokaido Road was built. According to this vermillion-seal letter, the towns of Goyu and Akasaka should form one post station altogether, for which reason there were four Honjins at the maximum and two at least.

Located at the interchange point of the Tokaido Road and the Hime Kaido Road (the popular name for the Honzaka Kaido), Goyu-juku and Akasaka-juku thrived as entertainment centers in the area. In Ando Hiroshige’s Ukiyoe painting, the scene of meshimori onna (rice serving woman at inns and also prostitutes) competing each other to capture the travelers is depicted. In fact, it is said that there was a fierce rivalry in winning customers between Goyu-juku and Akasaka-juku, which was only 1.7 km away and became an independent post town later.

Presently, the row of pine trees called “Goyu no Matsu-namiki” remains along the ancient road between Goyu and Akasaka.
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岡崎宿 Okazaki-juku Okazaki-juku

Jp En

Okazaki-juku was the 38th of the 53 post stations of the Tokaido Road in the Edo period (1603-1868). It was in current Okazaki City in Aichi Prefecture. The town of Okazaki was the castle town of the Okazaki domain enfeoffed with 50,000 koku of rice. Located at the point where the Yahagi River and the Otogawa River confluent, the town was also the waterway transportation center in the area.

The town was arranged into the present form by Tanaka Yoshimasa, who was enfeoffed with Okazaki Castle in 1590. He changed the route of the Tokaido Road, which had run in the outskirt of the town, and let it run through the town. Furthermore, he made so many right-angle bends in the road as to be called “27 Bends” to protect the town from enemy attacks. The construction took as long as ten years. Today there is a stone monument showing how this bending road is running through the town.

In the Edo period, the Okazaki domain was specially treated by the Tokugawa Shogunate as the birthplace of Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the successive domain lords were selected from Fudai daimyo (hereditary vassals of the Shogun).
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