NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/2/12


永源寺 Eigen-ji Eigenji Temple

Jp En

Eigenji Temple is the head temple of the Rinzai Sect, Eigenji Faction, and is located on the right bank of the Aichi River.

The history of Eigenji Temple can be traced back to the Kamakura period when Jakushitsu-genko-osho founded the temple. High-ranking priests continued to gather at the temple even after the death of Jakushitsu, and, while under the protection of the Sasaki Family, the temple reached the height of its prosperity with more than 2000 scholar priests congregating at one time.

The temple premises include a kitchen, living quarters, bell tower, main building and the grave of Jakushitsu. Designated a National Significant Cultural Asset, the Jakushitsu-gewako-za Statue can be found at the grave.

Visitors climbing the rock steps of the approach can see the Aichi River on the right-hand side, stone statues of the Jyuroku-rakan standing along the cliff of Raikei Mountain on the left-hand side, and ravines on both sides. The approach is lined with maples that draw many visitors in autumn with their beautiful red and yellow leaves.
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太郎坊宮(阿賀神社) Taroubou-guu(Aga-jinjya) Tarobo Shrine (Aga Shrine)

Jp En

Tarobo Shrine (Aga Shrine) is probably some 1400 years old. Praying at the shrine is believed to bring good luck, protection from ill fortune and business prosperity.

The main deity at Tarobo Shrine is 'Masaka-Akatsukachi-Hayahiameno-Oshi-Homimi-No-Mikoto'. Around the main building, there are peculiar rocks called 'iwaza'. There is also a husband-and-wife rock pair. There used to be a single standing rock, but legend has it that it was smote in two by a deity. It is said that any liar who tries to pass through the gap in the two rocks will become wedged.

From the observation tower, one can see beautiful natural scenery.

Also, the shrine has another name, Tarobo-san.
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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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2007/1/25


城東の町並み Joto-no-machinami The Old Joto Area

Jp En

The Tsuyama Basin in Okayama Prefecture was once a prosperous area through which the old Izumo Way passed. On the eastern side of the basin was a post station known today as the Joto area.

On the streets of the Joto area, which has been designated for preservation by the prefecture, are old stores selling sake, paper and knives for example. The old Izumo Way passes for about a kilometer through the town from Tsuyama castle ruin, following an east-west route. The road is built using a style called 'kaimagari', which is maze-like for defence purposes.

The houses are distinguished by their low fronts with lattice doors and 'sea-cucumber' walls and recall the atmosphere of an old town. The highlight of a visit here is the Joto Mukashi Machi (Kyu-Kajimurake) area, which consists of buildings dating from the Edo to the Taisho periods. The Sakushu Joto Yashiki is a traditional fire-watchtower that gives an insight into historic methods of fire prevention. Joto is also famous as the location of the movie series 'Otoko wa Tsurai yo' and the drama 'Aguri'.
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豆田町・歴史の小径 Mamedamati・Rekishi-no-komiti An Historic Street Scene in Mameda

Jp En

Rekishi-no-komichi is an historic street scene that can be seen in the Mameda area of Hita in Oita Prefecture. During the Edo period, Hita prospered for 250 years under the direct control of the Edo Bakufu government.

Many historic buildings and remnants of the Tenryo period still exist in Hita, mostly in Mameda. This area has been declared an historic townscape in order to preserve its old buildings and place in history.

During the 'Sennen-akari' event, part of the Tenryohita Matsuri, bamboo lanterns cast a soft glow over Rekishi-no-komichi along Ogawa, creating a visionary space. A Tenryo museum is also located in the area, and lets people know of the wealth that once prevailed in Hita.

Today, a stroll through the chic area of Rekishi-no-komichi in Mameda will give the visitor a sense of the atmosphere and mood of the Edo period.
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2007/1/23


関宿の町並み Sekijyuku-no-Matinami The Streetscapes of Sekijuku

Jp En

Sekijuku, located in Seki-cho, Kameyama-shi, Mie Prefecture, is the only place where the past has left a trace of the memories of the Tokaido, the old coastal road between Edo and Kyoto.

Seki-cho lies at the eastern foot of Mt Suzuka. Isesuzuka-no-seki was originally a checkpoint in Seki-cho, that, along with Echizen-no-arachi and Mino-no-Fuwa, was one of three major checkpoints along the Tokaido. (A 'seki' or 'sekisho' was a barrier station on thoroughfares between provinces, where the movement of criminals, weapons, hostages, etc. could be checked.)

The current structure of the town was probably created by Seki Morinobu, who also constructed neighboring roads and the town of Nakamachi, which lies between Shinsho and Kizaki. As time passed, the streets of Nakamachi and the town itself grew and developed eastwards, eventually becoming the larger town it is today. By the late Edo period, Sekijuku had become the main post station on the Tokaido Shukuba.

In 1984, Sekijuku was designated as an Important Historic Preservation District. The Seki-Jizoin, which was nominated as an Important National Cultural Property can also be found in this district. The streets of Sekijuku are a precious reminder of the history of the Tokaido.
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2007/1/19


カセ鳥 Kasedori Kasedori Festival

Jp En

Kasedori is a fire-prevention festival that takes place in Kaminoyama, Yamagata prefecture. It is believed that the custom began about 350 years ago. In those days, the festival took place first at a shrine on the 13th day of the lunar new year, and then in the town on the 15th.

During the festival, young people parade through the streets. As they pass by, local people pour water from ladels onto the procession and pray for fire prevention and prosperity.

This custom was halted in 1896, but revived in 1959. Today, the youngsters still wear the traditional straw costumes called 'kendan' and parade through town calling out the peculiar sound 'kasedori, kasedori, ka-ka-ka.'

At the time of the festival, Kaminoyama is covered with snow. However, the great energy of the youngsters is warming in the freezing weather.
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