NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/4/18


カッパ淵 Kappa-buchi Kappa Buchi

Jp En

Kappa Buchi is a stream located in Tsuchibuchi-cho, Tono City, Iwate Pref. Between the lines of trees that grow leaning over the stream, the clean water with a width of 2-3 m flows quietly through the banks of large rocks and stones. This stream is the best-known place in the town of Tono, where there are still a lot of Kappa legends. The stream is referred to as the place where Kappa lived in “The Legends of Tono.” According to the legends, Kappa often surprised people by playing tricks on them. On the stream is Jokenji Temple, which is known for Kappa Komainu (Korean dog with a depressed dish on its head). There is a small hokora (shrine for minor deity) on the riverside, where a couple of Kappa is placed. It is said that when a mother offers a prayer with a vow, she will have a plenty of milk or she will have big breasts. Kappa Buchi is a mysterious place, where you will feel as if Kappa was ready to come out at any moment.
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2007/1/28


雲八幡 Kumohachiman Kumohachiman Shrine

Jp En

Kumohachiman Shrine located at Yabakei Town in Nakatsu City, Oita Pref. enshrines Kumo no Yahata no Okami and Myoken Okami. In the precinct stand a huge cedar tree, which is called “sennen Sugi (The 100-year-old cedar). The origin of the shrine dates back to the 3rd century, when legendary Empress Jingu, who was on her way back from the Korean invasion, took a rest on a huge stone at the foot of a mountain. Since then miraculous events including a white cloud rising up out of it had happened around this stone. In 703, a lot more clouds suddenly rose up from the stone and the light like arrows of lightening flashed and it took the shape of a small child-like god, which then disappeared. Having the feeling of awe at this miracle, the village people built a small purple shrine beside the stone and worshipped it respectfully. This is the origin of Kumohachiman Shrine and the Kumoishi Stone. The main building was relocated to the present place by Masataka Kiyohara (the lord of the province) later in 983. The shrine is famous for “Kappa Festival,” or formally named “Miyazonogaku,” in which traditional music is played to dedicate to the gods. The legend has it that Heike refugees, who had been defeated in the battle with Genji clan, transformed into a Kappa and brought harm to people, so the villagers began to play music to appease their spirits.
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2007/1/26


白地楽 Sirajigaku Shirajigaku

Jp En

Shirajigaku is a shrine ritual held in Kameoka Hachiman Shrine in Nakama, Yamakuni Town, Oita Prefecture. It is an intangible cultural asset designated by the town.

During the Nakama Autumn Festival, held in the shrine, kagura (Shinto music and dance) and the shirajigaku ritual are performed as dedications for prosperity and a rich harvest.

Shirajigaku is a dance for blocking kappa (water-imps) and its origin is said to date to the second year of the Genbun period (1737). For the main dance, four people dressed in red clothes with a kappa-beating motif, dance energetically while holding a large fan decorated with Chinese lions, peonies and dragons on a 'naka-murashi' background. This dance is reputed to have begun by Heike warriors who had fled here.

On the day of the festival in September, worshippers and many sightseers flock here with their cameras. Shirajigaku is a traditional festival that is cherished by the locals.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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