Yakushiji Temple in Kawami-cho, Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, is a temple of the Koyasan school of the Shingon sect. Its mountain name is Rurikozan. It is popularly called “Kawami no Yakushi-san.”
The main gate stands at the top of the long and steep stone steps. Several halls including Kannon-do Hall in front and the main hall are located in a spacious precinct. The sculptures of dragon placed beneath the eaves of the main hall are famous as the most wonderful dragon sculptures in Japan. The statue of Yakushi Nyorai was carved in the late Muromachi period (13361573) in Yosegi-zukuri (assembled wood) technique. Together with the two stone lanterns in the precinct, the statue was designated as a cultural property of the village.
In spring, the temple is covered with over 1,000 cherry blossoms. Snowstorm of pale pink petals is breathtaking.
Oi-ike Pond is a 9.2 hectare artificial pond located in Okusa in Koda Town, Aichi Prefecture. The water is fed from the Hirota River, a tributary of the Yahagi River. Constructed in 1943, it is the largest agricultural irrigation pond in the prefecture.
There is a golf driving range on the side of the pond, where golfers can enjoy dynamic shooting toward the water of the pond. The area around the pond is a famous cherry blossom viewing spot. The upstream area of the river is dotted with mudslide control dams.
The pond is not only used for agriculture but also provides disaster control measures, habitat of various wildlife, the communication place for local people and the place to get contact with natural water. It is a precious municipal property that is indispensable for the local communities.
The remains of Miharu Castle stand on Mt Ooshida near the town of Miharu in Tamura-gun, Fukushima Prefecture. The castle was established by Lord Yoshiaki Tamura of the Tamura clan and constructed from the Kamakura period to the Nanboku-chou period.
The Tamura clan eventually became one of the servant clans to a larger more powerful clan, but in 1590, after the Ouu-shioki, they changed to serve the Masamune Date and moved to Sendai. Soon after, the castle became the property of clan lords such as Ujisato Gamou, Kagekatsu Uesugi and Yoshiaki Katou.
In 1645, Toshitsue Akita became the castle lord for 10 thousand cubic meters of rice, and the Akita clan ruled until the Meiji Restoration. The castle was abandoned in the 4th year of the Meiji period (1871) due to the abolition of the domain system.
Today, the castle site is famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms. Many public institutions stand near the castle remains, and the area functions as a center of the town of Miharu. Miharu Castle reveals the sorrows and weaknesses of those who were pawns in the inevitable flow of history.
Hirokawa Temple belongs to the Shingon Daigo school of Buddhism, and is located in Minami Kawauchi-gun in Osaka. The hill on which it is built is called Mt Ryuuchi.
Hirokawa Temple is a supplication temple for the Tenmu, Saga and Gotoba emperors. Ennogyoja established it in 666. Gyogi trained as a priest here in 737 and Kukai inherited the temple and reformed it in 812. In 1463, it burned down, but Jiun reformed it in 1732 and added the Saigyo building. The shape it has today is unchanged since then.
Hirokawa Temple is famous as a place where Saigyo stayed and established a hermitage. Within the temple precinct is a memorial museum to Saigyo and Jiun. The temple also features the Nishi Kodo building and is popular for cherry-blossom viewing in spring when over 1500 flowers bloom. Furthermore, one of the cherry trees is 300 years old.
Since ancient times, the Japanese cherry (sakura) tree has been deeply connected to the spirit and lifestyle of the Japanese people as the spiritual tree of Konohanasakuyahimenomikoto.
The cherry blossom is the representative flower of Japan and, generally said, the word 'flower' for the Japanese means cherry blossom. Sakura is also the official flower of the state of Japan.
For many reasons, too, the sakura tree is important for practical purposes. For example, an early-Jomon period bow excavated from the Torihama Shell Mound Site in Fukui Prefecture contains parts reinforced with sakura bark. In addition, people knew when to sow the fields and time the crops by following the sakura's blossoming.
Yet the sakura is more of an ornamental tree, and 'hanami' ('cherry-blossom viewing') is an annual spring event nationwide. Additionally, the beautiful and transient characteristic of the tree to blossom before foliating in a short space of time, before falling gracefully, has been the subject of countless poems. Furthermore, sakura is often the subject of conversations with a distinctively Japanese aesthetic.
Tsuruoka Park lies within the grounds of the old Tsurugaoka Castle, in Tsuruoka, Yamagata prefecture. It is famous for its cherry trees.
The Sakai clan lived in this castle for about 250 years as the Shonai domain head. The park is dotted with the remains of the old stone walls along the moat. An old cedar tree, thousands of years old, reminds you of the castle and its past.
Growing in the park are some 800 of the prettiest cherry trees. The site has been designated as one of Japan top 100 places to see cherry blossom, as well as one of the best places in Yamagata prefecture for cherry-blossom viewing.
There are several different kinds of cherry trees, including: Someiyoshono, Yae Cherry and Weeping Cherry. In the middle of April, they all start to blossom at once.
The cherry trees around the outer moat in the east part of the park are especially beautiful when they are seen reflected in the moat. Mt. Chokai forms the backdrop with the last of the winter snow on its peak. Such scenery makes you particularly savor the nature and romance around you, even though you are not a photographer.
In the cherry-blossom season, many stalls are set up and many visitors come from all over Japan.
Kyoto shikishitanzaku-wahonjo is a traditional Japanese colored paper that came to be used for writing haiku and waka poetry. This paper was first made 1000 years ago. Colored paper is also known as 'dyed paper'.
Poetry became popular during the Heian period. Some of these poems would be written on dyed colored paper for an added decorative effect. Many sheets of paper were magnificently made using the techniques of Deie, Kirihaku and Noge.
Present-day designs were developed in the Kamakura period. In the Muromachi period, color stripped paper became popular, and the Kano and Tosa schools liked to inlay pictures in them. Later, this paper was used as cherry blossom-viewing picnic notepad paper for the Emperor Go-Komatsu and for Hokodaigo.
Nowadays,much of the demand for this paper is due to the popularity of calligraphy, waka and haiku poetry. As a result, the industry is struggling to foster successors and acquire high-quality paper.