Teizan Canal, 46.6 km in total length, is Japan’s longest canal built along Sendai Bay, connecting the mouth of the Old Kitakami River and the mouth of the Abukuma River. The first section of the canal, which connected Matsushima Bay and the Abukuma River, was constructed in 1597 by the order of Date Masamune. After his death, the extension works were continued. The canal was named after Masamune’s Buddhist name.
Until the end of the 19th century, boats and ships were the main means of transportation in Japan. After the Meiji restoration (1868), Home Minister, Okubo Toshimichi, asked the governors of the 6 prefectures in the Tohoku region about what they most needed. As a result, he concluded that construction of the canal to connect the Kitakami River, the main artery of the region, and the Abukuma River was indispensable for transporting rice. The construction was completed in 1884.
Today, it is used as an agricultural waterway and functions as a part of fishing ports. In the area along the canal from the Nanakita River to the Natori River spreads a fine seaside park, where a beautiful pine grove continues and a cycling road is equipped.
Aobana is a colorant that originated in Japan and that has been in use for years.
Aobana, literally meaning blue flower, is obtained from the petals of perennial plants such as tsuyukusa (blue dayflower) and hotarugusa (firefly grass). The blue liquid is then applied to a paper which acts as a carrier for the colorant. Aobana is therefore called aobana-gami (aobana paper) or ai-gami (indigo paper) on some occasions. Aobana colorant has been used to draw rough sketches, most often for sketching Yuuzen patterns.
If you tear a small amount of aobana, place it on a plate and pour some water over it, the blue liquid will appear. This aobana colorant appears only on contact with moisture which makes it an ideal colorant for sketching.
The fleeting nature of aobana has been well recognized since ancient times, which is evidenced by an old waka poem: “people’s minds are like the elusive blue dayflower that changes its color easily”.
Chigusa is a greenish light blue color extracted from the small blue petals of spiderwort flowers that bloom in the summer.
Spiderwort is called “tsuyukusa” in Japanese. Tsuyukusa is also known as “tsukikusa” and chigusa is said to derive from the word, tsukikusa.
Spiderwort is a prairie wildflower that grows in fields and by the roadside in summer. The flowers open in the morning, closing again in the afternoon. It is a delicate flower that brings a beautiful touch to the Japanese summer. The color extracted from the flower is very delicate and is easily washed away with water. It is used to draw a rough sketch for Yuuzen style dyeing.
Kimonos which were provided by merchants in Kyoto for their apprentices were lightly dyed with indigo plants and had a pale blue color. After a while the color of the kimono would start to fade so it was dyed again. The color arising from repeated dying of the fabric became known as chigusa color, perhaps because when the indigo plant is used lightly as a dye, it is a light green in color that is similar to the blue of fabric dyed with spiderwort.
Gunjyou means literally “gathering of blues” and is based on the name of a paint from China. Gunjyou color, unlike blue or navy blue, contains purplish hints. It is a deep blue and also called konjyou, or Prussian blue.
The best natural gunjyou color was said to be the one that was made from a mineral called ruri, or lapis lazuli, and was very rare to find at that time. Azurite powder from indigo minerals was also used to produce the color.
Gunjyou color was regarded as a necessity to create the vibrant blue color in Japanese painting and was used often in pictures on luxurious room partitions during Momoyama Period. This deep color was also applied lavishly to such items as folding screens and fabrics.
清 is a character combining the 氵 three dots water-classifier and 青 ‘blue-green,’ that can first be seen in the Tenbun (Zhuàn Wén) seal script. In reliable Kanji science, the classifier does certainly not always show the leading notion of the character’s meaning, here, however, it originally points to the clearness of water. The basis of its meaning is 青 ‘blue-green,’ which is a color that represents the aesthetic sense of the time when Kanji were created. The lower element of 青 is 丹, which means that there is 丹 ‘cinnabar, vermilion’ (pigment taken from earth and rocks including sulfur) in the mine’ s well for digging cinnabar. Cinnabar of green-bluish color was also collected from such mining wells. The upper element of 青 represents 生 which shows fresh, green, sprouting grass. Chinese characters were created by clerics of the ancient Chinese dynasty of the Yīn (Shāng) dynasty. In contrast to the following Zhōu period, the people of Yīn (Shāng) were a coastal people or were living in areas close to the seas. Even in the present sailors often have tattoos. Especially coastal people often had the custom of tattooing and ritual body painting, which is an expression of the religious view of that period. Such 青 was used as a ‘sacred’ color in rituals. Therefore, the 青 of the so called 青銅器 ‘Seidôki: bronze vessels’ (青銅 ‘Seidô: bronze’) also is no accident. Blue and vermilion were both used for curse exorcism and pacification. It was believed that a force working against curses that exorcizes evil spirits resides in the color used for ritual body painting and festive vessels. As was already emphasized in color theories like that of Von Goethe and Schopenhauer, it is evident that such sacred colors as green-blue and vermilion strike the visual sense intensely. Among them, 青 blue-green was thought of as an especially tranquil color with a pacifying and purifying effect most appropriate in curse exorcism.
Mitsuhatajima located offshore of Ainan-cho, Minami-Uwa-gun, Ehime Pref. is a collective name for the three small islands in the Uwakai Sea, which is a part of Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park. The water around the islands is so clear that a variety of table corals exist in colonies at the sea bottom and colorful tropical fish are swimming through waving sea weeds. It looks like a flower garden in the ocean. Seeing the cute islands in the afterglow, you will have a relaxing time until the sun set in the ocean. Mitsuhatajima Islands are the symbolic landscape of the Uwakai Sea.
Ozato Pine Groves is the arch-shaped seashore with 50,000 green pine trees and white sand spanning about 4 km in Kainan Town, Tokushima Prefecture.
The pine trees were planted not only for tourism but they protect the land from salty wind and storm surge from adjacent towns. The pine trees were first planted along this coast in the middle of the Edo period (1603-1868). Though generation change has occurred, the groves are conserved by the efforts of local people, exterminating harmful insects three times and mowing grass twice every year.
If you stand on the beach, blown in the sea breeze and devoting yourself to the sounds of waves, you will feel totally refreshed. The beach is famous as a fishing spot and the waves near the estuary of the Kaifu River are suitable for surfing. Sea turtles come to lay their eggs on the full moon night in early summer, when the beach is alive with tourists.
Minamikitaura Coast, extending from Urashiro-machi to Kitaura-machi in Nobeoka City, Miyazaki Prefecture, is a beautiful ria coast facing the Hyuganada Sea. It is one of the main attractions of Nippo-Kaigan Quasi-National Park. As there area many capes and coves in the coastline and the offing is dotted with small islands, it is called “Matsushima of Hyuga.” The beach boasts its white sand and clear seawater.
As a suitable place for swimming and various outdoor activities such as camping, fishing and diving, it is crowded with a lot of tourists in summer. When it is cold in the morning, the surface of the sea is covered with mist and creates a mysterious atmosphere.