NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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秋元勝彦 Akimoto Katuhiko Katsuhiko Akimoto

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Katsuhiko Akimoto is a master lacquerer in Tsugaru Lacquer Ware. A traditional craftsman certificated by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. He has also been awarded a lot of major prizes in Japan’s Traditional Craft Competition held every year. At the present, he serves as a director of the Tsugaru Lacquer Ware Association. Born in Hirosaki City, Aomori Pref. in 1942, Katsuhiko Akimoto was apprenticed to Kunitaro Watanabe at the age of 15, and 6 years later in 1963 he set up his own workshop. In 1976, he took up a position as the factory director of Imaizumi Lacquer Craft located in Tsugaru Lacquer Ware Coop and engaged himself in training young craftsmen. In 1982 he withdrew from the company and started making his own products at home. His main products are the speckled trays in kara-nuri technique, as well as other products in nanako-nuri, monsha-nuri, and nishiki-nuri. It takes several months to finish one product through a process of lacquering and burnishing repeated dozens of times. This craft is so time-consuming that it is given an alias name of “Baka-nuri,” which means only a foolish fellow can do it so carefully. The making of this ware dates back to 1677, when a lacquerer, Genbei Ikeda, started making a lacquer ware under the fosterage of the Tsugaru clan. Since then the craft has been handed down for over 300 years.
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依水園 Isui-en Isui-en

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Isui-en is a garden in Nara City. It is separated into two parts: the former garden and the later garden, and the age of each garden is different according to when they were established.

The former garden is derived from a sub-house built by a Nara tradesman, Kiyosumi Michikiyo, in the Enpo period (1673~1681).

The later garden was built by a tradesman, Kanto Jiro, in Meiji 32. The garden has beautiful borrowed scenery such as Mt Wakakusa, Mt Kasuga and the big roof of nearby Todaiji Temple.

Sanshu-tei, a pavilion in the former garden, was built by the Zen monk Mokuan. It remains to this day, and you can have meals and tea there. Nara Art Museum annex has preserved ceramics and paintings from Japan, China and Korea.

This park is very rare because you can enjoy at the same time two parks that are different in age and taste.
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錦帯橋 Kintaikyou Kintai Bridge

Jp En

Kintai Bridge is a  wooden arched bridge, built in the Edo period near the city of Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture.  It is called one of the three major bridges in Japan, which include Shin Bridge in Nikko and Saru Bridge in Kai.  Its sophisticated and unique shape is highly evaluated.
Before the bridge became what it is now, all the parts, including the beams were wooden and were not strong enough to withstand each flooding of the Nishiki River.
The head of the Iwakuni clan, Kikkawa Hiroyoshi, first began construction of a bridge strong enough to withstand floods. At that time, he learned about a six-arched bridge from a naturalized monk from Min (China). At the same time, he decided to use stones to make the bridge strong enough. Finally, in the first year of the Enpo period (1673), the five-arched bridge, the Kintai Bridge was completed.  But the next year, a flood washed it away.  To make the base of the bridge stronger, flagstones were placed at the arch supports, Although it is true that some parts continued to be washed away in floods, most of the bridge remained .
You can see cherry blossoms in spring and red leaves in autumn; many people visit here throughout the year.
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