NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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頼光寺 Raikou-ji Raikoji Temple

Jp En

Raikoji Temple, also known as “Ajisai-dera (the hydrangea temple),” was established in around 1,000 by the priest Genken at the request of his mother and Minamoto no Mitsunaka’s wife, Honyo-ni. The priest Genken was a great grandson of Emperor Seiwa. There are 500 various stocks of hydrangea blooming all over the precinct during the rainy season. Originally 100 stocks of hydrangea were donated by Kawanishi City in 1974, when the main hall was reconstructed. Sine then the temple has been called the Hydrangea Temple and visited by many hydrangea viewers. Blue, pink, white and other brightly-hued flowers in the rain ease up the visitors mind.
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米倉鹿嶋神社 献饌行事 Yonekura-kashima-jinja Kensen-gyouji The Kensen Ritual at Yonekura Kashima Shrine

Jp En

The Kensen Ritual is performed on September 9 to 10 every year at Kashima Shrine in the Yonekura area in Osaki City, the rice producing center of Miyagi Prefecture, where famous rice brands such as Sasanishiki and Hitomebore were born.

Kensen is a Shinto ritual of offering food to the god. It is performed before a shrine priest offers a prayer. As the oldest and most historic shrine in Osaki City, this ritual had been performed by the descendants of the vassals of the Osaki clan (a branch of the Ashikaga clan, who were descended from Seiwa Genji) until the end of World War II. Today it is performed by the hands of local people.

On the first day, the first rice ear of the season is offered to the god in appreciation for a rich harvest. Then, it is followed by other rites and ends with Naorai (banquet), in which holy sake wine and votive offerings are served to the participants. The finale of the festival is the parade of Mikoshi performed on the second day. This solemn ritual is prefecturally designated as an intangible folk cultural property (manners and customs).
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江川家住宅 Egawakejuutaku The Egawa Family’s Residence

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The residence of the Egawa family located in Nirayama, Izunokuni City, Shizuoka Pref. is a historic Japanese house, which is nationally designated as an Important Cultural Property. The Egawa family was a warrior clan descended from the Seiwa Genji (Minamoto) line. An ancestor of the Egawa clan, who fought for Sutoku Joko (abdicated emperor) and was defeated in the Hogen Disturbance in 1156, escaped from Kyoto and settled in Izu province. In the Edo period (1603-1868), the generations of the Egawa clan were appointed as the local governor. Among them, Egawa Tarozaemon-Hidetatsu, the head of the family at the end of the Edo period, was famous as a scientist and engineer.
The main building (omoya) is known for having the highly elaborate structure of beams that sustain a beautifully curved roof 12 m above the ground. You can see it from the doma (earth floor at the entrance) inside the house. The residence is said to have been built during the Kamakura period (1192-1333). It is said that as Nichiren Shonin stayed at the house for several days in 1261, the house has withstood for such a long time as 700 years.
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兵庫 多田神社 Hyougo tada-jinjya Tada Shrine

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Tada Shrine located in Kawanishi City, Hyogo Pref. is a nationally designated historic site. This is the motherland of the most powerful branch family of the Minamoto clan, Seiwa Genji, whose founding father is Emperor Seiwa (850-880). The shrine originates in a Tendai Sect temple built in 970 by Minamoto no Mitsunaka, who had lived in this area. Since then the temple had been the mausoleum of successive Minamoto warriors of Seiwa Genji including Yorimitsu, Yorinobu, Yoriyoshi, and Yoshiie. In every April, the grand festival of Genji Matsuri is held, in which the parade of Genji warriors goes through the town. The huge soapberry tree in the precinct is designated as a provincial monument by the prefecture. The tree has a trunk circumference of 4.2 m and is said to be the biggest soapberry tree in the prefecture.
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清和文楽 Seiwa-bunraku 

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Surrounded by  silent forests in the mountains of Kumamoto Prefecture lies Kyu Seiwa Village. Here, a traditional form of Japanese puppet show known as Seiwa-buranku continues to this day. In 1979, the show was designated as the Kumamoto Important Intangible Cultural Heritage. Bunraku is a traditional form of Japanese puppet theater that involves two types of performances: the puppet show and Joruri, which is a combination of chanting and shamisen playing. Seiwa-bunraku originates from the end of the Edo period. It was performed by strolling troupes between 1848 and 1858 to farmers who loved the Joruri music. The farmers hosted the puppet shows to wish for a good harvest. For a while, Seiwa-bunraku disappeared, however a preservation association was formed after a performance was given during the ceremonies to honour the accession of the Showa Emperor. The association is committed to adhering to and keeping this traditional art form alive. Furthermore, in 1992, the Seiwa Bunraku museum was established, and now Seiwa Village is known as the home of traditional bunraku arts.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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