NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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あご湾の真珠 Agowan-no-Sinjyu Pearls of Ago Bay

Jp En

The pearl industry flourishes in Shima, Mie prefecture, while Ago Bay is known as the 'home of pearls'. It is also famous as the place where pearl cultivation originated.

In 1893, Kokichi Mikimoto extracted five half-circled pearls from a pearl oyster during an experiment, proving that pearls could be cultivated from oysters. Pearl cultivation around Ago Bay in Mie prefecture really took off after that discovery.

Today, in Ago Bay eight pearl culture cooperative associations and four fisheries cooperative associations are licensed to cultivate the pearls.

Pearl culture requires several different fishing grounds for each developmental process of the pearl oyster, and it is necessary to take great care with the water temperature and to protect against red tides.

Today, pearl cultivation techniques in Mie prefecture are highly valued across the nation. The pearls are recognized for their high quality, and have received awards at national pearl culture fairs almost every year.
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御城番屋敷 Oshiroban-yashiki House for Castle Guards

Jp En

The House for Castle Guards (Oshiroban Yashiki) was a residence for samurais of the Kishu domain. It is located in the town of Tono, Matsuzaka City, Mie prefecture.

The House for Castle Guards was built in the third year of the Bunkyu period and 20 guards of Matsuzaka Castle and their families lived there. It consists of two main buildings, a front garden, a patch, Nanryu Shrine and a mud-walled warehouse, surrounded by Maki-fences.

The two main buildings of the house are designated as an Important Cultural Asset. The mud-walled warehouse is a Cultural Asset designated by Mie prefecture.

The descendants have maintained the house and they actually live there. There are very few samurai group houses still existing in Japan and no other has the structure of two buildings with a lane between them.

Matsuzaka City has borrowed one building and renovated it, and it has been open to the public since 1990. This is an unusual historical space that has been silently passed down to us complete with Maki-fences and stone paving. Row houses such as these are often seen in samurai dramas, and show that the taste of the Edo period is still attractive today.
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三重 千枚田 Mie Senmaida Maruyama Senmaida Ricefields

Jp En

Located in Kiwa, near Kumano in Mie Prefecture, Maruyama Senmaida is a beautiful group of terraced ricefields that have been designated among Japan's 100 most beautiful.

The word 'senmaida' means 'thousand-layered small ricefields'. There are over 1300 terraced fields; some reputed to be so small that farmers are heard to say, 'I found the field I lost, it's here under my bamboo hat'.

A while ago, depopulation had reduced the number of ricefields to nearly 500, but thanks to the local population combining efforts with Kiwa-cho and the adoption of an owner-system, the number of ricefields is back to what it used to be.

The narrowest field is only two tatami-mats wide, and the elevation difference between the lowest and highest terrace is nearly 100m. It is impossible to use machines because of the steep incline of the terraces. Therefore every single blade of rice is reaped by hand.

There are many steep rice terraces in Japan, but Maruyama Senmaida leads in beauty and in its state of preservation. It can be said that these rice terraces literally comprise a scene of peaceful interaction between humans and nature.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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