The boat ride down the Hozu-gawa River is a 16 km, 2 hour journey through the mountains in Kyoto, from Hozu-cho, Kameoka City to Arashiyama, Kyoto City.
During the time that Nagaokakyo was the capital city of Japan (784~794), Hozu-gawa River was used to transport goods downstream to the Kyoto and Oosaka areas. It was in 1606, however, that the river was formally developed and utilized as an industrial waterway, due mainly to the efforts of Suminokura Ryoukai, who used the river to transport such local products as timber, firewood and charcoal from the Tanba region to Kyoto.
This river trip is now known, even in other countries, as the best boat ride in all of Japan.
The narrow winding course of the river produces many rapids and rocks of various shapes stud the river, providing a challenge to those steering the boats. During the trip, riders can also enjoy the echo of the paddles, sounds of the bush warbler in the valley and a chorus of kajika frogs in the summer.
With such seasonal scenic wonders as cherry blossoms, rock azaleas, lush green leaves, colorful autumn leaves and snowy landscapes, the ride down the river is pleasurable all year around.
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.
Ono Castle, also called Miyayama Castle, was located at the top of Mt. Seikai in Tokoname City, Aichi Prefecture. The castle was resided first by the Ono clan, the descendant of the Owari-Genji family, then the Isshiki clan, and finally the four generations of the Saji clan.
The Saji clan built up Chita Suigun (the naval forces) and played an important role in promoting maritime trade and controlling marine transportation in Ise Bay. Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi placed great importance on their naval power and Nobunaga’s sister and niece were married off to the Saji clan.
Nobunaga’s niece, Ogo (or Oeyo), whose mother is Nobunaga’s sister Oichi, was married to Saji Kazunari, the 4th head of the Saji clan, by the order of Hideyoshi. However, when Kazunari sided with the Tokugawa and Oda allied forces later, Hideyoshi got angry and made the couple get divorced in 1584. Later in 1595, she remarried Tokugawa Hidetada, the 3rd son of Ieyasu and later the 2nd Tokugawa Shogun, and became the mother of his successor, Iemitsu.
The castle ruins site has been arranged into the park, where the two-story donjon and the castle gate were newly constructed. You can command a wonderful view of Ise Bay from the observatory deck on the donjon. The Saji clan is enshrined at Saji Shrine in the ruins site of the watch tower.
The Chuma Kaido Road was a highway used to transport salt from Mikawa (Present-day Aichi Prefecture) to Shinshu (Nagano Prefecture) and products from Shinshu to Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka on the way back. “Chuma” was the name of the union organized by carriers using horses. The word is said to have derived from “chinba (a horse for transportation)” or “chukei-ba (a relaying horse).” As a local popular song went “1,000 horses com in, 1,000 horsed go out,” more than 7,000 horses went and returned on the road at its peak.
Asuke Town in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, was a thriving relay station on the Chuma Kaido Road in the Edo period (1603-1868). Though it ceased to function as a post station in the middle of the Meiji period (1868-1912), when railway service of the Chuo Line started, the old streetscapes of the Edo period remain in the central part of the town. The old road retained along the Tomoe River provides a nice promenade for tourists. The Chuma Kaido Road became National Road 153 today and functions as an important transportation route to support the life of local people.
The Kitakami River, running south from Iwate Prefecture to Miyagi Prefectures and flowing into the Pacific Ocean, is the longest river in the Tohoku region. It has a total length of 249 km and a watershed area of 10,150 sq m. As it has a moderate inclination for a river in this country, it was used for transporting rice to Edo (present-day Tokyo) in the Edo period (1603-1868). Today, main transportation facilities such as National Route 4, the Tohoku Express Highway and the JR Tohoku Line run along the river.
The upstream of the Kitakami River is the habitat of sweetfish and Yamame trout, while Japanese dace and Barbel steed can be seen in the deep water. Taking aim at these fish, great white egrets and grey herons, which are the largest species of birds in Japan, and common kingfishers, which look like beautiful gem stones, make their appearance on the riverside. In October, salmon swim all the way from the North Pacific Ocean up to the central part of Morioka City for spawning.
Flowing affluently, the Kitakami River has been and supporting the life of people in the watershed areas and nurturing numerous living species since the ancient times.
Ishibe-juku was the 51st post station of the Tokaido Road in the Edo period (1603-1868). There are several opinions as to the origin of the town. One of them states that 5 nearby villages were consolidated into the town of Ishibe in 1571 under the governance of Oda Nobunaga. Another states that the town was established in 1597 by the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi to provide couriers and horses for transporting commodities to Zenkoji Temple in present Nagano Prefecture. Still another states that it was established according to a shuinjo (red-seal letter) of 1601 to order every post station of the Tokaido Road to requisition the horsed for official use.
Travelers who left Kyoto usually spent their first night at Ishibe-juku. Located at the interchange point of the Tokaido Road and the Ise Shrine Pilgrimage Road, the town was bustling with a lot of travelers. There was a gold mine (“kin-zan” in Japanese) near the town, and it is said that a Japanese metaphor “Ishibe Kinkichi” meaning a hardheaded person is derived from this place.
Presently, two free rest stations, Ishibejuku-eki and Dengaku-jaya, are provided for the tourists.
Bunaco is a technique where rolls of thinly sliced wood from a Japanese beech (‘buna’) are coiled, and then pushed by hand little by little to create solid geometric shapes. The buna tree, which made up much of the original forests of Japan, was used to create boxes for exporting apples before the development of the ‘bunaco technique’. However, as the bunaco technique developed, the buna began to be used in many other ways, such as for dishes and lighting instruments. The lamp above is actually two bunaco lights shaped like trumpets, attached together by a roll of buna tape. This lighting instrument is completely symmetrical at the point where the red beam of light is seen. What is unique about this bunaco lamp is the red light that delicately shines out from the middle part. This is because the central part of this lamp has fewer layers, making it thinner than the other portions of the lamp, and thus allowing the light to break through. The lamp was designed for a club called Lounge O. Perfect for interiors with dim lighting, this lamp releases magical and enchanting beams of light that give a room a unique feel. There are holes on the top and bottom of this lamp to release heat, and the bunaco can be detached from the metal base when changing the light bulb.
Size W×D×H (mm)400×400×1800
Produced by: Ubushina,Yudai Tachikawa
The Old Nara Highway (National Road 308) dates to the C8th and is the main road that used to connect with Kawauchi until modern times. Kuragari Tōge (455m) is a mountain pass on the prefectural boundary between Osaka and Nara and was a tollway that once bustled with traders coming and going from Osaka, or pilgrims visiting shrines, or daimyō on their way to pay regular attendance at the Shōgun's court in Edo.
These days, tourists can easily visit this area by driving along the Shigi-Ikoma Skyline road along Mt Ikomayama, where they will see the remains of old stone paving, guidepost, and old rows of houses. There are a lot of historic sites around Kuragari Tōge, such as a monument to the Yanagisawa daimyō of Koriyama and a stone statue of Amitabha Buddha. In the Edo period, Bashō crossed this pass and left an excellent poem describing it.
The views of Ikoma city is superb. And one can see splendid terraced paddy fields extending before one's eyes.