Go-ishi or Go stones are black and white stones used for “Go”, a Japanese traditional board game that originated in China. Hyuga Clam Go Stones are Go stones produced in the Hyuga region, made from clamshells.
Prior to the Meiji period, stones, wood, and gems were generally used to make Go stones.
In the beginning of the Meiji period, Go-ishi makers in Oosaka began to use clams for Go stones in the Kuwana region of Mikawa. Due to vigorous production, however, clams in the region became scarce and Go-ishi makers had to look elsewhere for supplies.
Eventually Go-ishi makers found an abundant source of good clams in the Hyuga region and, as a result, all go-ishi makers in Oosaka started using them.
Around 1908, Seikichi Harada, who was from the Hyuga region and who had been trained as a Go-ishi maker in Oosaka, decided to go back to his home town where he and his workmate, Eijirou Ogawa, began producing Go stones. Due to their tireless efforts, Go-ishi making increased and it became one of the most important local businesses.
Hyuga is now the production center of clamshell Go stones in Japan. Its Go-ishi making techniques, mastered over the years, are highly regarded even outside of Japan.
Hyuga Clam Go Stones are the highest quality of Go-ishi in every respect, due to their fine texture, color, gloss and shape.
Cape Nosappu is at the tip od Nemuro Peninsula in the easternmost end of Hokkaido. It is located at 43°22’ N; 145°49′ E. The cape is very close to the Khabomai Rocks including Signalny (Kaigara-jima) and Tanfilyeva (Suisho-jima) and Kunashir Island (Kunashiri-to).
Known as “the Cape of Drift Ice,” the cape displays the dynamic and fantastic landscape of drift ice in winter. It is also famous as the place where the rising sun can be seen earliest in Japan. On New Year’s Day, a lot of people visit to “worship” the new year’s first sunrise.
The Cape Nosappu Lighthouse at the tip is the oldest in Hokkaido, which opened in 1872. In Bokyo-no-Misaki Park in the vicinity, there are a variety of facilities related to the Northern Territories such as the arch-shaped monument for the restoration activity called “Shima-no-kakehashi (Bridge to the Four Islands),” Bokyo-no-Ie (Northern Territory Folk Museum) and Hoppo-kan (Northern Museum).
The ruins of Nokata (Nokata Iseki), in Nishi-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture, show the remains of a village dating from the end of the Yayoi period to the Kofun period. The village was located on a long, fan-shaped plateau, which has an altitude of 17m to 20m, and measures 600m from north to south, and 200m east to west.
During the Yayoi period, the village was surrounded by two moats of different sizes. Within the village were smaller 'kango' (a small village surrounded by a moat), with the bigger kango having as many as 10 dwellings. Within the smaller kango were above-ground warehouses, which stored foods such as grain.
By the Kofun Period, there were more than 300 dwellings here. The burial area was very obviously situated away from the residential area. Many artefacts were excavated from the kango, including earthenware, stone implements and ironware, along with a variety of clam shells and bones from animals, birds, and fish, such as shark, bream and sea bass. Also unearthed were stone coffins filled with mirrors, balls, swords, glass balls and beads.
Nokata Iseki is a great place for people to learn about and envision the daily life of people in ancient Japan, and to capture the history and atmosphere of the past.
Hegura Island is located about 48km north of the Noto Peninsula. The shore has complicated inlets and cliffs formed by exposure to rough waves. The island is about 13m high and some 5km around and is small enough to explore in an hour.
In the past, fishermen from Wajima on the opposite shore would come here during the summer fishing season. But now, the number of inhabitants is increasing. Thanks to currents and landforms, it has many good fishing spots and is especially popular with ama, professional woman divers, who were described in an ancient poem in the Manyoushu (A Collection of a Myriad Leaves).
The views around the island have not changed so much over time and, in summer, many ama come here to dive for fish. In fact, the island is mainly fished by ama, their main catch being abalone, agar, soft seaweed and turban shells.
In addition, the island is a good resting place for birds migrating between Japan and the Asian Continent. In fact, there are some birds that can only be seen here in all Japan.
Raden is a decorative technique used in traditional crafts. The Raden kashiki (Raden sweets bowl) is one example of traditional Ryuyku lacquerware.
The craft of Raden-work involves a technique of framing and pasting the pearls of turban shells and abalones, then adjusting and grinding them into patterned shapes on a lacquer-coated surface. This technique comes from a decorative technique where light is beautifully reflected in blues and whites. The lacquer-coated surfaces are carved in patterns, while the shells are fixed with lacquer paste to the surface. Some Raden-work features engraving on the shell itself as decoration.
Raden includes decoration not only using shell, but also using amber, tortoiseshell and pieces of metal. Decoration using gold and silver is not called Raden, but Hyoumon or Heitatsu.
Raden kashiki is one example of Ryukyu lacquerware that developed uniquely from earlier lacquerware techniques introduced from China.