NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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酒田まつり Sakata-matsuri Sakata Matsuri Festival

Jp En

Sakata Matsuri is an annual festival that takes place at both Kamihie and Shimohie shrines in Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture, from May 19 to 21.

The festival has taken place every year for close to 400 years, since the 14th year of the Keicho era. Formerly, the festival was called Sanno Matsuri, but in Showa 54 it was renamed Sakata Matsuri as a festival for all citizens.

On the night before the festival, a traditional dance called Shikidai-no-Gi is performed. The symbol of Sakata, shishito (lion heads), appears in both male and female form during this festival. In addition, local citizens carry floats around the city. Many stalls line the roads and the city takes on a festive mood that recalls its former glory as a port city. Sakata Matsuri is an event brimming with local color.
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和賀江嶋 Waka-enoshima Waka-enoshima

Jp En

Waka-enoshima is located in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, and is Japan's oldest harbor. The city of Kamakura was utilized as a port during the Kamakura period, and was bustling with merchant ships from all over Japan and China. Yet, due to the shallowness of the port for a considerable distance from shore, many ships found it inconvenient to unload, while some were shipwrecked due to carelessness.

During the first year of the Jyoei era (1232), the monk O-amidabutsu was granted permission by Masatoki Hojo to lay down Izu rocks in the water as a foundation for a man-made harbor island. A temple called the Gokuraku Temple was later built on top of it to manage the harbor. This was the start of the oldest harbor in Japan, Waka-enoshima.

The island was later used as a port during the Edo period, but due to numerous earthquakes and erosion, only a large mound of rocks can be seen during low tide now. Pieces of old ceramic pottery dating back to former trading days, as well as tidal pool sea organisms can be found on the island.

Waka-enoshima is a monument that reminds visitors of the glory of the Kamakura period.
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