NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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寒河江城 Sagae-jyo Sagae Castle

Jp En

Sagae Castle is located in Marunouchi, Sagae, in Yamagata Prefecture.

The site of the castle was originally the residence that Chikahiro, legitimate son of Oue Hiromoto, built in Sagae during the Kamakura period. His descendant, Oue Tokiuji, improved and renovated the residence into a castle, known as Sagae Castle, which even had three moats.

In 1584, the Oue family lost in a battle against Mogami Yoshiaki, and were completely annihilated. Following the battle, Sagae Hizen became lord of the castle, but after the death of Yoshiaki, Hizen killed himself and Sagae Castle was abandoned.

Currently, the old castle land has become the grounds of the Sagae Elementary School. Most of the remains of the castle have been lost, due to residential development in the area. The only thing remaining of the castle are the moats, which are missing the west side.

Sagae Castle holds the memories of the local powerful clan, the Oue Family.
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佐伯武家屋敷 Saiki-bukeyashiki Saiki Samurai Residences

Jp En

Near the old castle in Saiki town, Oita Prefecture, there still exists a group of samurai residences dating back to the time when the area belonged to the Saiki Domain.

The Saiki Domain was founded in 1601 (Keicho 6), when the first domain lord, Takamasa Mori, moved here from his former territory of Hita, Bungo-nokuni. As the new site in the Togamurejo area was relatively inconvenient, they moved again to Hachiman-yama in Bungo-nokuni, where they built Tsuruya Castle at the mouth of the Bansho River. When this castle burned down in 1617 (Ganwa 3), the domain used the Sannomaru, at the foot of the mountain, as their castle. Samurai residences for the domain retainers were built at this time.

Today, the samurai residences around the Shiroyama area suggest the old atmosphere of the Edo period. In 1893 (Meiji 26), Doppo Kunikida, who came here to teach at the Tsuruya Gakkan, stayed with his brother at a samurai residence called Sakamoto-Tei. Now the Sakamoto-Tei is opened to the public as the Kunikida Doppo House of Saiki Castle Town.
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旧恵利家住宅 Kyuu-erike-jyuutaku Old Eri Family Residence

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The Old Eri Family Residence (Kyuu-Erike-Jyuutaku) is located in Ookawa-machi, Sanuki, Kagawa Prefecture, and is the oldest farmhouse residential building in all of Kagawa.
   It was built in the 17th century, and originally was found in Nina, Ookawa-machi. The Erike ancestors bore their surname from this land, and settled on the estate. Currently, the house has been relocated to the Miroku Natural Park.
   The layout of the house is known as 'sanma-madori' (three-room plan) and is harmonized by a style distinct to Eastern Kagawa. Its most distinguishing characteristics are the thatched roof, built using a technique called 'tsukudare', along with the simple decorations. The main beam of the house efficiently utilizes the bend of the tree, and is exposed at the ceiling. The ceiling of the house is formed by woven bamboos, covered with soil and clay. This kind of ceiling is called 'yamato tenjyo' ('yamato ceiling').
   An 8-jyo (8-tatami) Japanese-style room with a tokonoma (alcove) is laid out, along with a traditional porch that is flooded with warm, luminous sunlight. Seeing people bask in the sun on the porch somehow brings a feeling of nostalgia, giving the house a sentimental feel. It has been nominated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan.
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北前船主屋敷蔵六園 Kitamaesensyu-yashiki-zourokuen Zourokuen, the Estate of a Kitamae Ship-owner

Jp En

Zourokuen is the estate of the owner of a 'kitamaesen', one of the largest ships trading in the Sea of Japan from the Edo to mid-Meiji period.
   Most of the owners of kitamaesen were Oumi merchants, but were also employed as captains. These merchants built and commanded the kitamaesen, playing an active part in trade with Ezo (today's Hokkaido).
   As trade flourished, the merchants left the boats to the mariners of Kaga, Echizen and Wakasa. The captains of the kitamaesen were able to prosper as accomplished merchants, having gained experience and business acumen.
   Zourokuen comprises the residence and garden of the Saketani family, who had prospered in business. Their wealth is apparent in the buildings, its contents and the garden. The total area of the residence is about 1,000 tsubo (3,300m3). The total floor space of the lacquered mansion alone is about 300 tsubo (991.7m3).
   Exhibits in the warehouse include ancient documents, pottery (such as Kutani porcelain), yoshidaya, the miyamotoya-hachiro-akae, and the Matsuyama kiln.
   Approximately 500 kinds of Yamano grass grow wild in the garden of Enshuryu, and meiseki (ancient stones) from all over the country are positioned around the garden, creating a beautiful view.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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