NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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今市石畳 Imaichi-ishidatami Imaichi Stone-Paved Road

Jp En

The stone-paved road in Imaichi is part of the old Higo road that was used in the past. This important historical path was designated as an important cultural heritage site of the prefecture in 1972.

Imaichi Stone-Paved Road is located in the town of Notsuharu in Oita Prefecture. Notsuharu-cho became part of Higo territory from 1601, and Imaichi and the Notsuharu area formed a post station for the Higo clan until the late Tokugawa shogunate.

It is said that a teashop along the road here once prospered as a trading center. The stones used to pave the road reflect former ages. The 2m-wide section of stone-paved road lies in the center of the 6m-wide road. It stretches about 660m and reminds us of the time in the past when a daimyo lord would pass along this road.

The Kagokaki race, which takes place annually in August, is also famous. It is a race to reenact the cityscape back then. During the race, people run along the pathway, wearing a costume and carrying a basket.
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朝夷奈切通 Asaina-kiridooshi Asaina-kiridoshi

Jp En

The Asaina-kiridoshi is an ancient passageway located between Junisho in Kamakura, and Kanazawa-gun in Yokohama, both in Kanagawa Prefecture. The passageway is designated a National Monument.

In Kamakura, there are many passageways for defensive purposes called kiridoshi. The Asaina-kiridoshi connects Kamakura with Kanazawa and Rokuura, and is said to be one of the seven greater kiridoshi in Kamakura.

The name Asaina-kiridoshi comes from Yoshihide Saburo Asaina who, during the 2nd year of the Ninji era (1241) and under the command of Masatoki Hojo, was said to have built the road in a single night.

The road was constructed during a time of dispute between the Hojo and Miura clans. The Hojo clan was in need of a road connecting with the Rokuura port, and leading to Boso without passing through the Miura Peninsula.

The Asaina-kiridoshi still retains its distinct historical atmosphere, and reminds those who walk on it of the culture and life of the Kamakura period.
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備中松山城 Bicchu-matsuyama-jo Bicchu-matsuyama Castle

Jp En

Bicchu-matsuyama Castle is situated on Mt Kagyu, which is the town's northern peak. The castle is the highest (430m) in Japan. It was established in the Kamakura period. The castle's origins are associated with the story that Akibashi Shigenobu, the landlord of Ukango (present-day Ukan town, Takahashi district) founded a castle on Mt Omatsu. Later, Mizutani Katsumune constructed Bicchu-matsuyama Castle in 1683. Back then, Mt Kigyu was located near the San-yo and San-in roads. Landlords on either side were fighting for the land and castle and war broke out frequently.

Bicchu-matsuyama Castle is counted as one of the major mountain castles of Japan and, of the three, it is the only one with structures still standing. Also, there is a keep tower. The contrast of white walls and black supporting walls is beautiful, and matches the blue sky.
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石のモザイク Ishi-no-mozaiku Designs in Stone

Jp En

Stones are very different from each other: big stones or small ones; stones left around that no one would look at; or stones that attract you and make you want to hold them.

Stones are the symbols that show each culture. In Italy, there are many buildings made of stones laid one on top of the other. There are no earthquakes in Italy and its history is that of a country that readily builds in stone.

In Japan, stones are used to lay the foundations for castles. Moreover, some roads made of 'stone-tatami' have been selected as some of the Major 100 Roads of Japan. Our ancestors' wisdom produced strong roads that protected the people's feet.

But is the purpose of using stones only for that? If you have a closer look at the roads, there are different stone-patterns, such as combinations of irregular sides, regular squares and round stones. The patterns give you a feeling of artistry rather than practicality. Such stone art, like mosaics, show one side of the Japanese sense of fun.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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