NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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栃木 平和観音 Tochigi Heiwakannon Tochigi Heiwa Kannon

Jp En

Heiwa Kannon located in Ohya-machi, Utsunomiya City, Tochigi Pref. is a huge statue of Kannon carved into a wall of Ohya Stone in the old Ohya stone quarry. It was made in hope for world peace and in memory of Japan and U.S. war dead soldiers in the World War II. The statue is 26.93-meter in height and 20-centimeter in circumference of waist. It was made in 1954 by a stone mason, Ryozo Ueno, who did its foundation work, and a sculptor, Asajiro Hida, who hand-carved its calm expression. From the top of the stairs beside the statue, you can command a wide view of the Utsunomiya plain over its shoulder.
On the left side of the Kannon was a tunnel leading to Ohyaji Temple, but it is currently closed for the danger of falling. Ohyaji Temple is also famous for its rock-cut Kannon known as Ohya Kannon. Heiwa Kannon is a symbol of the stone town of Ohya.
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大洗磯前神社 Ooarai-isozaki-jinjya Oarai Isozaki Shrine

Jp En

Oarai Isozaki Shrine located in Oarai-machi, Ibaraki Pref. is said to have been founded in 856, when political turmoil and frequent earthquakes confused people, Okuninushi no Kami descended to this place to cease the turbulence and build a peaceful nation. During the Eiroku era (1558-1569) all the buildings were destroyed by a war fire. Later in 1690, the reconstruction works stared under the order of Tokugawa Mitsukuni, and during the rule of his son, Tsunaeda, all the structures including the Main Hall, Haiden Hall (oratory) and Shin-mon Gate were completed. The present halls and the gate have existed since this reconstruction, which are considered to be the precious cultural properties to represent the early Edo-styled architecture. Enshrined Okuninushi no Kami is worshipped as the deity of business success, family safety, traffic safety, evil avoidance and bringing happiness, attainment of desires, and the deity of sake brewing and healing illness.
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宮平初子(人間国宝) Miyahira Hatsuko Miyahira Hatsuko (Living National Treasure)

Jp En

Ms. Miyahara was born in Shuri in Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture in 1922. Hiving great interest and knowledge in the Shuri textile since very young, she entered the Okinawa Kenritsu Joshi Kogei Gakko (Okinawa Prefectural Women’s School of Arts and Crafts), where she learned dyeing. She met Muneyoshi Yanagi in the year of her graduation and went to Tokyo, where she studied weaving and dyeing with plant stuff under his guidance. After two years, she returned to Naha and taught at her former school. However, as the World War II turned Okinawa into burnt ground, the Shuri textile was virtually in danger of extinction.

The Shuri textile is the products of traditional dyeing and weaving techniques developed and handed down over five hundred years in the Shuri area in Naha. During the period of Ryukyu Kingdom, these fabrics were mainly worn by the nobility and warrior classes and the main weavers were wives and daughters of warriors.

Ms. Miyahara devoted herself to reviving the Shuri fabric traditions and organizing the craftspeople of the fabric. In 1972, when Okinawa was returned to Japan, she organized the Naha Traditional Textiles Association and contributed to the revitalization and succession of the Shuri textile. She was designated as a holder of an Important Intangible Cultural Property (known as a Living National Treasure) in 1998. Love for her homeland and the hope for the world peace are woven into the fabric woven by Ms. Miyahara.
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妙立寺 Myouryu-ji Myoryuji Temple

Jp En

The 1st Kaga domain head, Maeda Toshiie, adopted the Chudo spirit of the Nichiren Buddhist sect and Hogekyo as his political philosophy and built Myoryuji Temple as a place to pray for the domain's peace. This was in the 13th year of the Tensei period (1583). Later, in the 20th year of the Kanei period (1643), the 3rd domain head, Maeda Toshitsune moved the temple to its present place.

At the time of Toshitsune, the Tokugawa government had established its base and sent spies to various domains. Toshitsune let his nose hair grow and pretended to be stupid in order to deceive the spies. But Toshitsune is also famous for developing industry and the performing arts, and built temples as emergency barracks. Myoryuji Temple is the main temple among these.

It might look two-storied from the outside but in fact it is four-storied with seven layers. There are many contraptions everywhere in the temple such as a hidden walkway, room, stairs and changeable fake walls, holes for escape, double doors and various traps. This is the reason why the temple is also called Ninja (Spy) Temple.
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賤ヶ岳 Shizuga-take Mt Shizugatake

Jp En

Mt Shizugatake (421.9m) is located between the towns of Kinomoto and Yogo in Ika County, Shiga Prefecture. In the 11th year of the Tensho period (1583), Mt Shizugatake was the site of the battle between Hashiba (Toyotomi) Hideyoshi and Shibata Katsuie over who would succeed Oda Nobunaga.

Hideyoshi covered the 50km distance from Ogaki to Kinomoto in five hours, and he won the battle with the support of Shunei, known as 'seven spears in Shizugatake'.

It was soon after the battle of Shizugatake that Hideyoshi said 'It is now that Japan has settled down', for the period of civil war had ended.

From Mt Shizugatake, you can see Mt Ibuki and Kotani to the east; Lake Biwa and Chikubu Island to the south; and Yogo Lake of the Hagoromo Legacy to the north.

Mt Shizugatake is one of the best scenic areas in the Kohoku region, and one of the 8 great views of Lake Biwa.

Mt Shizugatake is the historic site that witnessed the turning point that led to the end of internal warring in Japan.
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福岡城跡 Fukuokajo-ato Fukuoka Castle Ruins

Jp En

The remains of Fukuoka Castle are located in Chuo-ku, Fukuoka. The castle was originally constructed in 1601 by the founder of the Fukuoka clan, Nagamasa Kuroda. It took seven years to complete and also goes by the name of Maizuru-jo, or Dancing-Crane Castle.

It is a castle positioned on the flat top of a hill, and once had at least 47 different watchtowers and turrets of different sizes. Because it did not have a significant tower keep, it was never looked upon as a threat by the central government, which explains why it stood without damage through the Meiji period.

The castle features several three-storied turrets known as yagura: Tabun Yagura (an Important Cultural Treasure), Shiomi Yagura and Kinen Yagura, as well as the Moritaheitei Nagayamon Gate and the Najima Mon Gate. The Dai Tenshudai has become an observation deck. In the area surrounded by the castle moat, can be found Cyperus Ohwii trees, designated by the prefecture as a protected species. There is also a monument commemorating the 'Manyoushu' poetry classic.

At present, the surroundings of the castle have become Maizuru Park, and there are also several sports facilities, such as the Heiwadai Track and Field Stadium. The castle is also a famous cherry-blossom viewing spot. In Showa 32, the castle was designated as a national historic site.
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舞鶴公園 Maizuru-kouen Maizuru Park

Jp En

Maizuru Park is located in Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City and is the site of Fukuoka Castle (Maizuru Castle).

Before the Second World War, this park was the headquarters of the 24th infantry regiment. After Fukuoka City acquired the site, Yaroku Miyoshi, the Fukuoka mayor at that time, renamed it 'Peace Hill' Park in order to 'make a sound and peaceful society, and to recover from war damage through sports'.

Peace Hill Sports Park is situated within the park, and includes Peace Hill Baseball Ground. Included in the park is a track field for athletics and tennis courts.

In spring, the cherry and apricot trees bloom and many people come to see them. The apricot blooms some time between February and March; the 'hirado' azalea in April; the moutan, wisteria, peony and calamus in May; hydrangea in June; and lotus in August. Indeed, Maizuru Park is where you can enjoy flowers throughout the four seasons.
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出雲大社 Izumoooyashiro Izumo Shrine

Jp En

The main deity at Izumo Shrine in Shimane Prefecture, is known as the god of luck, peace, relationships, agriculture andmedicine. Within the grounds of the shrine, are structures built in the ‘shinkoden’ style, which means ‘luck from god’. They are two-storied and include the treasure hall, which exhibits treasures that prove the development of the Izumo Shrine. The main building, which is designated as a national treasure, is now 24m high, yet it is said that it was once twice the height, at 48m. Excavation in progress has proved this, with the discovery of a  gigantic column on the site. On March 19,  2007, the Shimane Museum of Ancient Izumo opened just beside the shrine and exhibits the original column of the main sanctuary. About 600,000 people visit the shrine during the first three days of the New Year
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