NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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倶利伽羅不動尊 Kurikara-Hudouson Kurikara Fudouson

Jp En

Kurikara Fudouson Temple is situated near Kurikara Pass, which was made famous by the battle between the Heike Clan and Saso Yoshinaka during the 2nd year of the Eiju period (1183). It is said to be one of the three best fudousons in Japan.

In the 2nd year of the Yourou period (718), at the request of Emperor Genshou, the Indian high priest Zenmui-sannzou-houshi was called upon to spread the laws of Buddhism upon the land. It is said that deep inside the temple's main building, hidden from the public, lies the sword of enlightenment which has a winding black dragon carved right on it. The sword has been called Kurikara-fudouson since then.

One hundred years later, the Buddhist priest, Kobo Daishi, reached Kurikara Fudouson, carved a statue that was almost exactly identical to the one made by Zenmui-sannzou-houshi, and conducted the Goma fire ritual. This statue is enshrined in the main hall.

The temple was partially destroyed during the Gennpei battles in the 2nd year of the Eiju period, but was reconstructed owing to the dedications of Minamoto no Yoritomo. A prayer house by the name of Chourakutei was built nearby by the Kaga Domain in the Edo period. Kurikara means 'black dragon' in Sanskrit.
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山刀伐峠 Nadagiri-touge Nadagiri Pass

Jp En

Nadagiri Pass is located near the town of Mogami, in Hanazawa district, Yamagata prefecture. It featured in a haiku poem from Matsuo Bashō's book 'The Narrow Road to Oku' ('Oku no Hosomichi'). Bashō illustrates the pass as a black spot because he was anxious about the bandits that haunted it and the roughness of the path.

Even nowadays, the pass is still rough. Along the way, a statue of Jizo, the guardian deity of children, has been placed and there is a festival held here on July 24th each year. There is also a tree called the 'children blessing pine' beside the stone statue. Its strange shape has led people to imagine that a forest god is inhabiting it.

People back then, including Bashō, must have had a hard time getting over the pass.
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倶利伽羅峠 源平供養塔 Kurikaratohge Genpeikuyohtoh Kurikara Pass Genpei Memorial

Jp En

Kurikara is a pass between Toyama and Ishikawa prefectures. It is also the site of a battle fought during the famous Genpei War. At the Kurikara battlefield are various historical spots relating to the war, such as the Genpei Memorial.

In 1183, the Minamoto clan blew conches, beat drums and released a stampede of 500 cows against the Heike clan. The Heike clan were exhausted by the long march from Kyoto and their warriors were unprepared. Unable to gather themselves in the darkness and resist, the army retreated to Jigoku valley.

Later, this site was named Kagyu-no-Kei and is recorded in the 'Genpei Josuiki' chronicle. The memorial is located in Sarugababa, which is a few minutes walk toward Oyabe district from Kurikara Park.

In May, the blossom from the cherry trees planted near the memorial glow as if to soothe the spirits of the fallen warriors.
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