NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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作楽神社 Sakura-jinjya Sakura Shrine

Jp En

Sakura Shrine is situated between the city boundary of Tsuyama district and Kagamino town, in Okayama Prefecture. The shrine honors Emperor Go-Daigo and Kojima Takanori.

The whole precinct is designated as an important historic site. In ancient times, this area was called 'Insho' because it used to be the manor of a retired emperor. It is also known as a place where Emperor Go-daigo stayed on his way to Oki during the Genkō War in 1331. It is recorded in 'Taiheiki' that, one night, Kojima Takanori broke through the strict security around the manor and wrote a poem 'Jyu-ji-no-shi' about the cherry (sakura) tree to console the emperor.

Because of this story, the Takanori Monument was created in 1688 and later, the shrine was established in 1869.
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舳倉島・海女 Hegurashima・Ama Hegura Island and the Ama

Jp En

Hegura Island is located about 48km north of the Noto Peninsula. The shore has complicated inlets and cliffs formed by exposure to rough waves. The island is about 13m high and some 5km around and is small enough to explore in an hour.

In the past, fishermen from Wajima on the opposite shore would come here during the summer fishing season. But now, the number of inhabitants is increasing. Thanks to currents and landforms, it has many good fishing spots and is especially popular with ama, professional woman divers, who were described in an ancient poem in the Manyoushu (A Collection of a Myriad Leaves).

The views around the island have not changed so much over time and, in summer, many ama come here to dive for fish. In fact, the island is mainly fished by ama, their main catch being abalone, agar, soft seaweed and turban shells.

In addition, the island is a good resting place for birds migrating between Japan and the Asian Continent. In fact, there are some birds that can only be seen here in all Japan.
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新湊法生津八幡宮 Shinminato-Hojozu-hachimangu Shinminato Hojozu Hachimangu Shrine

Jp En

Shinminato Hojozu Hachimangu Shrine is located in Imizu City, Toyama Prefecture. The shrine was established in 746, when the poet Ootomo-no-Yakamochi, who was then an officer of the Ecchu area, was given blessings by the Usa Hachimangu Shrine in Toyomae to build a shrine.

Behind the site of the shrine is a monument commemorating one of Ootomo-no-Yakamochi's poems, which is about Nago Inlet, and is included in the classic book 'Manyoushu'. 'Because the eastern wind blows hard, the waves of the Nago Inlet beat the shore, just as my heart aches and beats for security and love.' Nago Inlet can be seen from the shrine, allowing the viewer to experience the poet’s passion and emotion. The shrine also includes a monument to Matsuo Basho, who became famous for his book 'Osu no Hosomichi'.

The Houjyouzu Hachiman Festival takes place every October 1st with a parade of floats. Thirteen gorgeous floats are pulled through the city, looking like mountains of flowers by day, and a grand sight by night when lit up.
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友泉亭公園 Yusentei-kouen Yusentei Park and Villa

Jp En

Yusentei Park, located in Jonan-ku, Fukuoka City, is an historical area that includes the former villa of the Chikuzen-Kuroda clan. The villa was originally built in the mid-Edo period (1754) for Tsugitaka Kuroda, the 6th domain head of the Kuroda clan.

Yusentei ('friendly fountain villa') gets its name from a tanka poem written by a later lord, that goes: 'A fountain ('sen') does not know the heat that people cannot endure, The fountain is friendly ('yu') with a hermitage.'

It is wonderful to find such a genuine Japanese garden such as this. It includes a pond, as well as trees and flowers that include maple, beech, camellia and wisteria. The flora vary throughout the seasons. The view of the garden from the main building is splendid. The fall leaves are very beautiful and thousands of carp swim in the pond.

This park is like a sanctuary that calms us in our busy daily lives.
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飛雪の滝 Hisetsuno-taki Hisetsu-no-taki (Waterfall of Flying Snow)

Jp En

Hisetsu-no-taki is located in Asari, Kihou-cho, Minamimuro, Mie Prefecture, and is 30m high and 12m wide.

In olden times, the waterfall was called the 'waterfall of the valley of bamboo' because of the thick bamboo forest in the valley where it falls. The name, Hisetsu-no-taki, derives from Yorinobu Tokugawa's poem written after seeing the waterfall:

Passing over many mountains the river is rich
The surroundings are all of a deep autumn color
The waterfall
One protruding rock being caressed by the water
When the wind blows
The scattering droplets dance like a snow swirl.

While being the easiest waterfall to reach in Kihou-cho, its wonderful surroundings make it seem as though it is a grand waterfall hidden deep inside the mountains.

Asazato Shrine is located to the east of the waterfall, and the stream that leads to the fall runs through the shrine's sacred grounds.

The sight of the water droplets scattering like a snow swirl as they strike the undulating and protruding rock-face gives the observer a subconscious sense of an ethereal, profound atmosphere that seems almost unreal.
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鈴木 藏 (人間国宝) Suzuki Osamu Osamu Suzuki

Jp En

Osamu Suzuki, the famous ceramicist, was born in 1934 in Dachi, Toki City, Gifu prefecture. In 1953, he graduated from the Ceramics Department of Tajimi Industry High-school, and started working at a laboratory of Maruko-toen studying glazes and clays, in order to support his father, Michio. He made efforts to accumulate technological information even though traditional learning emphasized pottery making.

In 1959, he exhibited his first Shino-ware round dish form, a set of five dishes, at the 8th Modern Japanese Ceramic Exhibition and the 6th Japan Traditional Handicraft Exhibition. He won a prize at both exhibitions. After that, he received many awards and in 1982 he won the 19th Gold Prize from the Japan Ceramic Society.

Though wood-fired kilns were traditionally used in his local district, he has consistently made Shino ware using gas-fired kilns and has been highly-valued because of his great works, establishing himself as a leading proponent of modern Shino ware.

In 1987, he won the highest prize of all from the Ministry of Education. In 1994, he was designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Asset Holder (Living National Treasure).

Shino is the first example of full-dressed glazed ceramics in Japan. Its thick glaze is white, soft and pitted like an orange. Shino has a very unique image.
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