NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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八王子 真覚寺 Hachiouji Shinkaku-ji Shinkakuji Temple in Hachioji

Jp En

Shinkakuji Temple located in Sanda-machi, Hachioji City, Tokyo is a temple of the Chizan school of the Shingon sect. The main object of worship is Fudo Myoo. The temple is the 71st fudasho-temple of the Tama Shin-Shikoku 88 Holy Sites. The temple was founded in 1411. The temple treasure of the sitting statue of Yakushi Nyorai is designated as a Cultural Property of the city. The bell and bell tower are said to have been dedicated by Hachioji Sennin Doshin (junior officials) in 1660.

Shinkakuji Temple is famous for azalea and “Kawazu Gassen (the Frog Concert).” In the precinct is a pond called Shinji-ike in the shape of the Chinese character for “heart,” around which grow a lot of azalea and they are in full bloom in the middle of June. From the middle to the end of March, a lot of toads move to this pond for laying eggs. Though the toads decreased in number today, there used to be tens of thousands of toads got together here, which was called “Frog Concert” by the local people.
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大瀬神社 Ose-jinja Ose Shrine

Jp En

Ose Shrine is in Nishiura Enashi in Numazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture. As it enshrines Hikitajikara no Mikoto, it is formally named Hikitajikara no Mikoto Shrine. It is also called Ose Myojin Shrine.

The origin of the shrine is not identified, but, according to one story, the shrine was founded because, when an island called Biwashima emerged by the elevation of the sea bottom due to a big earthquake in 684, the local people believed that the god had pulled land from Tosa province (present-day Kochi Prefecture), where a lot of land sank into the sea by the same earthquake.

The enshrined deity, Hikitajikara no Mikoto, is known as the guardian god of the sea and has been worshipped by fishermen in Suruga Bay. A lot of Ema-plates depicting fishing activities in the old days and model fishing-ships made by ancient fishing people preserved at the shrine. These votive items are considered historically precious and prefecturally designated as a tangible folk cultural property.

Kami-ike Pond in the precinct is counted as one of the Seven Wonders in Izu because it is a fresh-water pond in spite of being located just by the sea.
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足助神社 Asuke-jinja Asuke Shrine

Jp En

There are two shrines standing next to each other in the town of Asuke in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture. The larger one is Asuke Hachimangu Shrine, which is a historic shrine founded in 652, and the smaller is Asuke Shrine, a relatively new shrine founded in 1902.

The enshrined deity at Asuke Shrine is Asuke Shigenori, the feudal lord of this area in the late Kamakura period (1192-1333). He fought on the side of Emperor Go-Daigo and was besieged in a castle in Mt. Kasagiyama in Kyoto to resist the Kamakura Shogunate forces. Feared as a dauntless general and a master-hand at archery, he fiercely fought in the battles but was finally captured and beheaded at Rokujo-Kawara in Kyoto.

Asuke Town has been famous for archery since the ancient times. Beside the torii gate of Asuke Shrine stands “Goose Monument,” a stone monument inscribed with a haiku poem on the deathbed composed by a person named Kyuemon, who had mistakenly shot a goose and entered the priesthood. The poem goes “Precedent death of a goose // blazed my way // to the Pure Land.”
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足助八幡宮 Asuke-hachiman-guu Asuke Hachimangu Shrine

Jp En

Asuke Hachimangu Shrine in the town of Asuke in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, is a historic shrine founded in 673. As the deity of traffic safety, recovery from illness and safe delivery, it has been worshipped by people from far and wide.

Honden (the main hall) is an elegant 3-bay building in Nagare-zukuri (flowing style) with a cypress-barked roof. It was designated as an Important Cultural Property in 1950 by the national government. As the remnant of Shinbutsu Shugo (fusion of Shinto and Buddhism) practiced until the beginning of the Meiji period (1868-1912), there is a bell tower in the precinct. The huge cedar tree, which is presumed to be 500 yeas old, is a designated Natural Monument of Toyota City.

The wooden plaque “Teppo-no-matouchi-zu Hangaku” was made and dedicated in 1612 by Sawada Shiroemon, a local master of gunnery. It is one of the four existing wooden plaques that depict the shooting scenes.

In January, visitors are treated with Nanakusa-gayu (rice porridge with seven herbs of spring) in hope for good health in the coming year. At the annual festival held in October, the gorgeous mikoshi parade is performed.
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大瀬崎 Oose-zaki Osezaki

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Osezaki in Nishiura Enashi in Numazu City in Shizuoka Prefecture is a 1-kilometer cape protruding into Suruga Bay on the west side of Izu Peninsula. It is traditionally called Biwashima (Biwa Island) because, according to the story handed down in this area, it was originally an island formed by the elevation of the sea bottom due to a big earthquake that occurred in 684. The island was named Biwashima but it was connected to the main land by the sand bar formed in the later times.

Located in the innermost part of Suruga Bay, Osezaki has been a famous scenic spot to view Mt. Fuji across the ocean and has been visited by a lot of tourists all through the year.

With stabilized sea conditions, Osezaki is a treasure trove of nature, providing habitats for abundant variety of wildlife. It is famous as the northernmost wild boundary of Chinese bottle trees. Over 1,000-year-old wild Chinese bottle trees form a colony along the promenade on the open sea side of the cape. It is designated as a National Natural Monument. Osezaki is also an internationally well-known dive site.
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勝手神社 Katte-jinjya Katte Shrine

Jp En

Katte Shrine located in Yoshinoyama, Yoshino-cho, Nara Pref. is one of the eight Myojin shrines in Yoshino. It enshrines Oyama Tsumi no Kami and Konohanasakuya-hime no Mikoto. Legend has it that in 672, when Prince Oama (later enthroned as Emperor Tenmu), who had stayed in Yoshino and gathered an army to battle with the crown prince, was playing the Japanese harp in front of the hall at this temple, a heavenly maiden appeared and showed him a lucky omen.
It is also said that in 1185, when Shizuka Gozen, who parted with Minamoto no Yoshitsune in Mt. Yoshino, was caught by the pursuers, she performed elegant dance in front of the hall at this shrine to make time for her husband to escape.
The main hall was once destroyed by fire and restored in 1776, but in 2005 it was burned down again by the fire of suspicious origin. Presently, only a part of wooden structure remains and there is little possibility of the restoration of this important cultural property.
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豊積神社 Toyozumi-jinjya Toyozumi Shrine

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Toyozumi Shrine located in Yui-cho, Ihara-gun, Shizuoka Pref. is a shrine with a long history since the ancient times. The enshrined deity is Konohana Sakuyahime no Mikoto. Opinion about its foundation is divided, but the information board in the precinct explains that it originally enshrined Toyoukebime, the deity of rich harvest, during the 7th century, but according to popularization of Asama worship (worship of the volcano god), the chief priest received the oracle in 791 and it began to enshrine Konohana Sakuyahime no Mikoto. In another historical record, it is written that the shrine was founded in 791. In either case, the shrine was listed on Engishiki (codes and procedures on national rites and prayers) in the Heian period (794-1192) as a shrine to worship Asama no Okami and was also called Toyozumi no Asama no Daimyojin. Otaiko Matsuri Festival held for three days from the New Year’s Day, originates in the old episode that Sakanoue Tamuramaro dropped in at this shrine on his way back from the conquering battles with the Emishi and had a feast to thank the god for his victory.
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吉水神社 Yoshimizu-jinjya Yoshimizu Shrine

Jp En

Yoshimizu Shrine is located in Yoshinoyama, Yoshino-cho, Nara Pref. It was originally a temple named “Kissui-in,” which is said to have been founded in the Hakuho era (650-654) by En no Gyoja. It had been a Sobo (a living quarters of priests) of Kinpusen Shugendo Honshu for a long time. It was the main shrine of the South Court during the Nanbokucho Period (1336-1392) and was flourished with the spread of Shugendo until the early Meiji period (1868-1912). However in the Meiji period, it became a shrine according to the Meiji government’s policy of separation of Shinto and Buddhism.
The enshrined deity is Emperor Go-daigo of the South Court accompanied by his loyal retainers, Kusunoki Masashige and Kissui-in Soshin Hoin. The temple is also pertaining to Minamoto no Yoshitsune, his wife Shizuka Gozen, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The shrine is said to be the treasure box of cultural properties, for more than 100 important cultural properties are exhibited here. Among others, it has the largest number of documents concerning the South Court.
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