Nyoirinji Temple located in Yoshinoyama, Yoshino-cho, Nara Pref. is a temple of Jodo sect. It was founded in the Engi era (901-923) by the priest Nichizo Doken Shonin, a son of the Monjo Hakase (Professor of Literature) Miyoshi Kiyoyuki. The principal image is Nyoirin Kannon. In 1336, when Emperor Go-daigo was defeated in Nanbokucho Wars and set up the Southern Court in Yoshino, the temple became the place where the emperor offered prayers. The temple is known for the episode that when Kusunoki Masashige set out for the battle of Shijo Nawate in Osaka, he carved the death poem on the door of the hall with an arrowhead.
In 1650, when the priest Tetsugyu restored the main hall, the temple was converted from the Shingon sect to the Jodo sect. A lot of precious cultural properties are displayed in the Treasure House of the temple including the statue of angry-faced Zao Gongen and the picture of Kannon, which is popularly called “Ne-ogami Kannon (Kannon to be worshipped in the lying posture)” because it is painted on the ceiling and which is said to be the largest one of this type. Standing in the precinct, visitors can feel the long history and tradition at this temple of Nyoirinji.
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.”
Heishoji Temple in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, is a temple of the Soto sect. According to the temple record written in 1616, it was founded by Prince Shotoku (574-622); it later became a temple of the Tendai sect and named Dandokuzan Daihimitsuin Temple; and when Prince Hirakatsu (平勝), the 3rd son of Emperor Go-Daigo, visited this temple to pray for victory, the temple name was changed to Heishoji (平勝寺).
The principal object of worship is the treasured wooden statue of Kannon Bosatsu. It was carved with the Yosegi-zukuri (assembled wood) technique and the writing contained inside the statue shows that it was made in 1159. The display of this secret Buddha is held once every 17 years. It is nationally designated as an Important Cultural Property.
The ruins of Kuroki Palace at the top of Tennozan, a low hill facing Beppu Bay, on Oki-Nishinoshima Island in Shimane Prefecture is the site where Emperor Go-Daigo stayed when he was exiled to the Oki Islands.
In 1332, Emperor Go-Daigo raised the army to defeat the Kamakura Shogunate, whose power had been diminished by the two wars with Mongol, but he was defeated and banished to the Oki Islands. The emperor, however, escaped Oki within 2 years and succeeded in defeating the Shogunate this time. He returned to Kyoto and claimed power in what came to be known as the Kemmu Restoration.
At the foot of Tennozan is the history museum Hekifukan, where documents and pictures pertaining to the emperor are exhibited. Beside the ruins of Kuroki Palace is Kuroki Shrine, where Emperor Go-Daigo is enshrined. The ruins site is prefecturally designated as a historic site.
Ikushina Shrine located in Nitta Ichinoi-cho, Ota City, Gunma Prefecture is a shrine pertaining to Nitta Yoshisada, a loyal retainer of Emperor Go-Daigo. The enshrined deities are Onamuchi no Kami, Homudawake no Mikoto, and Takeminakata no Kami. The shrine is listed on Jinmyocho (the list of deities made in the Heian period) but when it was founded is unknown. It is the main shrine of all the Ikushina shrines in the city.
It is said that Nitta Yoshisada raised his army in the precinct of this shrine before he made war against the Kamakura Shogunate under the order of Emperor Go-Daigo. There are a lot of remains pertaining to Yoshisada in the precinct including the statue of Nitta Yoshisada, the mound where Yoshisada raised his army, the place where he set his portable chair, the sawtooth oak tree on which he hung his troop flag and a stone monument.
On May 8th, the day when Yoshisada raised his army, Kaburaya Festival is held every year, in which local elementary school children launch arrows all together in the direction of Kamakura.
In mid-May, wisteria blooms beautifully over the mountains. Fujifu is a cloth made by weaving fabrics extracted from the vines of those wisterias. In the Tango areas, the weaving skills that developed over 1,200 years are now designated as a traditional handicraft of Kyoto.
The history of fujifu is long. There is a phrase that indicates the presence of fujifu even in the 'Manyoushu' (a collection of Japanese poetry, compiled around the mid-8th century), which mentions 'the fujifu of a salt farm worker, working for the lord'. Also, an anecdote describes how the Emperor Godaigo took a wisteria seedling with him to Okinoshima island, when he was exiled there by the Kamakura Shogunate in 1333 (Genkou 2). The anecdote explains that he loved the wisteria and remembered the imperial capital by dressing in fujifu cloth.
At one time, fujifu was being produced widely across Japan as general apparel. Today, there have been approaches to adapt fujifu for modern lifestyles by making new products, such as 'noren' curtains, tapestries, obi belts and interior accessories.
Mt. Senjozan with an altitude of 600 m is a part of Daisen-Oki National Park. It is a popular scenic spot, where people can easily enjoy hiking, viewing landscapes and questing for historic sites. The mountain was worshipped as the sacred place for Shugendo (mountain practice) in the Heian period (794-1192). It is also known as the place where Emperor Go-Daigo hid himself after he had escaped from Oki Island in the late Kamakura Period (1192-1336).
The 600 m wide rocky cliff called Byobu-Iwa (Folding Screen Rock) extends along the eastern side of the mountain, beside which a waterfall flows down. There are many temples and shrines of Shugendo and historic sites in the mountain, which create distinctive atmosphere. The mountain is crowded with viewers of autumn leaves in November. Double-flowered cherry trees are in full bloom in spring in Manbon-zakura (10,000 Cherry Tress) Park at the foot of the mountain.
Nawa Shrine in Daisen-cho, Saihaku-gun, Tottori Prefecture was built by Ikeda Mitsunaka, the lord of the Tottori domain, in the late 17th century to enshrine Nawa Nagatoshi and his 42 kin men. Nawa Nagatoshi fought for Emperor Go-Daigo, who had been exiled to Oki Island by the Hojo clan, Regent of the Kamakura Shogunate. After the emperor’s forces defeated the Kamakura forces, he was enfeoffed with Hoki province (present-day Tottori Prefecture). Later in the Northern and Southern Courts period (1336-1392), he again sided with Emperor Go-Daigo and fought with The Ashikaga forces. He was defeated and killed in the battle of Ichijo-Omiya in Kyoto in 1336.
The shrine was relocated to the present place in 1883. The southern side of the shrine is arranged into Nawa Park, where about 300 cherry trees bloom in spring. The cherry blossoms together with Mt. Daisen and Mt. Senjosan in the mist create fantastic landscape.