NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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秋月城 Akizuki-jou Akizuki Castle

Jp En

Akizuki-jou, or Akizuki Castle, was once located in Akizuki-cho, Asakura, Fukuoka Prefecture.
The origin of the castle dates back to 1203 when Harada Tanekatsu built a mountain castle in Mt. Koshouzan (856m above sea level) and his residential castle at the foot of the mountain. He changed his name to Akizuki Tanezane and the residential castle was occupied by generations of the Akizuki family.
In 1587, faced by Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s massive army surrounding the mountain castle, Akizuki Tanezane surrendered to Hideyoshi and the mountain castle was abandoned.
In 1924, Kuroda Nagaoki, who was granted the land of Akizuki, transferred the residential castle to the old mountain castle and made extensive renovations. The ruins we see today are from this castle, in which successive lords of Akizuki family of Kuroda Clan resided until Meiji Period.
The castle’s main gate, Kuromon, is still remaining and the area is known for its fall foliage.
The ruins of Akizuki Castle is a historical site dating from Kamakura Period.
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道元 Dougen Dogen

Jp En

Dogen is the founder of the Soto sect of the Japanese Buddhism. Born in Kyoto in 1200, he entered a Buddhist monastery in Mt. Hiei at the age of 13. He became a priest in the next year and studied the Tendai Buddhism and Zen doctrines. Then he went to China to study “Shoho (true dharma)” and visited Zen monk Nyojo (Ju-Ching, 13th Patriarch of the Soto lineage of Zen Buddhism) in Mt. Tiantóng in 1225, when he became the Dharma successor. His way of Zen is “Shikan Taza,” which means “zazen alone.”

When Dogen returned to Japan, he stayed at Kenninji Temple in Kamakura, where he wrote down “the Fukan Zazengi (Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen),” a short text emphasizing the importance of and giving instructions for zazen, or sitting meditation. In 1233, he founded Koshoji Temple in Uji, south of Kyoto, where he stayed for 8 years and devoted himself to the propagation of Zen Buddhism.
In 1243, he was invited to Echizen province, where his followers founded Daibutsuji Temple (present-day Eiheiji Temple) as a comprehensive center of Zen practice. Dogen spent the remainder of his life at this temple teaching young priests.

Dogen’s masterpiece “the Shobogenzo,” collected together in ninety-five fascicles, has been studied even up to the present day as the book that lead us to enlightment.
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北山安夫 KitayamaYasuo Yasuo Kitayama

Jp En

President of Kitayama Zoen. Born in 1948 in Kyoto. A contemporary master gardener who has received international repute. After graduating from the university, he studied gardening under the late Hiroyasu Komiyama of Komiyama Teien Sosakusho in Kyoto. Thereafter he established his own practice at the age of 26. Since then he has taken charge of many garden projects and restorations including Kodaiji Temple and its Tacchu (sub-temple) of Entokuin, Japan’s oldest Zen-Buddhism temple of Kenninji Temple, Kubota Icchiku Art Museum (Yamanashi Pref.), Entsuji Temple (Saga Pref.), and the rock arrangement design of the Japanese Garden in Forest Experience Zone at the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan. He has also taken charge of many garden designs in foreign countries such as Italy and some African countries. His design of gardens and rock arrangements is characterized by simplicity that is only attained by trimming off superfluity. Based on his philosophy of “Killing oneself to make oneself alive”, he controls self-assertion and makes a garden that is receptive to every human feeling. This self-control seems to be an embodiment of aesthetics that has traditionally sustained Japanese beauty.
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岐阜城 Gifujo Gifu Castle

Jp En

Gifu Castle is located at the top of Mt. Kinkazan in Gigu City, Gifu Prefecture. It was built as a fort in 1201 by Yakima’s Mikado, the executive director of the Kamakura Shogunate. Later in the Warring States period (1493-1573), known as an impregnable castle, it was resided by Saito Doze, who is famous in a novel “Unitary Monogatari,” and Oda Nobunaga. The castle finally fell in an outpost battle of the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 and was dismantled in the next year. The donjon and the watch tower were removed to and reconstructed for Kano Castle.

The castle building was restored to the present form in 1956. It is a reinforced concrete building with 3 stories and 4 floors. As the symbol of the city, it is used for a history museum and the top floor is for the observation deck. From there, you can command a panoramic view of the Nagara River and Ibuki mountains. In summer, the deck is open even at night for the citizens who come to enjoy the panoramic night view.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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