Kaiko no Mori, located in Uzumasa, Kyoto, is officially called Konoshimanimasu-amateru-mitama Shrine. It is also affectionately known as Konoshima Shrine by the local people.
It is believed that this shrine was built in the year 604. Kaiko no Mori, which means “silkworm shrine”, was thought by Hatashi, an expatriate from the Korean Peninsula, to be the location of the deity of sericulture, or silkworm raising and also the deity of the textile industry. The shrine was burned in a number of wars and the current structure was most likely restored after the Meiji period.
In the west of the shrine is a spring-water pond called Mototadasu Pond. In the middle of this pond stands a torii called Mihashira Torii. Torii are large gates, erected at the entrance to Shinto Shrines or other sacred places. The Mihashira torii has an unusual design and it is considered one of the “Kyoto Three Torii”. It has three columns and it looks triangle-shaped from above. In the middle is a holly seat where the spirit of the deity sits. The origin of the torii is not known, but the current torii is thought to have been built in 1831.
Kaiko no Mori still has many followers especially from the silk-reeling industry. It is also worshiped as the location of the guardian deity of the town.
Yassa Festival is held on September 29 every year at Wakamiya Hachimangu Shrine in Minakami-machi, Gunma Pref. The young men in loincloth run about in the precinct with each of them grabbing another man’s waist belt of the cloth, calling “Yassa, Mossa, Shinjuro!” After hustling and jostling or lying on the ground, they climb up the pillars of the main hall one after another to snatch away the big bell. It is said that if someone can successfully snatch away the bell, good crops of the year is promised. The origin of the festival is unknown but there are several stories about it. One story goes that once upon a time, when the village was damaged by a flood, young villagers saved the lives of victims by roping themselves together. Another story goes that about 400 years ago during the battle of Nagurumi Castle, A warrior named Shinjuro Oki directed the villagers to a safe place by having them grasp his koshi-himo belt. Yassa Festival is a simple but gallant festival with a history of 400 years.
Kota Shrine is in Sadowara-cho, Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture. The shrine is said to have been founded in 831 and was called Kota Hachiman for a long time. The enshrined deities are Emperor Ojin and Sumiyoshi Yonsha no Kami (the four deities enshrined at Shumiyoshi Taisha Shrine in Osaka).
During the Edo period, it was respected by the domain lords, the Shimazu clan, as one of the seven major shrines in the domain. In the precinct erected a stone lantern dedicated by Shimazu Korehisa.
Honden (the main hall) is the prefecture’s only one existing building in Muromachi-period architectural style. This 3-bay building in Nagare-zukuri style (flowing style) with attractive vermillion pillars is a nationally designated Important Cultural Property.
The Kota kagura dance performed in November every year is a traditional theatrical art with a history of 400 years. 20 out of 33 plays in total are performed at this festival. Dancers with kagura mask on their faces, the sound of a large drum and tunes of Japanese flute all melt into the surrounding atmosphere and fascinate the spectators.
Even though a dining table is an item from a western interior, this table invokes nostalgia in people, the feeling you get when you experience something familiar. It is completely made of cedar(from 75mm thick planks), which comes from Miyazaki Prefecture. For the joint between the table surface board and leg, it uses the ‘Shikuchi’ method of joinery, which is commonly seen in Japanese architecture. ‘Shikuchi’ is a technique that links pillar and girder. The perfect interrelation of angle, surface and pillar makes the interior modern. The table reminds us of a pillar in a house that is present just beside us.
■ BEPPU Dining Table ・ Pure cedar (Oil Varnished) ・ W×D×H 1800mm×825mm×700mm ・ Designed by Makoto Koizumi
This farmhouse is presumed to have been built in the late 17th century or even earlier. Very old architectural style is used for this house. The three sides of the housed except the front are huge walls with a thickness of more than 20 cm. The lath used on top of rafters is made of round bamboo and other miscellaneous wood. The house has two main transverse beams, which are supported by pillars. Horizontal beams are used at two points to support the main transverse beams instead of the pillars when removed to and reconstructed at the present place. All the other pillars stand in the original forms. The pillars are made of square timbers of the same size, which were scarped with chona (a Japanese hand ax) and finished with a planer. The inner room called “dei” has an alcove, which was very rare in those days. As is seen in old-fashioned houses, the heavy lintels are used instead of tie beams to fit around pillars. To get less air circulation for the sake of warmth, doma (the earth floor space) and the adjacent room are partitioned with a wood door with a lattice window and the store room has a single sliding door.
Mt. Senganzan with an altitude of 572 m is one of the Satoyama (woodlands) in the northern part of Oita Pref. Towering rocky cliffs and stone pillars stand from the mountainside to the summit, forming as many as 72 peaks. Different from the surrounding mountains, which are afforested in an orderly manner, this Yabakei-typed mountain consisted of tuff breccia attracts attention of visitors. It is said that a place consisted of strange rocks and bizarre stones was considered as a holy place in the ancient times, and so was Mt. Senganzan, where mountain practitioners trained themselves. At the foot of a towering rock cliff stands Okunoin (back temple) of Hoda Temple, which is 15 minutes’ walk down the hill. The Kannon statue is placed inside this small hall. There is a cave in the rocky cliff adjacent to Okunoin, where Gorin-to (five-ringed stupa) and Hoto (jeweled stupa) are placed. Along the approach to Okunoin stand a stone shrine gate (torii) and the statue of Nio (guardian deity) made in the time of Shinto/Buddhist syncretism.
Tsugaru Tamenobu used Horikoshi Castle for integrating the Tsuruga domain and as a base for the Hirosaki clan. It became the main clan castle when Tsugaru Tamenobu moved there from Ora Castle in the third year of the Bunroku period (1594), until the 16th year of the Keicho period (1611), when the 2nd clan head, Tsugaru Nobuhira, moved to Hirosaki Castle.
In November 1985, the castle was designated as a national historical site. Since 1998, in order to develop it as an historical park, excavation was carried out that revealed pillars, celadon and white porcelain as well as lacquerware.
Today, Horikoshi Castle is part of the grounds of the Kumano Shrine. National Highway 7 runs through part of the area. In the shrine, the mounds and dry moats recall the atmosphere of the old castle.
Harajiri Taki waterfall, also dubbed the 'Niagara of the Orient', is 120m wide and 20m high. The waterfall is part of the Ogata River, which drops suddenly to produce a spectacular view. Moreover, Harajiri Taki is one of Japan's top 100 waterfalls.
Water shoots down between the U-shaped rocks creating a booming roar. It is most spectacular in the rainy season when the volume of water increases. The scenery of the river and the waterfall are fantastic, ensuring that Harajiri Taki certainly lives up to the name 'Niagara of the Orient'.
The fall was formed about 90,000 years ago. It is thoguht that the fall's oddly shaped rockface was formed during the eruption of Mt Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture. Water gushes through these troughs as part of the fall. The illumination of the scene at night, imparts a fantasy ambience.