NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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碓氷関所跡 Usui-sekisho-ato The Ruins of Usui Checkpoint

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Usui Checkpoint was built at Usui Pass in present-day Matsuida-cho, Annaka City, Gunma Prefecture as one of the checkpoints, which the second Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada ordered to build on the Nakasendo Road in 1623 to control “Irideppo ni Deonna” (guns coming into Edo and women leaving Edo). It was referred to as one of Three Great Checkpoints in the Edo period. It had functioned as the most important checkpoint on the Nakasendo Road until 1869, when the checkpoint system was abolished.

In 1959, the eastern gate of the checkpoint was restored to its original form after the design by Gaijiro Fujishima, a professor of Tokyo University and Doctor of Engineering. The posts and door boards of the original building were used for the new gate. It is made of zelkova wood, and metal fittings are used to reinforce the structure.

On the second Sunday in May every year, Usui Pass Checkpoint Festival is held, where people come to enjoy listening to Yagibushi song and Japanese drums as well as seeing the local children in the costumes of checkpoint officers.
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