NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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橿原神宮 Kashihara-jinguu Kashihara Jingu Shrine

Jp En

Kashihara Jingu Shrine is located at the southeastern foot of Mt. Unebiyama in Kashihara City, Nara Pref. It was constructed in 1890 at the site of Unebi Kashihara-gu, where, according to Nihon Shoki (the Chronicles of Japan), Japan’s first emperor, Jinmu, is said to have acceded to the throne. The deities enshrined are Emperor and Empress Jinmu and his consort, Hime-Tatara-Isuzu-Hime no Mikoto. The precinct has an area of as much as 500,000 square meters. Emperor Jinmu’s Tomb and many other imperial tombs are located in the surrounding area. Shinka-den Hall, the Kashikodokoro (imperial sanctuary) of Kyoto Palace was relocated to this place and used as the Main Hall. The Inner Haiden Hall (a hall of oratory) is used for New Year’s visit and Kigen-sai Festival (the regnal day of Emperor Jinmu and the National Foundation Day set up by the Meiji government). On the day of Jinmu-sai Festival, which is held on April 4 every year, a lot of people come to see a large-scale parade of people including several groups in ancient costume going through the town and appreciate Noh, Kyogen, and Kuzuso (an ancient dance performed at Imperial court).
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近水園 Omizuen Omizuen

Jp En

Omizuen was the garden of the Kinoshita clan and the Ashimori domain head. It is located at the foot of Mt Miyaji, and is constructed around a pond at its center. It is unclear when the garden was built, but the 6th head, Kinoshita Kinsada is reckoned to have built it in the early 18th century. It is a Zen garden designed by Enshu.

Omizuen is one of the biggest gardens in Okayama prefecture, like Korakuen in Okayama City and Shurakuen in Tsuyama City.

There is a teahouse called Ginpukaku just near the pond. The view from the house is especially beautiful because the garden harmonizes with the backdrop of Mt. Uno behind it. Ginpukaku is made from wood that was left over from the construction of Kyoto Imperial Palace. The roof used to be thatched but is now covered with copper sheeting.

Within the garden you can see a monument inscribed with a poem by Kinoshita Rigen, a local poet of the Shirakaba School, and there are also Maria Lanterns for clandestine Christians.
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松江筆 Matsue-fude Matsue Brushes

Jp En

Matsue brushes are a speciality of Matsue in Shimane Prefecture, and are also designated as a Traditional Hometown Handicraft. The history of these brushes goes back 400 years, when the brush-making skills of the Old Imperial Palace of Kyoto were adopted in the Edo period (1686). Matsue brushes use various hairs depending on what kind of brush is being made, of which there are over 56 . Sheep, raccoon, or mink hair may be used, and with each, the elasticity and adhesion changes accordingly. The brushes are completed in 10 steps. The botan (peony) style brush, with the tip dyed red and green, is one of the most popular. From normal to special, many brushes are made according to their use, ranging from painting, calligraphy to haiku poetry, or for the occasion, such as the celebration of the birth of a child, where the brush is made from the hair of the newborn baby. Orders can be taken starting from just one brush. Each Matsue brush is made delicately by hand and for ease of use. .
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水無瀬神宮 Minase-jinguu Minase Shrine

Jp En

Minase Shrine is an old historic shrine located in Osaka Pref. It enshrines the three emperors of Gotoba, Tsuchimikado, and Juntoku. The shrine originates in Mieido (an image hall) that was built by Nobunari Fujiwara and his son Chikanari at the vacant lot of the emperor Gotoba’s beloved palace of Minase in 1240. The present main hall was reconstructed during the Kanei era (1624−1643) with the timber that had been used for Naishidokoro of Kyoto Imperial Palace. Its Shin-mon (holy gate) is one of Osaka Prefecture’s Important Cultural Properties. Two of the shrine collection, the Statue of the Emperor Gotoba and his original handwriting of okibumi (the last testament), are designated as National treasures. The water springing out in the precinct is called “Rikyu-no-mizu (water of the imperial villa).” This is the only one spring water in Osaka that is selected as one of “Japan’s 100 Fine Water” by the Ministry of Environment. In the precinct of the shrine there is also a tea house in Shoin-zukuri style of the early Edo period.
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