NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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楢本磨崖仏 Naramoto-magaibutsu Naramoto Granite Carving

Jp En

In Naramoto, Oita Prefecture, there is a granite rockface with carvings representative of the Muromachi period.

There are 45 Buddhist figures in all, including Fudo, carved on a rockface measuring 4.5m (L) × 40m (W) wall. Other than Fudo (Fudō-Myōō, Kongaradoji and Seitakadoji) and Yakushisanzon (Bhaisajyaguru, Nikko Bodhisattva, Gekko Bodhisattva), there are sculptures of the Twelve Heavenly Generals, Nio, Jizo Bodhisattva and a mandala that represents the world of Buddhism.

On the upper right hand side of the Fudō-Myōō, it is signed that the rock carvings were made in 1428. However it is hard to believe that all the carvings were made simultaneously, because the lower part seems to be older than the upper ones. In 1957, these granite carvings were designated as an important cultural asset of the prefecture.
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樫原湿原 Kashibaru-Shitsugen Kashibaru Marsh

Jp En

All around is a sea of green, with a path crossing through the middle. This is Kashibaru Marsh, located among  the Sefuri Mountains in Saga Prefecture, and famous for its grand view known as 'Oze in Kyushu' (Oze is a famous beauty spot).
   The total area of this marsh is as much as 8 hectares, making it the biggest marsh in Kyushu. The marsh is formed in a basin among mainly granite hills, and its soil is a layer of clay.
   About 60 kinds of rare marsh plants are native to this marsh, including bogbean, pogonia and fringed orchid. They come out in all seasons so whenever you visit, you can enjoy beautiful flowers. You can also see the Haccho-dragonfly, the smallest dragonfly in Japan.
   In 1976, the marsh was designated as Saga Natural Environment Protected Area and has been carefully protected as Kyushu's main reserve for marsh plants and insects.
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京石工芸品 Kyoishi-kougeihin Kyoto Stone Carving

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Kyoto stone carving is another example of a refined Kyoto handicraft. Stone lanterns, the main elements in a Japanese garden, and other forms of Kyoto stone carving have been designated as an important traditional Japanese handicraft by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Kyoto stone carving has been deeply influenced by Buddhism and the Japanese tea ceremony. After Buddhism was introduced to Japan, the craft of stone carving broadened. Granite was available near Kyoto at Mt Hieizan and the village of Shirakawa. Blessed with excellent resources, exquisite masonry was produced, such as Buddhist statuary, towers and lanterns.

After the Momoyama period, the tea ceremony influenced stone carving, integrating tranquility, quietness and peace to the art of masonry. If the stonework was beautiful, it was cherished, and replicas would be created to be placed in gardens.

For more than 1000 years, Kyoto stone carving has provided important elements to Kyoto landscapes, as well as to the culture of Kyoto itself. With its aesthetic sense and its exceptional craftsmanship, Kyoto stone carving is still appreciated today.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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