NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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常忠寺 Jouchu-ji Jochu-ji Temple

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Jochu-ji Temple is the site of the tomb to the first Yoshinao of the Otomo clan, an ancestor of Sorin Otomo, a Christian feudal lord of the clan. Sorin Otomo conquered the six countries of Kyushu (Bungo, Bunzen, Chikugo, Chikuzen, Higo and Hizen) during the Warring States period.

Jochu-ji Temple is the family temple of Akitsura Betsuki, who was the leading general of the Sorin Family, as well as a lord of the Yoroidake. It is said that Akitsura was partially paralyzed after being struck by lightning. Despite this, he continued to command his army, but from a 'koshi' (a cart-like vehicle).

At one point, the temple was demolished but was later restored by Yoshiteru Honda between 1704 and 1710. A fire destroyed the temple once more, but it was again restored to its present state in 1806 by the great-grandchild of Yoshiteru.

Over 40 types of water iris have been planted at the temple and, every May, the Jochu-ji Temple iris festival takes place. People can also appreciate fireflies here on summer nights.
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九華公園 菖蒲 Kyuuka-kouen Ayame The Irises of Kyuuka-kouen Park

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Kyuuka-kouen Park is built on the ruins of Kuwana Castle in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture. The park is famous for cherry blossoms, as well as for its ayame irises in early summer.

Kyuuka-kouen is built on the main and secondary mark of Kuwana Castle and spreads out over approximately 7.2ha. The park has become a place of relaxation cherished by the citizens of Kuwana. Ruins of the acclaimed castle, known as Ougijo, can be found here, along with exuberant displays of cherry blossom, azaleas and irises in season.

In June, a festival called the Hana-ayame-matsuri (Iris Flower Festival) takes place. Contests and events are held during the weekends of the festival, and include a tea ceremony as well as an iris sketching contest. Myriads of sightseeing visitors come to Kyuuka-kouen to appreciate the white, pink, red-purple and blue-purple shades of the irises. The peaceful, harmonious scene created by these flowers give a sense of serenity and calm to visitors.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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