NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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月山 Gassan Mt Gessan

Jp En

Mt Gessan is one of the three mountains in the Dewa Sanzan group, and is located in Tagawa, Yamagata prefecture.

Mt Gessan is 1984m high and stands almost in the middle of Yamagata prefecture. It lies in the northern part of Bandai Asahi National Park and is a treasure house of nature that includes animals, plants and primary forest like beech.

The name of Gessan ('moon mountain') derives from the fact that it appears to be as enormous as a half-moon. The mountain has always been linked to religion and there is a shrine at the top dedicated to Tsukuyomi-no-mikoto, a brother of the goddess Amaterasu-omikami.

The mountain has also been a place for ascetic training. Many practitioners have visited here to worship Gessan-okami, but most of them have not felt ready enough and have gone back. Their route back is still known as the 'Return of Practitioners' although hikers take this road today. Mt. Gessan is a spiritual mountain with great views and alpine plants.
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十二滝 Jyuunitaki Junitaki Waterfall

Jp En

Junitaki Waterfall consists of 12 (juni) stages, and is fed by the waters of the headstream of the Aizawa River. It is near the town of Hirata, in Higashida-gun, Yamagata prefecture. It is known as one of the three major waterfalls of Akumi.

The waterfall is situated at the western foot of Mt. Kyogakura and is about 30m high. Each of the 12 stages has a name, such as 'Long-Nosed Goblin (Tengu) Waterfall', 'Snake Waterfall' and 'Riverbank Waterfall'.

Since ancient times, waterfalls have been used as ascetic training places for esoteric Buddhists, who believe that exposure to the water helps to purify the mind and body and enable them to gain spiritual power. Deities like Fudo or Benten are often found enshrined near waterfalls.

In autumn, the leaves around Junitaki turn red, and the combination of their varying colors is very beautiful. In winter, there is a feeling of austerity as the water flows continuously surrounded by white snow.

Yamagata prefecture has about 230 or 10% of all the waterfalls in Japan, making it the prefecture with the highest number of waterfalls in the country.
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太龍寺 Tairyuuji Tairyuji Temple

Jp En

Tairyuji temple is located near the summit of Mt Tairyuji in Wajiki, Tokushima Prefecture. It belongs to the Koyasan Shingon sect. The temple is devoted to the bodhisattva Kokuzo Bosattsu (Akasagarbha) and is the 21st temple on the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

From ancient times, the temple was known as West Kouno. It is written in the 'Sangoushiiki' that in 793, the 19-year-old monk Kukai (Kobo Daishi) mastered the mantra of the Akasagarbha bodhisattva after 100 days of ascetic training at Tairyugatake.

It is believed that Tairyuji and Muroto played an important role in forming the beliefs of young Daishi.

The mountain may be called a spiritual place due to the density of the ancient Japanese cedar and cypress. The presence of buildings like the main temple, Daishido, Tahoto, Gumonido, Roumon, Gomado and Rokkaku-kyouzo also help create a magnificent ambience.

Growing around the temple throughout the four seasons are mountain flora such as rhododendron, hydrangea, maple and camellia, which provide a beautiful sight for travelers.
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