NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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とやま土人形 Toyama-tuchiningyo Toyama Clay Dolls

Jp En

The craft of clay doll-making (tsuchi ningyo) in Toyama is a traditional handicraft from the Edo period. The round shape and lovable, naïve expressions on the doll faces are simply adorable.

The history of the Toyama clay dolls dates back some 150 years to the period 1848-54. It is believed that the clay dolls originated when Maeda Toshiyasu, the 10th Han (feudal lord) of Toyama invited Hirose Hidenobu, a potter from Nagoya prefecture, to work for him. Using a kiln he had made for the Chitose Palace, Hidenobu created a kind of pottery--the forerunner of Chitose-yaki (Chitose ware), and the Tenhin Gagyuu as presents for the Maeda clan.

By the end of the Edo Period, the style and shape of the dolls had developed and became more elaborate. This form later became a lucky charm and a children's toy that would be cherished by the public.

At that time, there were many stores at the foot of the castle that were making clay dolls. Only one of them is still in business today: Nobuhide San of the house of Watanabe, who inherited the techniques of clay doll-making from the house of Hirose.

In order to keep the doll-making tradition alive and vibrant, Toyama city itself is making efforts to train people to learn the craft at special associations.
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金沢神社 Kanazawa-jinjya Kanazawa Shrine

Jp En

In 1794, Maeda Harunaga, the 11th Kaga domain head, built Kanazawa Shrine to commemorate his ancestor Sugawara Michizane, Kaga domain head and member of the Maeda clan.

Harunaga also established a clan school, Meirin-dou, and dedicated Michizane as the protector deity over the school. Even though Meirin-dou eventually was moved to another place for the construction of Kenroku-en, the shrine remained.

Maeda Narinaga, the 12th domain head, built Takezawa House and invoked the same deity to protect the house, renaming it Tenman-gu. In 1876, it was renamed Kanazawa Shrine.

Kanazawa Shrine is famous as the best place in Ishikawa prefecture to pray for academic success. Many entrance examinees come to the shrine and fervently pray.

In the precincts of the shrine is Kinjo Spiritual Stream, along which Kanazawa was built. It is said that if you walk around the pond three times and pray, your wish will come true.
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瑞龍寺 Zuiryuji Zuiryu-ji Temple

Jp En

Zuiryu-ji Temple is located in Takaoka district, Toyama prefecture. The highly-appraised zenshuyou architecture of this temple dates back to the early Edo period. The temple is famous as having the longest cloister in Japan.

The 3rd Lord of Kaga, Maeda Toshitsune, founded the temple in memory of his ancestor, Maeda Toshinaga. In the 17th century, Toshinaga was known as Akeno. He established a castle in the uninhabited area, and brought merchants and people to help establish the town and work the land. Consequently, he acquired an enormous posession.

Toshitsune, who inherited all this, felt it his duty to establish a temple, and built it with the support of Yamashita-Zenemon-Yoshihiro. It took about 20 years to build, and today has a magnificent appearance that astonishes visitors.

Today, the Buddhist sanctuary, lecture hall and gate have been designated as national treasures. In addition, the main entrance gate, meditation hall, hallway, the semi-enclosed corridor and the tea room have been designated as important cultural properties.
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善徳寺 Zentokuji Zentokuji Temple

Jp En

Zentokuji temple, also called Johana's Branch of Honganji, is situated in Nishigami district, Toyama prefecture. It is also a branch temple of Shinshû Ôtaniha.

Since its foundation, Zentokuji temple has prospered alongside the town. It has also become the heart of the town. The area is deeply related to the Shinshû and is known as the representative state of the Kaga Ikkō-ikki.

The temple was established in 1471. Rennyo, the 8th priest of Honganji, founded it, and it was transferred to Johana in 1559. It is believed that Gyōki created the statue of Amitabha in the main hall.

In the Edo period, it was put under the control of the Kaga Maeda Clan and later flourished. Within the precinct, there are rows of dragon-sculpted gates and a bell tower, which exude a deep sense of history.

In the annual Airing of Temple Treasures (July 22-28), treasures associated with the Rennyo and the Maeda clan are exhibited.
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