NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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一関城 Ichinoseki-jyou Ichinoseki Castle Ruins

Jp En

After the Kasai clan, the ruler of the southern part of Tohoku region, was destroyed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s Oshu Shioki (punishment given to the powerful clans in Tohoku are to prevent their expansion) in 1590, Ichinoseki Castle was given to a Hideyoshi’s retainer, the Kimura clan, and then became a part of the Date domain. In 1604, Date Masamune transferred his uncle, Rusu Masakage, to this castle, but later in the Kanbun era (1661-1672) his 10th son, Munekatsu was feoffed to this castle. Munekatsu, however, was exiled to Tosa province (present-day Kochi Pref.), being accused of causing Date Disturbance in 1671. In 1682, Tamura Tatsuaki, Masamune’s grandson, was transferred from the Iwanuma domain to this castle, and his 10 successors had resided at this castle until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The ruin of Honmaru (the main castle) called “Senjojiki” is a rectangular land of 100 m by 50 m at the altitude of 90 m above sea level. A ruin of dry moat can be seen on the adjacent hill at the same level as Honmaru, and several other outer compounds were presumably arranged on the terraced land below Honmaru. Koguchi (the main gate) was located in the northeast to Senjojiki. A square land in the southwest is presumed to have been another outer compound such as a watch tower. Now at the side of a small hill in the west of the castle ruins stands Tamura Shrine built by the Tamura clan.
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北海道 羽衣の滝 Hokkaidou Hagoromo-no-taki Hagoromo Falls

Jp En

Hagoromo (Heavenly Robe) Falls in Tenninkyo Gorge in Taisetsu mountains is one of the representative waterfalls in Hokkaido. It is selected as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Waterfalls. With a height of 270 m, it is Japan’s 3rd highest waterfall.

The water trickles down the rock surface in seven stages. Its delicate and elegant flow indeed reminds us of a celestial maiden dancing with her heavenly robe streaming in the water. The waterfall was first named “Meoto-daki (Couple Falls)” when it was first discovered in 1901. However, in the Taisho period (1912-1926), a master poet Omachi Keigetsu visited this place and was deeply impressed by its graceful shape, from which he gave it the name “Hagoromo Falls.”

If you go up the steps beside the falls, you can take a close look at the upper stages of the waterfall.
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青木村 日吉神社 Aoki-mura Hiyoshi-jinja Hiyoshi Shrine in Aoki Village

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Hiyoshi Shrine in Aoki Village in Nagano Prefecture is considered to have been founded during the Nanbokucho period (1336-1392). Its very unique architectural style was highly evaluated and it was designated as a Prefectural Treasure in 1990.

Honden (the main hall) is built in the 5-bay wide flowing style without front entrance steps leading to the door of the sanctum. It has a copper gable roof, having a long extended front slope with a flowing curve covering the veranda. It is characterized by the long shape from side to side, and uniquely the building has only one door in the middle. It used to be painted in bright vermillion, but now all the paint has come off and the wood building material has revealed its natural color, which creates a sedate atmosphere.
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よしの滝 Yoshino-daki The Yoshinodaki Waterfall

Jp En

The Yoshinodaki Waterfall is located in Heda Shinden in Numazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, along the prefectural road connecting Heda and Shuzenji. It is a 6 meter tall and 2 meter wide waterfall. Not being visited by many tourists, this small waterfall is wrapped with a very quiet atmosphere.

As the walking trail is set out to the basin of the waterfall, you can get close to the waterfall. It gently flows down on the terraced rocky riverbed. Seen from the front, the view of the lower part of the waterfall is now blocked by a large fallen rock. However, its cold and clear water will relieve your fatigue of a long drive. The whole figure of the waterfall can be view from the hanging bridge on the way.

To the south of this waterfall is another waterfall, the Hakamadaki Waterfall, around which an auto camping site and the observatory deck are built. These clear streams flows into the clear flow of the Heda-Okawa River, where Amago and Japanese mitten crabs (Eriocheir japonicus) inhabit.
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岡崎市 六所神社 Okazaki-shi Rokusho-jinja Rokusho Shrine in Okazaki

Jp En

Rokusho Shrine in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, is a historic temple pertaining to the Tokugawa clan. The enshrined main deities are Sarutahiko no Mikoto, Shiotsuchi-no-oji no Mikoto, Kotokatsu-Kunikatsu-Nagisa no Mikoto. The shrine was founded by Tokugawa Ieyasu at the end of the 16th century by transferring the three deities from Rokusho Shrine in Matsudaira county (present-day Toyota City), in which the Matsudaira clan, the ancestry family of the Tokugawa clan, originated. Later, 12 other deities were also transferred to this shrine.

The main hall was constructed by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1602 and repaired and expanded by the 3rd Shogun Iemitsu and the 4th Shogun Ietsuna. The shrine was worshipped by a lot of people from far and wide during the Edo period (1603-1868) as Ubusunagami (birthplace deities) of the Matsudaira and Tokugawa families. It received a great degree of protection from the Shogunate and only daimyo enfeoffed with more than 50,000 koku of rice were allowed to use the stone steps leading to Romon Gate (the two-story gate).

The colorfully decorated Honden (the main hall), Haiden (oratory), Heiden (the votive offerings hall), Romon Gate and Shingusho (offering preparation hall) are all nationally designated as Important Cultural properties.
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氷室薬師堂 Himuro-yakushi-dou Himuro Yakushido

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Himuro Yakushi, or formally named Murakamiji Temple, is a historic temple founded by Sakanoue Tamuramaro in 807 to pray for safety of his soldiers. The temple has been worshipped by local people for its divine power to bring national safety and people’s happiness.

Yakushi Nyorai at this temple is especially famous for curing eye diseases. Votive tablets, on which faces with big black round eyes are drawn, are hung at the side of the Yakushi Hall. Also, many pieces of paper, on which pictures of eyes are drawn, are dedicated and hung inside the hall. You will feel strong religious faith dedicated to the temple from these votive articles.

There is an interesting legend about this temple. Once upon a time, there lived an extremely cowardly warrior in a nearby village. He wanted to cure his cowardice and visited the temple on 100 consecutive nights. On the 100th night, a specter appeared in front him. Then he gathered his courage and struck at it with his sword only to find that it was a pillar of the hall. Visitor can see the scar made by him even today. It’s a heart-easing story for a temple with such a solemn atmosphere, isn’t it?
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羽黒山参道 Haguro-yama-sandou Haguro Mountain Pathway

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This pathway is the approach to Dewasanzan Shrine, which is located in Haguro-cho, Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture.

Up to 500 old Japanese cedar trees line the pathway.

The pathway has three inclined sub-pathways. The 'Genganotaki (Waterfall of Genga)' is found prior to the 'ichinosaka (first slope)' and after climbing a short while, the Haguro Pagoda, a national treasure thought to be reconstructed in 1375, can be found along one of the sidepaths. Next to this is the giant 'okinasugi (grandfather cedar)', which is said to be more than 1,000 years old. At the top of 'ninosaka (second slope)' is a teahouse where one may rest.

Dewasanzan Shrine is at the top of the pathway. The 28-meter-high main building is of Gongen architecture, and its thatched roof with a width of 2.1 meters is said to be the best in the Tohoku area.

The shrine also features a bronze statue of Basho, commemorating the famous reference to the shrine in the 'Oku-no-hosomichi'.
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広島 西郷寺 Hiroshima Saigou-ji Saigoji Temple

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Saigoji Temple located in Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture is a historic temple of the Jishu sect, which was founded in 1353 by the priest Icchin, the sixth Traveling Saint (Yugyō Shōnin). The massive temple gate at the top of the stone steps is said to have been constructed by Ashikaga Takauji in the same year. The typical architectural style in the Muromachi period (1336-1573) can be seen in the designs using the frog-leg struts and the bargeboard.
The old and dignified main hall together with the main gate is designated as a National Important Cultural Property. The simple design in the Yosemune-zukuri style with the boat-shaped bracket arms is very beautiful. The main hall includes the 3-bay naijin (the inner sanctum) surrounded by the gaijin (worship hall) space, which is typical to the Jodo sect. This is the oldest temple structure of the Jishu sect.
The main hall is also known for the roaring dragon ceiling. When clapping hands in prayer in the hall, the sound of “BWANG BWANG” echoes off the ceiling. The main object of worship, the standing statue of Amida Nyorai, is very unique, for it can be decomposed into the five parts for portability. This is because Ashikaga Takauji carried it to the battle fields as his guardian deity.
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