NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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花取り踊り(高知県斗賀野) Hanatori-odori (Kouchi-ken Tokano) Hanatori Odori in Tokano in Kochi Prefecture

Jp En

Hanatori Odori is a kind of sword dance handed down in Kochi Prefecture since the Middle Ages. It is a gallant dance performed to pray for good health. It is said that the dance originates in an episode in the Warring States period (1493-1573).

Once there was an impregnable castle at the top of a mountain. When a troop of warriors made an attack on the castle, the troop leader called villagers together and performed a dance with them by wielding his sword. To see their dancing, the soldiers in the castle relaxed their guard and allowed the enemy to invade into the castle.  

In Tokano in Sakawa Town in Kochi Prefecture, the Hanatori Odori dances are dedicated to Shirokura Shrine and Mitsugi Shrine in early November. When the real-size straw horse is set in the shrine precinct in the morning, two Tengu with long sticks in their hands appear. Then about twelve dancers wearing flower hats and blue costumes march into the precinct through the Torii gate, walking to the rhythm of Japanese drums, who are followed by the cheerful parade of the children’s Mikoshi and Ohayashi music band.

The dancers start dancing in a circle, dynamically wielding their swords, while two Tengu walk close to the spectators and play a joke on them. Dance is continued for about 1 hour and ended with the rice throwing ritual.
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桑折城址 Koori-joushi Koori Castle Ruins

Jp En

The Koori Castle ruins site is located in Hebinumayama, Sanbongi Koori, Osaki City, Miyagi Prefecture. The castle was resided by Shibuya Sagaminokami, a retainer of the Osaki clan, during the Warring States period (1493-1573). After the area was ruled by the Date clan, Shibata Muneyoshi, the father of Oyama-no-kata, one of Date Masamune’s concubines, temporarily resided in the castle.

Fortified with the Naruse River and the steep cliff facing deep mountains, it was presumably an impregnable castle. The ruins site is arranged into Tateyama Park, from which you can command a panoramic view of rice paddies in Osaki Plain. It is famous as a cherry blossom viewing spot. In spring, 900 old cherry trees beautifully come into bloom.
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岐阜城 Gifujo Gifu Castle

Jp En

Gifu Castle is located at the top of Mt. Kinkazan in Gigu City, Gifu Prefecture. It was built as a fort in 1201 by Yakima’s Mikado, the executive director of the Kamakura Shogunate. Later in the Warring States period (1493-1573), known as an impregnable castle, it was resided by Saito Doze, who is famous in a novel “Unitary Monogatari,” and Oda Nobunaga. The castle finally fell in an outpost battle of the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 and was dismantled in the next year. The donjon and the watch tower were removed to and reconstructed for Kano Castle.

The castle building was restored to the present form in 1956. It is a reinforced concrete building with 3 stories and 4 floors. As the symbol of the city, it is used for a history museum and the top floor is for the observation deck. From there, you can command a panoramic view of the Nagara River and Ibuki mountains. In summer, the deck is open even at night for the citizens who come to enjoy the panoramic night view.
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