NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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いろは島 Irohajima Iroha Island

Jp En

Iroha Island is a general term for the island chain consists of 48 large and small islands located in Imari Bay, a part of Genkai Quasi National Park in Saga Pref. It is said that the Buddhist great priest, Kukai (Kobo-Daishi) named them after 48 letters in the ancient Japanese alphabet. The green islands including Bentenjima or Hotatejima in the blue ocean are so beautiful that even Kukai, who was a master of calligraphy, is said to have stopped writing for a moment. The landscape of Iroha Island changes according to the ebb and flood. When the tide ebbs, mud flat appears and the islands are connected together to create scenic beauty, which reminds you of a stone garden in Kyoto. The ocean is not only beautiful but also bounteous. This calm bay is known for cultivation of quality pearls. Oysters in this bay are also famous. In winter you can taste really fresh natural oysters.
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かるた遊び Karuta-asobi Karuta Game

Jp En

Karuta games (card game) of Japan originated in the Kaiawase game (shell game) played among the women of the noble families in the Heian period (794−1192). Later in the Edo period (1603−1867), the rectangular cards of Uta-garuta with tanka poems written on them began to be played, which developed into the present Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (poems of one hundred poets). In this game, the Yomite (reader) reads kaminoku (the first 17 syllables of a poem) in the yomifuda (reading cards) and the players have to find its torifuda (grabbing cards) in which the associated shimonoku (the rest 14 syllables) are written. Kyogi-Karuta (competition karuta) is usually played between the two players but three players take part in the game in some cases. Other kinds of karuta are Iroha-Karuta with a kana letter of 48 Japanese alphabets and a picture are written in torifuda while a proverb connected to the picture is written in yomifuda and Eawase-Karuta for infants to learn the language.
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いろは坂 Iroha-zaka Irohazaka Winding Road

Jp En

Iroha-zaka winding road is a slope with 48 hairpin curves connecting Umagaeshi, Nikko City and Lake Chuzenji. It was nominated as one of “the 100 Best Roads of Japan”. This road is the main access to Oku-Nikko, where Lake Chuzenji and Nikko Yumoto Hotspring are located. It takes the one-way traffic system that the Second Iroha-zaka is used to go up and the First to come down. Each corner has a signboard with a letter of old Japanese alphabet in alphabetical order that stars from i-ro-ha. This road used to be for worshippers of Mt. Nantai and Lake Chuzenji in the past days. Women and horses had not been allowed to go up the slope until the early Meiji period, so the entrance of the slope was called Umagaeshi, which meant returning horse, and Nyonin-do (women’s hall) is located on the place where women returned after they worshipped Mt. Nantai. You can enjoy continuous exquisite views along Iroha-zaka, yashiotsutsuji (mountain azalea) in spring and autumnal leaves in fall. You can also command a panoramic view of Mt. Nantai, the Kegon Fall, and Lake Chuzenji from Akechi-daira on the second Iroha-zaka.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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