NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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喜多方 蔵のまち Kitakata kura-no-machi Kitakata Warehouse Town

Jp En

Kitakata is a simple town that evokes a certain nostalgia among its visitors, even when they are visiting for the first time. This is because Kitakata Kura no Machi, or Kitakata Warehouse Town, is not an artificially created sightseeing venue, but rather, a living town with its own residents who actively use the warehouses to this day. There are over 2,600 warehouses which are scattered all around the town from the main streets to the back streets and even in small villages outside the town. One of the reasons why so many warehouses were built here is that the area is blessed with high quality water and rice and is thus famous for sake and miso production. The warehouses provide the most suitable environment for both production and storage. Another reason for the abundance of warehouses is the passion of the local residents and their desire to own their own warehouses.  A particular incident during the Meiji Period also helped to solidify the town’s identity. In Meiji 13, the town succumbed to a large fire which destroyed all buildings save the warehouses, which remained standing. The image of those warehouses standing solemnly in the smoldering, burnt-out town still remains in the minds of the people today and enhances their feeling of pride in the town.
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蔵 土蔵 Kura Dozou Kura and Dozo Storehouses

Jp En

Kura and dozo are storehouses that are built according to traditional Japanese architectural styles, with outer walls hardened by mud and plaster.

Buildings such as kura and dozo were predominantly built for fire and theft prevention, but later on began to be built as a sign of wealth. Formerly used to resist fires during the Edo period, the kura or dozo are known to be strong enough to withstand and retard any fire, as already proved during the American carpet-bombings of World War II.

The walls of kura and dozo have characteristic bumps that have led to them being dubbed 'sea-cucumber walls'. Currently, these kinds of buildings take advantage of their distinct look and are used as restaurants or shops.

Plasterers who complete the walls with mud and plaster work hand-in-hand on traditional architecture projects. Plasterers have always been unbelievably skilled workers who took wall-making to artistic levels.
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庄内平野 Shounai-heiya Shonai Plain

Jp En

Shonai Plain is located near the Japan Sea, in the northwest of Yamagata prefecture. It is a very large plain: 100km in the southeast and 40km in the northwest. It is one of Japan's major grain-producing areas and in the Edo period rice for the government came from here.

The reason grain grows so well here is that the big and small rivers that feed into the plain bring pure water. Rivers include the Mogami River, one of the three major rapid rivers of Japan.

Moreover, the the soil of the plain is fertile and suitable for rice production because the temperature difference between summer and winter is larger and the cold winds blow from surrounding mountains.

In autumn, the ripe ears of rice droop and you can see golden ricefields in every direction. There are gracefully flying red dragonflies and golden-ringed dragonflies that are rare in the city.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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