NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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上ノ国の中世の館 Kaminokunino-chuseino-tate Kaminokuni Fort-Mansion

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Facing the Sea of Japan in Kaminokuni, Hokkaido, are the remains of a medieval fort-mansion ('tate'). The fort comprised three halls: Hanazawa, Suzaki and Katsuyama halls, all of which are located in Kamino and which have been designated as an important asset of Hokkaido. The remains of Katsuyama hall, the largest of the halls, have helped solve several mysteries about Hokkaido in the middle ages, following excavations and studies of important artifacts since 1979.

Katsuyama hall was built by the father of the Matsuyama clan, Takeda Nobuhiro. In 1457, he overpowered the local Ainu people, and built this fort-mansion as a feudal residence. Excavation of the hall ruins revealed a trench, the remains of a dwelling and some crockery, as well as records showing that more than 200 people of both Japanese and Ainu race lived together here. Such evidence of racial harmony has drawn a lot of attention.

Some 45% of the ceramics and pottery unearthed here was made in China, which shows that there was active trading and exchange with China.

The Kaminokuni fort-mansion is a very important ruin, which not only has an aura of romance, but has helped historians fill in missing links in Hokkaido's past.
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都久夫須麻神社 Tukuhushima-jinjya Tsukubusuma Shrine

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Tsukubusuma Shrine is located on Tsukubujima (or Chikubujima), a small 2km-round island in Lake Biwa, Nagahama District, in Shiga prefecture.

This small shrine was originally established in 420 for the deity Asaihime-no-mikoto. In 'Ōmi Fudoki' it is recorded that Tatamihiko-no-Makoto of Mt Ibuki, together with Asaihime-no-mikoto of Mt Asai, had a climbing competition. The outraged loser, Tatamihiko-no-mikoto, chopped off Asai-no-mikoto's head, which became Tsukubu Island. It is believed that as the island head was sinking, it made the sound 'tsuku tsuku', hence the island's name Tsukubujima. Another story relates that the island was named after a bamboo (chiku), which was the first plant that grew there.

The shrine is counted as one of the 'three-major Benzaiten' in Japan, and is also believed to be the oldest in Japan. The main building is beautifully sited in front of Lake Biwa. Ryushinjin Haisho, or the main shrine is located on the cliff. There is a custom that by throwing crockery from this place, the Ryushin (dragon god) will grant your wish. The main shrine is designated as an important cultural asset.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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