NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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中将実方朝臣の墓 Chuujou-sanekata-ason-no-haka The Grave of Fujiwara no Sanekata Ason

Jp En

The grave of Fujiwara no Sanekata Ason is in Medeshima-Shiote, Natori, Miyagi Prefecture. Fujiwara no Sanekata is known as a young Heian period nobleman who was good-looking and gracious. Also, he is known as the model of the character Hikari Genji in the classic 'The Tale of Genji'. Moreover, he is counted among the Thirty-six Poet Immortals.

In 955, he was banished for striking a rival poet, Fujiwara no Yukinari, on the head in front of the emperor. He received a royal command to travel to see the old ruins in several areas. In 998, he is said to have fallen from his horse and died.

Later, the poet Matsuo Basho visited this site and sang a song here. Nearby is a monument commemorating Basho's visit. The small grave of Fujiwara no Sanekata stands alone within the tranquil forest.
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仏隆寺 Buturyuu-ji Butsuryuji Temple

Jp En

Butsuryuji Temple is a Shingon Buddhist temple located in Uda, Nara. It is a branch temple as well as the south gate of Muroji Temple.

The temple was founded in the third year of the Kasho period (850) by the priest Kenne and is said to have been originally a house belonging to Shuen, an officer of Kofukuji Temple.

There is an 11-faced Kannon bosatsu statue in the center of the temple, which is reputed to have been made by Shotoku Taishi. The temple also holds the remains of a rare pyramidal-roofed stone hut: the grave of Kenne.

This temple is famous for being the place where Japanese tea was first made. Kenne planted tea leaves that Kukai, his master, had brought from China. Here are the remains, too, of a millstone that Kukai brought back from China.

The flight of stone stairs leading up from the gate is one of the most famous in Japan: in spring, 900-year-old cherry trees welcome you, while in autumn, red clusters of amaryllis add color along the way to the temple. The views are beyond words.
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華蔵寺 Kezou-ji Kezo Temple

Jp En

Kezo Temple is located in Kira-cho, Hazu-gun, Aichi Prefecture.

Kezo Temple belongs to the Shingon Buddhist sect. The temple has a history of 1600 years and it is believed that Kira Yoshisada established it for the Kira family. There is a magnificent garden behind the main building. In addition, the temple is the site of the grave of Kira Kozunosuke Yoshihisa, who appears in the 'Chuingura'.

Also in the main building are 44 pictures of 'The Beauty of Nature' drawn by Ikeno Taiga. Usually the pictures may not be viewed, except in the New Year, when they are displayed.

A wooden statue created by Kira Kozunosuke Yoshihisa, is designated as cultural asset of the prefecture. Kira Yoshihara is commemorated every year on the 4th December.
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吉田寺 Kichiden-ji Kichidenji Temple

Jp En

Kichidenji Temple is located in the north of the village of Koyoshida near Ikaruga Town in Nara Prefecture. The temple is commonly referred to as Pokkuri Temple.

The Tenji Emperor ordered a grave to be built at this site for his sister, Hashihito-no-himemiko, and in the first year of the Eien period (987), Genshin built a temple here.

The name 'Pokkuri' ('drop dead') derives from the story that Genshin prayed to keep off evil spirits as his mother lay dying, so she could die without pain.

You should not miss the statue of seated Amida in one of the main buildings. It is about 4.85m tall and is the biggest wooden statue in Nara as well as a National Important Cultural Asset. It is said that if you pray in front of this statue, you will live longer.

The rare Taho pagoda, also in Nara, was built in the fourth year of the Kansei period (1463), and has been designated as an Important Cultural Asset.
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太宰府天満宮 Dazaifu-tenmanguu Daizaifu Tenmangu Shrine

Jp En

The renowned Daizaifu Tenmangu Shrine is located in Saifu, Daizaifu-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture, and is famous for enshrining the deity of Sugawara no Michizane (a scholar, poet and politician of the Heian period). The shrine is also known for possessing the national treasure, 'Kanen Kandai Sanju-ichi' ('The Thirty-first Writing of the Kanen').

Michizane was exiled to this land following false accusations by the Fujiwara family and died here in 903. However, the ox-cart carrying Michizane's body back to the city for a formal burial, for some unknown reason broke down on the way and couldn't be moved. Considering this bizarre happening as Michizane's last wish, his body was not sent to the city, and instead buried in a grave on this land.

After Michizane's death, Kyoto experienced many disastrous plagues and abnormal weather; people feared this was Michizane's curse. Daizaifu Tenmangu Shrine was built on Michizane's grave to alleviate and break the curse. Since then, Michizane has been recognized as an excellent and brilliant scholar in life, and then posthumously enshrined as the God of Scholarship and Knowledge.

Many people visit the shrine today, and still venerate Michizane as a god. Daizaifu Tenmangu Shrine, along with Kitano Tenmangu Shrine and the Hofu Tenmangu Shrine in Hofu, are considered the San-Tenjin (The Three Great Gods of the Heavens).
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造山古墳 Tsukuriyama-kofun Tsukuriyama Burial Mound

Jp En

The burial complex at Tsukuriyama Kofun consists of an enormous key-hole shaped tomb mound, the Tsukuriyama burial mound and six small to medium sized burial mounds to the west. It is the largest burial complex in Okayama Prefecture, and the 4th largest in the country with a total length of 350m, a key-hole diameter of 200m, height of 24m, and frontal length of 215m. It is designated as a National Historic Site.

The mound is estimated to have been completed toward the end of the 5th century, and judging from the size and formation of the site, it is probably the royal burial mound of a king who ruled the Kibi region during the first half of the 5th century.

The six small to medium sized mounds next to the main mound are said to be the tombs of the king's trusted vassals. Bearing in mind other enormous burial mounds nearby, such as Sakuyama Kofun (located in Soja City), Ryounomiya Kofun (located in Sanyo City), it can be well said that ancient Kibi was an enormous and powerful kingdom capable of opposing the Yamato Kingdom.
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