Inabasan-zan or Inaba Three Mountains is a general name for the three mountains; Koshiki-yama, Imaki-yama and Omokage-yama, located in Kokufu Toun, Tottori Prefecture. This area contained the Inaba provincial headquarters of the state government and became prosperous as a regional center of politics and culture from Nara Period to Kamakura period. The area is also well known as a place where Ootomono Yakamochi, a famous figure as the compiler for the Manyoushu Anthology, came to live after being appointed as the head of the provincial government in 758.
The famous poem at the end of the book: Like the snow that falls on this first day of the new year in early spring, may there be ever more good things to come, was composed in Inaba, which led scholars to believe the Manyoushu Anthology was compiled in this region.
From Kokufu Town in the center, Koshiki-yama lies to the east, Omokage-yama to the west and Imaki-yama to the south. It is said that a spectacular view of all the three Inaba Mountains could be seen from the provincial office. Omokage-yama has a more feminine look while Koshiki-yama and Imaki-yama have a more masculine look.
Nishimura Kagura, or also called Mugi (Wheat) Kagura, has been passed down in the Nishimura area on Oki-Dogo Island, Shimane Prefecture. It is designated as an intangible folk cultural property by the town of Okinoshima.
Nishimura Kagura used to be performed on June 4 on the old calendar, when each family of the village brought 1 go (about 150g) of wheat to the shrine and invited 3 Shake families (hereditary kagura dance performing families) from 3 areas on the island and asked them to dedicate the kagura dances.
However, Nishimura Kagura was handed down to the people in the Nishimura area from the Murakami Shake family, the successor of this kagura in the Togo area, in 1950. Since then it has been performed by the people in Nishimura in August, when many family members return home for the bon rituals.
Today, the Nishimura Kagura Preservation Society has been organized by volunteers and shrine priests to pass down a variety of distinctive plays to the future generations.
Daisenji Momiji Matsuri (Colored Maple Leaves Festival) is held at Daisenji Temple at the foot of Mt. Daisen from the end of October through the early November, when the mountain is covered with red and yellow autumn leaves. The festival features various events such as the parade of Sohei (warrior monks) and the Goma fire ritual on October 29 and the Sohei-daiko (warrior monks’ drum) performance on November 3.
The most attractive event is Chigo-Gyoretsu (the procession of children in fancy attire) held on October 29. The children aged from 3 to 5 wearing the matching Heian costumes and putting on the Heian-style cosmetics walk through the precinct. The boys wear a stiff hat of lacquered gauze called the Eboshi, while the girls wear a crown with a phoenix bird and bright metal pendants called Tenkan. Their cute procession is a photogenic subject of the photo contest, which is held during the festival.
The old house of the Sanbyakuda family in Wakasa Kyodo-Bunka-no-Sato Park in Tottori Prefecture was a house of a village head, the Sanbyakuda family. It was originally located in the village of Yoshikawa in Wakasa Town but was relocated to and reproduced in this park. The old record shows that the house was constructed in 1694 and it took 819 workers more than one year to complete the construction.
The house is built in the Irimoya-zukuri style with a thatched roof with 7.5 bays wide and 4 bays deep, which was typical to the Inaba area (present-day the eastern part of Tottori Prefecture). It has three rooms, each of which faces the doma (earth floor) space.
Highly elaborate techniques such as the planer finish on the surface of the pillars indicate that the house was built by the carpenter specialized in building temples and shrines in Banshu area (present-day the southern part of Hyogo Prefecture).
Local lumbers were processed to be used for the main beams and sleepers under the floor. The wooden ornament added to the ridge of the thatched roof, which is typical to the old houses in the Chugoku region, gives a stately impression, which is befitting to the village head.
The Amedaki Waterfall in Kokufu-cho, Tottori Prefecture is in the upstream of the Fukuro River, which runs out of Mt. Oginosen. The waterfall is 40 m high and 4 m wide and is the biggest waterfall in the prefecture. It is also selected as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Waterfalls. The rushing flow of water on the surface of the whinstone cliff has a tremendous impact.
The waterfall is surrounded by the virgin forest of chestnut, zelkova, and beech, which entertains the visitors with different landscapes from season to season; the brightness of fresh green leaves in spring, the mysterious harmony between the whinstone rocks and crimson foliage in fall and the solemn atmosphere of the waterfall in the snow in winter.
The waterfall has been regarded as the holy place for the ascetic training since the ancient times. In the old days, the waterfall was visited by a lot of worshippers on August 1st on the old calendar, when “Otaki Mairi Festival” was held. At the present, the waterfall opening ceremony is held on the first Saturday through Sunday in June every year, where the Shinto rituals and Kasa-odori (umbrella dance) are performed.
Hakuto (White Rabbit) Shrine in Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture is a small shrine pertaining to the legend of the White Rabbit in Inaba. The legend has it that once upon a time, a rabbit, who was washed away to the sea by a flood, wished to go back to his hometown, Inaba. He deceived the sharks playing in the sea and almost succeeded in going back home, when he made a slip of the tongue and got all of his fur plucked out by the angry shark. When he was crying, Okuninushi no Mikoto passed by and told him how to cure his wounds. The enshrined deity at this shrine is this white rabbit, or Toyotamahime no Mikoto. The pond in the precinct is believed to be where the rabbit rinsed the seawater away from his body according to Okuninushi‘s advice.
The foundation time of the shrine is unknown but the present shrine building was built in 1896. Covered with the evergreen virgin forest of shii-trees, tabu-trees and ivy trees, the precinct has a mysterious atmosphere. The forest is a nationally designated Natural Monument as the primary forest where the plant life in the coastal area along the Sea of Japan has been well preserved.
Ochidani Shrine in Uemachi, Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture is a historic shrine. Walking up to the inner end of a narrow path off the main road, you will find a simple but distinguished-looking shrine building among fir and shii trees. The shrine was built in 1650 by the first lord of the Tottori domain, Ikeda Mitsunaka, to worship his grand-grand father, Tokugawa Ieyasu, thus it was called Toshogu or Tosho Daigongen in the Edo period (1603-1868). However, in the Meiji period (1868-1912) it was renamed to Ochidani Shrine according to the government’s policy of the separation of Shinto and Buddhism.
The solemn-looking Honden hall (the main hall) standing on white pebbled ground, the Chu-mon Gate in Hira-Karamon style (with bargeboards at each end), the Haiden hall (oratory), the Heiden hall (where offerings are presented to gods) are all nationally designated as Important Cultural Properties. The wood carvings of a hawk on the door of the Honden hall is said to be made by Hidari Jingoro, the master sculptor in the Edo period.
The Ochidani River flowing through the precinct is famous as the habitat of Japanese fireflies. After the sunset in early summer, the precinct turns into a fantasy.
Genchuji Temple, standing alone and forsaken on a quiet street in Shinhonji-cho, Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture, is where Araki Mataemon lies under a tombstone. Araki Mataemon was a renowned swordsman, who helped the vengeance of a young man at Kagiyanotsuji in Iga province, which is counted as one of Japan’s three most famous vengeances.
Traditionally, it is considered to be particularly good luck to dream of Mount Fuji, a hawk, and an eggplant. One theory suggests that an eggplant was included because the calyx of an eggplant feels prickly (“iga-iga” in Japanese), which is a pun of Iga, the place of the vengeance, and thus means the attainment of one’s desires.
In the precinct of the temple is a history museum, where Mataemon’s mementoes including the sword and chain armor actually used in the vengeance are displayed. In kuri (the priest’s quarters), a fine painting on a fusuma (sliding doors) “Rakan fusuma-painting” by Byakusetsu Takagi, a Japanese painter from Kurayoshi City in the prefecture.