NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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京都ゑびす神社 Kyouto-ebisu-jinja Kyoto Ebisu Shrine

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The Kyoto Ebisu Shrine is located in Yamato-ooji Douri, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto prefecture.
The shrine honors the gods Yaekotoshironushi-no-ookami, Ookuninushi-ookami and Sukunahikona-no-kami.
It was reportedly built at the current location in 1202 by Yousai, the founder of the Rinzai Zen School and it was intended as a guardian shrine to protect Kennin-ji, the oldest Zen temple.
The shrine is one of the Three Greatest Ebisu Shrines in Japan which are thought to bring prosperity in business. The shrine is commonly called “Ebe-ssan”.
Bamboo is a symbol of the Ebisu beliefs and visitors receive amulets and lucky charms with bamboo motifs.  The association with bamboo began at the Kyoto Ebisu Shrine and it spread to other Ebisu shrines.  Bamboo grows straight and upright. It also has an elastic trunk and it does not break easily.  Moreover, bamboo leaves do not change color or fall off the stem.  The leaves remain fresh and green all year round. These characteristics made bamboo the symbol of family prosperity and success in business.
The Ebisu Festival, held every January 8th through 12th, is a busy and lively event filled with visitors who celebrate until well after midnight.
The Kyoto Ebisu Shrine is, along with the principles of the Ebisu beliefs and the Seven Lucky Gods, well rooted in the hearts of and loved by the local people.
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薬師寺 東塔 Yaushi-ji Tou-tou East Pagoda at Yakushi-ji Temple

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Yakushi-ji Temple is located in Nishinokyo in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, and one of two head temples of the Hossou religious sect. The principal image of Buddha is Yakushinyorai. Yakushi-ji Temple is the first temple of the Yakushi Pilgrimage of 49 Temples in Western Japan.  The temple is also one of the Seven Great Temples of Nara.  It was built by the Emperor Tenmu in 680.
Tou-tou or the East Pagoda, towering inside the temple complex, is 33.6m in height. The pagoda is believed to have been renovated in 730 to make it a good counterpart to the West Pagoda.   This was done when the capital was relocated to Heijyou-kyo and the whole temple was moved to the capital. The East Pagoda has been designated as a National Treasure.  The most notable feature of the East Pagoda is that, although it has three stories, its three additional lean-to roofs called mokoshi, make it look as if it has six stories. On the upper part of the tower, there is an openwork ornament called Suien (the Water Flame). There 24 heavenly beings were carved, some of which are playing flutes or planting flower seeds and some offering prayers.  Suien is a charm to protect the pagoda from fire.
The East Pagoda of Yakushi-ji Temple is the only structure that has survived intact for a very long period of time, since the original foundation of the temple.
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樺崎砲台跡 Kabasaki-houdai-ato The Remains of Kabasaki Battery Fortress

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The Kabasaki battery fortress was built in 1855, after clearing a mountain and reclaiming the land for construction.  It was built to protect Uwajima Bay. The battery was believed to have been planned and designed by Oomura Masujirou, who is also known as Murata Kuraroku.  He was originally a medical doctor and he later took an active role as a military leader in the closing days of the Tokugawa shogunate.
After the Ansei Purge, the ports of Japan were opened to foreign trade ships and, as a variety of foreign ships began to arrive at the ports around Setonaikai Inland Sea, neighboring clans were alerted and urged to protect their coast. Among them, the Uwajima clan and the lord Date Mumenari were especially eager to promote Fukoku Kyouhei policy.  This policy seeks to enrich the country and modernize and strengthen its military. The Kabasaki battery was one of the western style batteries constructed for this purpose.
Reclaiming the land from the sea to create the foundation for the battery involved a considerable amount of hard labor.  The fortress covers 505 square meters, with 73 square meters being a storehouse for machinery.  It includes facilities for the firing and storage of explosives as well as five big bronze batteries.
What remains of the fortress is preserved next to the Uwajima City History Museum at Uwajima airport.  This airport was built on land that was reclaimed from the sea in the Showa Period (1985~1988).  The Uwajima City History Museum was once a police station and it was built in the characteristic architectural style of the Meiji Period.
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くしふる神社 Kushifuru-Jinja Kurufushi Shrine

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Kurufushi Shrine is located in Takachiho-cho, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki Prefecture.  The shrine is dedicated to Amatsuhikohikohono-niniginomikoto.
In earlier days when there was no building erected on the site, the mountain itself was the subject of worship and it was counted as one of the Eighty Eight Takachiho Shrines.  In 1694, the shrine was built by the lord of the Nobeoka Clan and the people of the village, who were deeply devoted to their faith.
According to Kojiki, the oldest surviving book, Niniginomikoto descended to the top of “Mount Kujifuru” in Takachiho. This Mount Kujifuru is believed to be today’s Mount Kurufuru where, halfway up the side, the Kurufushi Shrine stands.  In the vicinity are some other mythological sites including Shioujiga-mine which is said to be the birth place of Emperor Jinmu’s brothers, as well as theTakamagaharayouhaisho and Takachioho-hi Monument.
Kurufushi Shrine is a tranquil place surrounded by woods. Visiting this shrine, along with theTakachiho Shrine and the Amanoiwato Shrine is called sansha mairi (three shrines visit) and the practice has been popular since the old days.  
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佐渡 たらい舟 Sado Tarai-bune Sado Tarai-bune (Tub Boat)

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Sado Tarai-bune or tub boat is a traditional fishing boat that was developed in Sado city, Niigata prefecture. It was in the early Meiji period when tarai-bune, made from a washtub, first appeared and they are still used for fishing in some places, although they are regarded as quite unusual among the fishing boats used in coastal areas.
The coastline of the Ogi peninsula in Sado is covered with many sunken rocks and small inlets and it has long been a source of kelp and turbans. There tarai-bune have been especially effective as they have a tight turning circle.  In this area, tarai-bune were once so important that they would be part of a bride’s wedding trousseau.
At Yogi Port, there are some tarai-bune for tourists to ride or row.
When operating the boat, people are advised to stand the T-shaped paddle upright and, while looking at the desired destination, row the paddle as if they were drawing the number eight.
Sado tarai-bune are a traditional and practical fishing boats that were born of necessity,  in response to local geographical features.  

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立神岩 鹿児島 Tategami-iwa Kagoshima Tategami Rock in Kagoshima

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Tategami (Standing God) Rock is a huge rock with a height of 42 m located about 300 in the offing of Makurazaki Port in Makurazaki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. It is a landmark of Makurazaki Coast. From its mysterious shape, it is thought to be the guardian god of the port who brings bumper catch and navigation safety.

There is an interesting legend about Tategami Rock and Mt. Akabo, which rises opposite the rock. Once upon a time, the gods living in Tategami Rock and Mt. Akabo had a fight with each other and the god of Mt. Akabo threw an ax at the god of Tategami Rock, who got raged and breathed fire; hereby the rock took such a sheer shape and the mountain took on burning red color. From this legend, Tategami Rock is also worshipped as the god of fire and Tategami became the place name. At present, both gods sit quietly in their places and guard the city of Makurazaki.
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鎮西大社 諏訪神社 Chinzeitaisha-Suwa-jinja Chinzeitaisha Suwa Shrine

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Suwa Shrine is located in Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture, and it is also commonly known as Chinzeitaisha.  This shrine is the main shrine in Nagasaki that honors the Suwa, Morisaki and Sumiyoshi Deities.
    During the Koji Period (1555~1557), a part of the holy spirit of the deity at Suwa Shrine in the Shino region was transferred to a newly-built Suwa Shrine in Nagasaki.  Oomura Sumitada, the local lord, who had been converted to Christianity, however, had donated the City of Nagasaki to the Society of Jesus and so he destroyed almost all the Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in the city.   In 624, due to the efforts of Aoki Kensei, the chief priest of a shrine in the Hizen Karatsu region, the Suwa, Morisaki and Sumiyoshi Shrines were all combined into one shrine.  It was in 1648 that this shrine was built at its current location.  It was destroyed by fire in 1857, but it then restored in 1869 after 10 years of rebuilding. The shrine became as we see it today in 1984, when major repairs were done to commemorate its 360th anniversary.  
The Suwa shrine was affectionately called “Osuwa-sama” by the locals and every autumn it holds the Nagasaki Kunchi Festival, one of the Three Greatest Festivals in Japan.
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魚見岳 Uomi-dake Mt. Uomidake

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Mt. Uomidake (Fish-Seeing Mountain), 214.8 m above sea level, is a low mountain near the central part of Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. It is said that it was named so because fishermen watched the movements of fish schools from the top of the mountain.

The area around the mountain top is arranged into a natural park, to which you can go by car. Going up the stairs of the observatory deck, you can command a panoramic view of streets in Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Bay, and Chiringashima Island. On a fine day you can also see Mt. Kaimon, the Takakuma Mountain Range and Mt. Ontake in Sakurajima as well as Iojima Island in the distance.

Mt. Uomidake is a part of a volcano that existed in the ancient times. As the southern and eastern sides form sheer cliffs, the mountain is said to be like Diamond Head in Hawaii. About 10,000 cherry trees come into bloom in spring, when the mountain is alive with people who come to enjoy family hiking and driving.
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