NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/7/23


びふか松山湿原 Bifuka-matsuyama-shitsugen Bifuka-Matsuyama Moor

Jp En

Bifukawa-Matsuyama Moor is on Mt Matsuyama and overlooks the town of Bifuka (Nakagawa-gun, Hokkaido).

Bifuka-Matsuyama Moor is located 797m above sea level and is also known as the highest moor in northern Japan. The moor is approximately 25ha in area and includes three ponds of varying sizes, into which kokanee salmon are periodically released.

The moor was designated as a Natural Environment Conservation Area of Hokkaido in 1976 (Showa 51), because of its many small alpine trees dwarfed by wind and snow. Trees unique to the mountain include aka-ezo pine (Picea glehnii) and Siberian dwarf pine, which are considered to be of academic importance.

The moor features a 1km-hiking route that runs through real wilderness. Here can be found highland plants flowering in various seasons, including the tachigi-boushis (Hosta rectifolia) and horomuirindous (Gentiana triflora var. japonica subvar. horomuiensis). The hiking route brings visitors to the great outdoors, where they can see dwarf trees such as the ezo pine and Siberian dwarf pines sitting between the blue sky and the green landscape. Indeed, such views could only be created by nature.
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2007/6/19


えりも町 住吉神社 Erimo-cho Sumiyoshi-jinja Erimo-cho Sumiyoshi Shrine

Jp En

Sumiyoshi Shrine in Erimo Town is located in Hon-cho Erimo-cho, Horiizumi, Hokkaido and enshrines Sokotsutsuno Ominokoto, Nakatsutsuno Ominokoto and Uwatsutsuno Ominokoto.
Its origin dates back to 1814 when a shrine was built on Sumiyoshi Mountain (north of the present location) to pray for safety and a good catch at local fishing grounds.
After the building was destroyed by a big storm in 1898, it was transferred to the present location and rebuilt with Nagare hafu-zukuri or flowing style. The shrine we see today was reconstructed in 1937.
A stone water basin built in 1850 and the base of the stone lantern built in 1851 are preserved in the grounds.  
At the annual religious festival on September 15th, Mikoshi, or portable shrine, is paraded around the town and through the ocean at the ceremony, which lasts for one and a half hours.
Sumiyoshi Shrine is still greatly venerated and worshiped as a god of the fishing industry by such fisheries as kelp and fixed net salmon.
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2007/6/4


北海道 余市川 Hokkaidou Yoichi-gawa The Yoichi River

Jp En

The Yoichi River, which flows out of Mt. Yoichdake, runs 50 km through the rural area of Yoichi County in Hokkaido and pours into the Sea of Japan. The word “Yoich” originates in the Ainu word “i-ot-i,” meaning “a place where snakes live,” which was collapsed into “yoiti” by Wajin (Japanese from Honshu), and kanji “yo (余)” and “ichi (市)” were applied to it.

The Yoich River is famous as the northernmost river where Ayu (sweetfish) inhabit and also as the river where salmon swim upstream for spawning. Fascinated by the idea of the northernmost Ayu fishing, a lot of anglers come to enjoy fishing in this scenic river. At Ayu fishing ground about 4 km upstream from the river mouth, you can see thousands of salmon jumping in the water in fall.
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2007/1/26


兵戸渓谷 Hyoudo-kyoukoku Hyodo Valley

Jp En

The upper reaches of the Kawahara River flow for a long stretch through the spectacular Hyodo Valley in Kamitsuemachi, Hita, in Oita Prefecture.

The Hyodo Valley has an altitude of 600m and the mountain stream has very clear, translucent water with a refreshing and brisk aspect. It is also known as an excellent spot for masu salmon fishing, and a common sight is that of families fighting against a masu salmon at the fishing spot.

There are various waterfalls that tumble over rough and jagged rocks, making an intense scene that is enhanced by color contrasts in the four seasons. Many wild birds, such as the crested kingfisher, the akashiyobin, and the grey wagtail, nest along the ravine, allowing people to enjoy birdwatching as well. In the autumn, the maple trees turn a rich red, and if the weather is fine, these and the ginkgo trees, along with the other trees in the valley appear to shine. Because of its secluded setting, the Hyodo Valley is an excellent area to experience nature.
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2006/12/23


三段滝 Sandandaki Three-step waterfall, Sandandaki Fall

Jp En

The Sandandaki Fall has three water pockets where the sandstone rocks have been eroded into an irregular staircase pattern. The waterfall occurs along the course of the Ashibetsu River, which flows from Mt. Ashibetsu, in the town of Ashibetsu in Hokkaido.
The area is known as the Sandandaki Fall Park.
The waterfall  is one of the great sites  in Ashibetsu; it is in a deep and grand forest, and when the river is running high, you can see water splashing out.
It is said that, at the beginning of the Showa period, a mass of salmons jumped up  and swam over this three-step waterfall.
In fall, the leaves of the trees around turn red to complete a great natural canvas.
In spring, meltwater runs into the waterfall and the water flows full; you will be overwhelmed by its power.
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2006/12/20


奥山幸男 Okuyama Yukio Yukio Okuyama

Jp En

Yukio Okuyama is a traditional craftsman who makes Ainu carvings of animal figures from wood: horses, deer and salmon, for example. Okuyama is a brilliant craftsman and a member of  the Hokkaido Utari Association. He also has won first prize in competitions such as the Hokkaido Ainu Crafts Competition (Hokkaido Governor Award). His outstanding abilities can be seen not only in his carvings, but also in his studies and research into Ainu Culture. Now he is working on the restoration of a traditional Ainu boat called ‘Itaomachippu’, which was used for fishing and transport . For the restoration, delicate and sophisticated skill is needed. Firstly, it is because the boards for the boat need to be bent to the correct shape by careful burning and secondly, the boat is constructed entirely without nails. Okuyama praises the skills of the Ainu culture, and he is making great efforts to preserve them. Yukio Okuyama, being a traditional craftsman, also takes orders for woodcarvings like tables and alcove posts.
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