Teizan Canal, 46.6 km in total length, is Japan’s longest canal built along Sendai Bay, connecting the mouth of the Old Kitakami River and the mouth of the Abukuma River. The first section of the canal, which connected Matsushima Bay and the Abukuma River, was constructed in 1597 by the order of Date Masamune. After his death, the extension works were continued. The canal was named after Masamune’s Buddhist name.
Until the end of the 19th century, boats and ships were the main means of transportation in Japan. After the Meiji restoration (1868), Home Minister, Okubo Toshimichi, asked the governors of the 6 prefectures in the Tohoku region about what they most needed. As a result, he concluded that construction of the canal to connect the Kitakami River, the main artery of the region, and the Abukuma River was indispensable for transporting rice. The construction was completed in 1884.
Today, it is used as an agricultural waterway and functions as a part of fishing ports. In the area along the canal from the Nanakita River to the Natori River spreads a fine seaside park, where a beautiful pine grove continues and a cycling road is equipped.
This character means the season called autumn. The same in antiquity as now, its characteristic, the harvest is which is reflected in the grain-classifier. The part of the character apart from the left part shows the burning of harmful insects.
In the original character form, the fire is positioned below. It is the most effective position for exposing the larvae or insect’s eggs to fire. The original character form can be seen for the first time in the tortoise plastron and bone characters. The proper original character has the 灬 four dots fire element below the 龜 ‘insect’ of 龝 but has now come to be called ‘variant character’ (with a nuance of abnormality). Nevertheless, it shows the original meaning of the character more clearly. From the present Common Use Kanji 秋 the mutual relation of the character elements cannot be correctly understood. It has become an abbreviation which completely excludes the fire’s role of burning harmful insects. In the original character the four dots fire element is appropriately positioned below the character element representing the insect. Agriculture had already considerably developed in the Yīn (Shāng) period, and ashes and excrements were already used as manure. Rice stem borers and locusts could not be ignored. As grown insects easily flee, the fire most probably was rather directed at the larvae adhering to the rice plants or crops. The original character form also conveys a certain symbolic meaning as, there seems to have been a profound relationship to a seasonal ritual.
Morihei Ueshiba was the founder of the Japanese martial art of Aikido. He was born in Wakayama Prefecture in 1883. As a boy, he was good at mathematics and physics, and was interested in heroic legends and miraculous stories. Once he worked in a local tax office and later set up a small stationery business while practicing martial arts and swordsmanship.
When he served in Japanese-Russo War, his skill in bayonet was the best in the regiment. After the war, he returned to his hometown and was engaged in farming. Then in 1912, at the age of 29, he and his family moved to Hokkaido as a groundbreaker. He taught farming and learned Aiki Jujutsu there.
After Ueshiba left Hokkaido, he came under the influence of Onisaburo Deguchi, the spiritual leader of the Omoto-kyo religion in Kyoto, and mastered the method of Chinkon Kishin (to settle down and calm the spirit and to return to the divine). He himself moved to Kyoto and founded his own dojo of Ueshiba-juku, where he established a new way of martial art, Aiki Budo, in which mind, body and “ki (inner power)” should be united into one power.
Ueshiba became more and more famous and was extremely busy teaching at the major military and police academies. He also founded a dojo in Tokyo and Aiki-en in Ibaraki Prefecture, where a dojo and Aiki Shrine are located. During all this time he traveled all over Japan and Mannchuria, dedicating himself to instruct his Aiki-Budo, which was renamed to Aikido in 1948. Morihei Ueshiba died in 1969.
Hongo Storage Reservoir is located by the Hongo River, which connects to the Yodo River, in Uda, Nara Prefecture.
Hongo Storage Reservoir is for the supply of water to agricultural areas in the west and north districts of Ouda town and was made by damming the Hongo River, whose source is Mt Otowa. The total storage capacity of the reservoir is 300,000m3.
Storage reservoir agriculture has been popular in the Nara Basin since even before the Meiji period, when many storage reservoirs were built. Hongo was built in 1935 and is a relatively new one.
There is an observation terrace at the reservoir where you can see the whole district. Many fish, such as the hera, can be found here, and it is a popular place for fishing.
Hongo Storage Reservoir is also famous for cherry blossom which, in April, are reflected on the surface of the reservoir.
The Uchinari Rice Terraces are ricefields with a stair-like formation in the Uchinari district, Hamawaki, located south of Beppu in Oita Prefecture.
In 1999, the Uchinari Rice Terraces were selected as among the top 100 Rice Terrace of Japan by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The terraces consist of 1000 fields and the area is some 42 hectares wide, making it the fifth widest of the top 100 rice terraced areas in Japan. The terraces are also the largest and most beautiful in Kyushu.
The Uchinari district has a long history and is first recorded during the Kamakura period. Even today, rice cultivation continues in areas such as Seba, Taromaru and Kajiwara. These places use spring water that has its source at Sekijo Temple.
There are no fallow rice fields here, and they are managed by the whole settlement. The Uchinari Rice Terraces are sustained by various efforts such as participatory agricultural events, the chance to own a rice terrace, and distribution of the rice harvested here.
Senmaida are the rice paddies that rise up in terraces on mountains, near hilly places or on sloping sea-shore sites.
On terraced rice paddies, it is difficult to use mechanized farming methods because of the shape of the land. Ancient farmers had to carefully consider where they were going to position the paddy fields.
Water presents a problem, too. Water can easily run off the slopes, so it is difficult to save. Because the senmaida are located on high land, so the temperature of the water stays cool. High hillside areas also suffer from frequent droughts and are easily damaged in cold weather. In short, senmaida are less productive than lowland rice paddies.
But through ingenuity and hard work, Japanese farmers have silently made senmaida become fields of rice ears growing heavily on slopes. The paddies rising up the hills make for exquisite patterns, too.