NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/10/12


猿掛城 Sarukake-jyou Sarukake Castle Ruins

Jp En

Sarukake Castle located in the northwester part of Yoshida Basin in Yoshida-cho, Aki Takata City, Hiroshima Pref. was a castle closely related to the Mori clan. It was built during the Meio era (1492-1501) by Mori Hiromoto, Motonari’s father. The castle is well known as the place where Mori Motonari spent his young days till he succeeded the clan. Sarukake Castle stood on the ridge of a mountain facing the Tajihi River running on the border of currently Yakake-cho in Oda-gun and Makibi-cho in Kurashiki City. It functioned as an important base to keep watch on passers coming from and going to the west. After the Battle of Sekigahara, however, the Mori clan lost three provinces including Aki and moved to present-day Hagi, Yamaguchi Pref. The castle became a Shogunal property and later dismantled. Doshoji Temple in Yakake-cho had been the family temple of the successive castellans.
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2007/9/14


宮崎 幸福神社 Miyazaki Koufuku-jinja Kofuku Shrine in Miyazaki

Jp En

Kofuku (Good Luck and Wealth) Shrine in Hyuga City, Miyazaki Prefecture, was founded in 1776 by Ibi Tomijiro, the magistrate of Hida Magistrate’s Office, which managed “tenoryo (the Tokugawa Shogunate’s landholdings)” in Hyuga province (present-day Miyazaki Prefecture) as the guardian god of the branch office in Takatomi village. The deities of shrines ranked Sho-Ichii (the 1st of the 1st) in Fushimi (in present-day Kyoto) were collectively transferred as the main deity.

Later in 1868, the minor deities of local shrines were collectively enshrined and also Okuninushi no Mikoto, Kotoshironushi, Uka no Mitama (Inari God), Sukuna Hikona no Kami, Iwanagahime no Mikoto and Sugawara no Michizane were transferred. Of the shrine name, “ko (good luck)” derives from Inari God, the god of food and agriculture and “fuku (wealth)” from Okuninushi no Mikoto, the god of wealth.

A pair of camphor trees, which are said to be several hundred years old, stand in the precinct. They are called “Meoto Kusunoki (Husband and Wife Camphor Trees),” which finely matches the shrine name. As the symbol of the shrine, they are worshipped by visitors who wish a happy life.
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2007/7/23


天領まつり Tenryou-matsuri Tenryo Festival

Jp En

Izumozaki Town in Niigata Prefecture was under direct Tokugawa supervision as “tenryo (Tokugawa Shogunate landholdings)” during the Edo period (1603-1868). It was a prosperous town as the landing port of gold that was mined from Sado Island as well as the traffic center of the Hokkoku Kaido Road that connected Edo and Sado Island.

Tenryo Festival held in October every year in Izumozaki is a gorgeous festival redolent of the prosperity of the town in the old times. A variety of events including the stall food court are held in the area of streets temporarily closed to vehicular traffic. The old houses in tsumairi-style (with an entrance in a gable end) typical to the Edo-period townscape in this area are preserved in a good state in this area.

The main event of the festival is a reenactment of a procession of “Junkenshi (representatives of the Shogun).” On the way of the procession, Junkenshi inspect the disembarkation of gold and silver that was brought from Sado Island and bringing the load into the storehouse and they set off for Edo via Hokkoku Kaido Road on the next day to bring it back to the Shogun.
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2007/2/19


三春城 Miharu-jyo Miharu Castle

Jp En

The remains of Miharu Castle stand on Mt Ooshida near the town of Miharu in Tamura-gun, Fukushima Prefecture. The castle was established by Lord Yoshiaki Tamura of the Tamura clan and constructed from the Kamakura period to the Nanboku-chou period.

The Tamura clan eventually became one of the servant clans to a larger more powerful clan, but in 1590, after the Ouu-shioki, they changed to serve the Masamune Date and moved to Sendai. Soon after, the castle became the property of clan lords such as Ujisato Gamou, Kagekatsu Uesugi and Yoshiaki Katou.

In 1645, Toshitsue Akita became the castle lord for 10 thousand cubic meters of rice, and the Akita clan ruled until the Meiji Restoration. The castle was abandoned in the 4th year of the Meiji period (1871) due to the abolition of the domain system.

Today, the castle site is famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms. Many public institutions stand near the castle remains, and the area functions as a center of the town of Miharu. Miharu Castle reveals the sorrows and weaknesses of those who were pawns in the inevitable flow of history.
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2007/1/25


倉敷 Kurashiki Kurashiki

Jp En

Because of its preserved streets, its history and its natural scenery, Kurashiki is the foremost sightseeing spot of Okayama Prefecture. In 1979, the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Area was designated as a Preservation District of Historical Buildings.

The old town of Kurashiki embodies the atmosphere of the Edo period. The town has a subtle harmony of white walls, black 'hongawarabuki', 'nameko' ('sea cucumber') walls, warehouses, lattice windows and the willow-lined river. The town also has many cultural attractions, such as the Ohara Museum of Art. Beautiful buildings, such as the Kurashiki Museum of Folk Craft and the Kurashiki Museum of Archaeology, may be visited. In addition, the Kibi Tumulus is an historic site dating to the ancient Kibi kingdom, which prospered in past.

Other sites around Kurashiki that are popular to visit include Mt Kijo, the birthplace of Momotaro, as well as the historic Kibi-Tsu shrines. Moreover, Kurashiki is known for its scenic views of the beautiful Seto Inland Sea. From the peak of Mt Washu, there is a splendid view of scattered islands among silent waves and the magnificent Seto Ohashi Bridge.
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天領ひたおひなまつり Tenryouhita-ohinamaturi Tenryohita Doll's Festival

Jp En

The Tenryohita Doll's Festival takes place each year on 3 March, Girls' Day, in Hita-shi, Oita Prefecture. At this time, dolls and doll-making tools are displayed in about 20 old family houses and reference libraries throughout the town.

During the Edo period, an early spring Ohinasama (doll) festival spread among the general public along with a rise in urban prosperity. This festival became a traditional Japanese event to wish for the health, wholesomeness and happiness of girls. At this time, because Hita was directly governed by the Edo Bakufu, a governor's residence (daikansho) was built. As merchants became wealthier, the Tenryohita became greater and thrived to such an extent that it was called the greatest festival of Kyushu.

The dolls and doll-making tools handed down from generation to generation from the old families of the Edo and Meiji periods, astound us with their extravagance and splendor. The elegant, lustrous and graceful features of the dolls, along with their majestic kimonos and gracious figures, reflect the financial power the wealthy merchants possessed, and the prosperous, cultivated lives they led.
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豆田町・歴史の小径 Mamedamati・Rekishi-no-komiti An Historic Street Scene in Mameda

Jp En

Rekishi-no-komichi is an historic street scene that can be seen in the Mameda area of Hita in Oita Prefecture. During the Edo period, Hita prospered for 250 years under the direct control of the Edo Bakufu government.

Many historic buildings and remnants of the Tenryo period still exist in Hita, mostly in Mameda. This area has been declared an historic townscape in order to preserve its old buildings and place in history.

During the 'Sennen-akari' event, part of the Tenryohita Matsuri, bamboo lanterns cast a soft glow over Rekishi-no-komichi along Ogawa, creating a visionary space. A Tenryo museum is also located in the area, and lets people know of the wealth that once prevailed in Hita.

Today, a stroll through the chic area of Rekishi-no-komichi in Mameda will give the visitor a sense of the atmosphere and mood of the Edo period.
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2006/12/15


堺刃物 Sakaihamono Sakai Forged Blades

Jp En

Sakai forged blades has the share of 90% in the market for cooking knives used by professional cooks. The No.1 standard of sharpness and traditional forging technique has increased their reputation. The history dates back the 16th century, when guns and tobacco were introduced into Japan from Portugal. In the late 16th century, Sakai’s “tobacco knives” to shred tobacco were known nationwide. The Tokugawa Shogunate granted Sakai a certificate seal called “Gokuin” to guarantee their quality and also the exclusive selling right, by which the reputation of Sakai forged blades spread all over the country. These knives are characterized by their distinctive sharpness that is only possible through the excellent smithing and grinding skills. The sharp blade edge produced by well trained skills represents the master’s pride.
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