NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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橿原神宮 Kashihara-jinguu Kashihara Jingu Shrine

Jp En

Kashihara Jingu Shrine is located at the southeastern foot of Mt. Unebiyama in Kashihara City, Nara Pref. It was constructed in 1890 at the site of Unebi Kashihara-gu, where, according to Nihon Shoki (the Chronicles of Japan), Japan’s first emperor, Jinmu, is said to have acceded to the throne. The deities enshrined are Emperor and Empress Jinmu and his consort, Hime-Tatara-Isuzu-Hime no Mikoto. The precinct has an area of as much as 500,000 square meters. Emperor Jinmu’s Tomb and many other imperial tombs are located in the surrounding area. Shinka-den Hall, the Kashikodokoro (imperial sanctuary) of Kyoto Palace was relocated to this place and used as the Main Hall. The Inner Haiden Hall (a hall of oratory) is used for New Year’s visit and Kigen-sai Festival (the regnal day of Emperor Jinmu and the National Foundation Day set up by the Meiji government). On the day of Jinmu-sai Festival, which is held on April 4 every year, a lot of people come to see a large-scale parade of people including several groups in ancient costume going through the town and appreciate Noh, Kyogen, and Kuzuso (an ancient dance performed at Imperial court).
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比叡の樹林 Hiei-no-jurin Forest on Mt. Hiei

Jp En

Mt. Hiei is covered with forests of old-growth cedars and fir trees, which are left intact since the ancient times. The whole mountain belongs to Enryakuji temple, which was founded by the monk Saicho and has served as the headquarters of the Tendai sect. It is considerd to be the most important mountain in the establishment of Japnese Buddhism, because Honen, the founderof Jodo Sect, Shinran, the founder of Jodo Shin-shu Sect, Eisai, the founder of Rinzai Sect, Dogen, the founder of Sodo Sect, and Nichiren, the founder of Nichiren-shu Sect all trained themselves in this mountain when young. The trees in the smoky mist looks especially beautiful. “Forest on Mt. Hiei” is counted as one of Eight Views of Lake Biwa. The halls of Enryakuji Temple surrounded with old-growth trees in smoky mist create mysterious and fantastic atmosphere.
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奥出雲玉鋼工芸品 Okuizumo-tamahagane-kougeihin Oku-Izumi Tama-steel handicraft

Jp En

Oku-Izumi Tama-steel handicraft is one of the industrial arts of the town of Oku-Izumi, in Shimane Prefecture, which became prosperous in iron production.
Iron production began in the Muromachi period.  Oku-Izumi is the site of the legend of the slaying of the Yamatano serpent recorded in the ‘Kojiki’. It is said that Kusanagi’s sword appeared from the serpent’s tail, and was an excellent source of steel.
Until the mid-Meiji period, Oku-Izumi  supplied 70 percent of Japan’s iron .  But as iron production became more prevalent with greater demand  and easier production methods, the Tama-steel technique died out in the fourth decade of the Showa period. Only the ‘Nippo sword Tatara’ crafted by Toriue Iron Factory survived in Japan. Tama-steel and Wa-steel are manufactured using a  traditional technique of refinement, using ‘Tatara’, which is made from iron sand. This Tama-steel has such good adhesion that a steel can be wrought that is strong enough to make beautiful swords.
Tama steel is still made by hand and the artisans are working on new forms of iron handiworks; they maintain the tradition and the knowledge of the manufacturing process.
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