Originally Japan had many words to describe the moon according to its changing shape through waxing and waning. They are all elegantly named for the different phases: Shin-getsu (new moon), San-getsu (very fine moon of 2nd day), Mika-zuki (crescent, 3rd day ), Jougen no tsuki (bow shape moon of 7th day), Komochi-zuki (near full moon of 14th day), Tachimachi-zuki ( standing and waiting for the moon to appear, 17th day), Nemachi-zuki (Laying down and waiting for the moon to appear, 19th day), Ariake-zuki (morning moon, 26th day or general name after 16th) and so on.
The Moon Plate created by Mutsuko Shibata is a simple but imposing plate with a beautiful gold drizzled pattern. It has strength in its stillness. With a variety of food and seasonal ingredients available, you can enjoy the rich compliment of the two faces of the plate and food, a luxury in daily life.
You can arrange food to look like a hazy moon, or see a beam from the moon light in the golden drops. Besides being perfect to serve guests, the plate is also a good everyday item.
Large W 27 cm x D 27 cmx H 2.5 cm
Small W 15 cm x D 15 cm x H 2 cm
Toridejuku was a post station on the Mito Road in the Edo period (1603-1868). In1687, the residence of the Someno family, Nanushi (village officer) of Toridejuku, was designated as honjin (the inn for the nobility and daimyo) by the Mito Tokugawa clan. The original building was burned down by fire in 1794 and the existing main building was built in the next year.
It is a large-scale private house in Yosemune-zukuri style, with 19 m wide and 13.3 m deep. The bargeboard on the Irimoya-styled roof (hip-and-gable roof) over the wooden step at the entrance hall gives a dignified impression. The inside of the residence was divided into two sections; the honjin section for lodging and the private section. As did the formal honjin, the honjin section had Jodan-no ma, which was the special room for the nobility and daimyo, and the suite of three rooms.
In the garden stands a stone monument inscribed with a poem written by Tokugawa Nariaki, the 9th lord of the Mito domain, in 1840, when he was on a boat going down the Tone River on his way back to Mito. The stone monument was later presented to the Someno family from the Mito domain, which shows the close connection between the Mito Tokugawa clan and the Someno family.
Kaminoseki Bansho is the old guard station located in Nagashima, Kaminoseki-cho, Yamaguchi Prefecture. The guard station was established by the local government to keep an eye on ports and inspect shipping cargo during Edo era.
Because there are very few remnants of buildings preserved from the administrative arm at the beginning of Edo era, Kaminoseki Bansho is of significant importance. It was moved from inside the port where it was once located to its current address in 1996 and reconstructed as it looked originally.
The western side of the Setonaikai Inland Sea had several guard stations for cargo inspection and the region, currently Yamaguchi Prefecture, wasn’t exceptional. They had three stations which were called, in order of distance from the capital, “kaminoseki”, “nakanoseki” and “Shimonoseki” respectively.
Kaminoseki guard station has an overall length of 11.66m and width of 3.86m. It is a wooden building with Irimoya tile roof style and has “geya” (a lower roof) on all sides. The station is designated as a tangible cultural asset by the prefecture.
Rinnoji Temple in Aoba-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, is a temple of the Soto sect of Buddhism It was founded in Somekawa in present Fukushima Prefecture in 1441 by Date Mochimune, the 11th head of the Date clan, to respond to the plea by the nun Rantei Meigyoku, the wife of the late 9th head.
Rinnoji Temple is famous for its beautiful Japanese garden named “Rinnoji Zen Garden.” It is a pond stroll garden, which is said to be one of the most wonderful gardens in the Tohoku district. The garden was designed by the priest Fukusada Mugai (1881-1943), who restored the temple after it had declined in the Meiji period.
The pond with the backdrop of red pine and cedar trees reflect the images of weeping cherry blossoms and the three-story pagoda in the middle of April. White and violet flowers of Japanese irises in late June are especially impressive. Walking across bridges over the pond to view the scenery that changes by season, you will have a really relaxing time.
Kenryuji Temple is in Wakuya Town in Miyagi Prefecture, known as a castle town at the foot of Wakuya Castle, where the Wakuya Date clan resided. It is said that the principal image of worship, the statue of Nyoirin Kanzeon, was carved by a Buddhist sculptor, Ankei.
In 1591, when Watari Shigemune became the ruler of the area, he invited the priest Ryogan of Myoshinji Temple in Kyoto and restored the deserted temple, naming it Endoji Temple. In 1671, upon the death of Date Muneshige, the 4th generation of the Wakuya Date clan, it was renamed the present name after his Buddhist name.
In the precinct is the mausoleum of Muneshige, Kenryubyo, built in 1673. Surrounded with white clay walls, the building is made of zelkova wood and has Kohai (a step canopy) and a copper roof in Hogyo-zukuri (a pyramid style). It is a prefecturally designated important cultural property. The mausoleums of the 5th and the 6th lords and the graves of other generations of head of the clan surround the Kenryubyo mausoleum.
Shinmeisha Shrine is located in Wakuya Hinata in Wakuya Town, Miyagi Prefecture. The enshrined deities are Amaterasu Omikami and Amenonakanushi no Kami. The origin of the shrine is not clear, but it is said that it was originally located in Kozutsumi Village in present Watari Town and enshrined Uganomitama no Kami. In 1591, when Watari Motomune, the ruler of this area, was transferred to Wakuya, he relocated the shrine to its current location, which was said to be a holy place associated with Shiogama Shrine.
Haiden (the oratory) of Shinmeisha Shrine is designated as a cultural property by the prefecture as one of the few Genroku-era structures. It was constructed in 1698. It is a 3-bay wide and 2-bay deep wooden building with a copper roof in Irimoya-zukuri (hip and gabled) style. No painting is applied to the building.
The front side has the 1-bay step-canopy. The railing is built around three sides of the building. The carved decorations are painted with white pigment made of burnt seashell.
The gable pediments are embellished with large bottle-shaped struts cut out to fit over rainbow beams. The ridge is covered with decorative boards with a symmetrical three-fold pattern and turnip-shaped cover boards.
“The Saikyo Bridge” is actually a very unique rock located at Yamakuni-machi-Nakama, in Nakatsu City, Oita Pref. A large hole was made in the rock by long-time erosion and it looks like a huge stone bridge or a huge dragon lying across a valley. This unique rock is the product of nature’s everlasting power or quite literally an act of god in nature. The rock is also called “Sennin-hari (Sennin’s beam),” “Sennin-iwa (Sennin Rock),” or “Amenoiwato (the stone door to the heaven).” There is a cave with 1 m mouth at the bottom of the rock. The name “Amenoiwato” may have been derived from this cave. Inside the cave there is an empty space of about 2.5 m in height and depth, where ancient mountain practitioners supposedly trained themselves. Looking up at this natural rock bridge, produced by nature and immemorial time, we can’t help but realize how slowly time passes in the universe compared with the restless time we spend every day.
Kameoka Hachiman Shrine is a historic shrine in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. It originates in the shrine founded in present Yanagawa in Date City, Fukushima Prefecture, during the Bunchi era (1185-1189) by Date Tomomune, the founder of the Date clan, by transferring the deity of Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine in Kamakura. Later in 1681, it was relocated to its present location by Date Tsunamura, the 4th lord of the Sendai domain.
All the shrine structures and votive offerings except the torii gate and the stone steps were burned down by the fire at Sendai Air Raid in 1945. The present shrine pavilions including Honden (the main hall), Haiden (the oratory) and Heiden (the offering hall) were built in 1965.
Only the torii gate and the long stone steps leading to the precinct still retain some remnants of what it used to be. At the foot of the stone steps are the vermillion painted bridge and a huge and old weeping cherry tree, which is a municipally designated protected tree. Going up the long old stone steps, which Matsuo Basho also climbed more than 300 years ago, you can’t help but think of the ancient people’s holy devotions and love for nature.