NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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かまくら Kamakura Kamakura Snow Igloos

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Kamakura is a Lunar New Year festival held sometime in January or February in Akita prefecture. Kamakura is a kind of small igloo made from compacted snow with a small opening and a larger space inside. This festival is from the Tohoku region, but its origins are unclear.

The contents of the festival differ according to region. In Rokugo, Akita, a 'blue-bamboo battle' is held. On the other hand, in Yokote, children make an altar inside the kakamura as a dedication to a god of water inside, while adults visit to pay money to the god and are served sweet sake and rice cakes.

'Bamboo battle' means driving birds away and praying for bumper crops. The dedications to the water god are also a way to pray for bumper crops.

The kamakura igloos have spread all over Japan as an attractive winter display loved by both children and adults.
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伊吹山 Ibukiyama Mt Ibuki

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Mt Ibuki has an altitude of 1377 meters and is the dominant peak in the Ibuki range. It straddles the border of Gifu and Shiga prefectures. As a peak, it is a part of the Biwako Quasi-National Park.

In ancient times, when Fuwanoseki was built, it was known as Utamakura. The mountain appears frequently in 'Records of Ancient Matters' and 'The Chronicles of Japan'. There is a legend that Yamato Takeru fought Shironu the avatar of the mountain and was wounded. When recovering from his injuries, Takeru stayed in Shimizu, a town located at the foot of the range.

On February 14, 1927, snow fell to a world-record-breaking height of 11.82m. In the ancient records mentioned above, changes in the weather were attributed to a 'god of nature'.

Nowadays, Mt Ibuki is a sightseeing spot. From the foot of the mountain to its peak, there are various alpine meadows. Mt Ibuki is listed as one of the Japan's 100 Best Mountains. From spring to summer, people enjoy hiking and trekking, and in winter they come to ski.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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