NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/1/8


旧取手宿本陣 Kyu-toridejuku-honjin Old Toridejuku Honjin

Jp En

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.
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八雲本陣 Yagumo-honjin Yagumo Honjin

Jp En

Yagumo Honjin is the former residence of the Kowata family, which was one of the wealthiest land owner families in Izumo province (present-day Shimane Prefecture). Carrying on a brewing industry, the family also served as O-Shoya (the officer that ruled Shoya of each village).

This grand building with a floor area of 2,640 m2 standing on 3,940 m2 land was constructed in 1733. In the Edo period, the residence was used as honjin (an inn for the nobility and daimyo), where the lord of the Matsue domain stayed when he made an inspection tour around the domain territory.

After World War II, the residence was open to public as a Japanese restaurant and inn, where guests can enjoy its gorgeous interior furnishings. Yagumo Honjin was nationally designated as an Important Cultural Property in 1969.
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落合の石畳 Ochiai-no-Ishidatami Stone-paved Road in Ochiai

Jp En

There is a stone-paved road remaining in Ochiai, Nakatsugawa City, Gifu Prefecture. In the late Edo period (1603-1868), stone-pavement work was given to the road between Ochiai Jikkyoku Pass and Magome-juku Post Station of the Nakasendo Road, because this section was very steep and difficult to go through.

According to the historical record, the pavement was repaired for the procession of Princess Kazunomiya, who was on her journey to Edo for the marriage to the emperor in 1861. In the Meiji period (1868-1912), a part of the pavement was cleared away for a construction work, as a result of which only a part of the original pavement remained.

In 1988, a restoration work was given to the section of 840 m in total length. Together with the historic sites of Honjin and the large iron pot in Ochiai-juku Post Station and the stone monument inscribed with “Kisoji Road, further ahead” written by Toson Shimazaki, a novelist in the Meiji period, this stone-paved road will bring the travelers back to the old times.
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2007/8/3


御陣場山 Gojinba-yama The Ruins of Gojinbayama Encampment

Jp En

Gojinbayama Hill in Tomai City, Miyagi Prefecture, is the ruins of encampment set up by Date Masamune during the Azuchi Momoyama period (1568-1598). The stone monument explaining Masamune’s feat is erected at the top of the hill.

After the Siege of Odawara, Toyotomi Hideyoshi took the measure of Oshu Shioki (punitive action) against the powerful clans in the Tohoku region who had not joined his attack operation on Odawara Castle. The Kasai and Osaki clans, the previous rulers of the southern Tohoku region, who had been deprived of their territories by Oshu Shioki, rebelled against Hideyoshi in 1591 and besieged Sanuma Castle, where Kimura Yoshikiyo, the local lord and his son Kiyohisa barricaded themselves. Having received the order to put down the rebellion by Hideyoshi, Date Masamune marched onto the castle and saved the Kimura’s. Gojinbayama is where he set up his base camp at this battle.
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2007/6/22


旧和田宿本陣 Kyu-wadajuku-honjin Old Wadajuku Honjin

Jp En

Wadajuku Honjin was honjin (the inn for the nobility and daimyo) of Wadajuku post station on the Nakasendo Road. Located at the entrance to the Wada Pass, which was the hardest chokepoint on the Nakasendo Road at the time, most travelers stayed at this post town before climbing up to Wada Pass.

Wadajuku honjin was constructed in 1861, but destroyed by fire in the same year. In this year, however, the procession of Princess Kazunomiya was to stay at Wadajuku on her journey to Edo, where she was going to be married to the 14th Tokugawa Shogun. Consequently, money was lent from the Shogunate and the honjin was reconstructed in as short a time as four months.

After the Meiji Restoration, the system of honjin was abolished, but the building had been used as the town hall until 1984, when the town office moved to another place and the building was to be dismantled. However, its historical and architectural values were acknowledged and the building was rebuilt after dismantling. Presently, only the residence of the proprietor has been restored and preserved. Wadajuku is one of the few post stations where such a large-scale honjin remains to the present day.
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旧日野宿本陣 Kyu-hinojuku-honjin Old Hinojuku Honjin

Jp En

Old Hinojuku honjin is the only honjin (the inn for the nobility and daimyo) building existing in Tokyo today. The original building was destroyed by fire on New Yea’s Day in 1849. What remains today was rebuilt by the proprietor of honjin and Nanushi (village officer), Sato Hikogoro. The construction works took as long as ten years until 1863. He lived here and reopened honjin in December, 1864. Keenly aware of importance of self-policing at the time of the fire, he enrolled at Tennen Rishin-ryu swordsmanship school. Being conferred full mastership later, he opened a dojo at home, where the members of the Shinsengumi including Kondo Isami, the commander, and Okita Soshi, the captain of the 1st unit, dropped in and practiced kendo on their way to Kyoto. There remains a room where Hikogoro’s younger brother in law, Ichimura Tetsunosuke was provided shelter after he visited Hikogoro to hand him the picture and a personal memento of Hijikata Toshizo, the deputy leader of the Shinsengumi. Old Hinojuku honjin is a historically important place not only as a honjin building but also as the place with many other roles.
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2007/6/21


御油宿 Goyu-juku Goyu-juku

Jp En

Goyu-juku was the 35th of the 53 post stations of the Tokaido Road in the Edo period (1603-1686). It was in current Goyu-cho, Toyohashi City, Aichi Prefecture. It is confirmed that the vermillion-seal letter to order the requisitioning of horses for official use was issued to this town in 1601, from which we know Goyu-juku was established in the same year as the Tokaido Road was built. According to this vermillion-seal letter, the towns of Goyu and Akasaka should form one post station altogether, for which reason there were four Honjins at the maximum and two at least.

Located at the interchange point of the Tokaido Road and the Hime Kaido Road (the popular name for the Honzaka Kaido), Goyu-juku and Akasaka-juku thrived as entertainment centers in the area. In Ando Hiroshige’s Ukiyoe painting, the scene of meshimori onna (rice serving woman at inns and also prostitutes) competing each other to capture the travelers is depicted. In fact, it is said that there was a fierce rivalry in winning customers between Goyu-juku and Akasaka-juku, which was only 1.7 km away and became an independent post town later.

Presently, the row of pine trees called “Goyu no Matsu-namiki” remains along the ancient road between Goyu and Akasaka.
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坂下宿 Sakashita-juku Sakashita-juku

Jp En

Sakashita-juku was the 47th of the 53 post stations of the Tokaido Road in the Edo period (1603-1868). It was located in the western part of present Kameyama City in Mie Prefecture and at the eastern foot of Suzuka Pass, which was in the border of present Mie and Shiga Prefectures and was a famous choke point of the Tokaido Road, being ranked with Hakone Pass.

The post town was originally located near Katayama Shrine right at the foot of the pass. However, as the town was destroyed by the avalanche of rocks and earth caused by the flood of 1650, it was moved to the present place. With a large inns including the honjin (exclusive to daimyo and nobilities) and the sub-honjin lining along the road, the town was so thriving as to be sung in a magouta (packhorse driver’s song), which meant “Otakeya, the honjin, is too prestigious for us, commoners, but I wish I could stay at Kotakeya, the sub-honjin, at least.”

Once, Ando Hiroshige, a famous Ukiyoe painter in the Edo period, painted a picture of the town after the relocation. In this picture, Hiroshige successfully expressed the steepness of Mt. Fudesuteyama (literally meaning “giving up a paint brush mountain”), which had been named after the episode that a master painter of the Muromachi period (1336-1573), Kano Motonobu, threw away his painting brush because he could not express the beauty of the mountain.
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