Daishoji is located in today's Kaga city in Ishikawa Prefecture. This was once a thriving castle town within the highly productive million-koku branch domain of the Kaga Domain.
Daishoji is a place where history and tradition live. The streets still retain a mellow and relaxed atmosphere evocative of the Edo period. At the base of the Kinjo mountain castle are the old Zen and Nichiren Buddhist temples standing side by side. Visitors come all year round to see the historical sites here.
Among the temples, Jisshouin is famous throughout Japan for its beautiful wisteria. The gilt-painted shoji screens are also magnificent. Choryu-Tei pavilion and garden, located in the grounds of the Enuma Shrine and once part of the mansion of Daishoji's 3rd lord, seem to imitate the Kenrokuen garden. Here the elaborate and detailed drawing room and tea room are interesting. This garden is designated as an important national asset.
When Mori Nagatsugu, the second clan lord of Tsuyama, founded Shuraku Garden, he invited a landscape gardener from Kyoto to design it.
Shuraku Garden is a pond cloister style garden created between 1655 and 1658. The garden was modeled on the Sento Imperial Palace in Kyoto. The lake portrays the sea and, with its view of islands, its reflection of islands in the lake and the seasonal beautiful sights, it has a Kyoto-style sophistication.
At the time of its creation, it covered some 75900㎡, which is about three times more than its present site. It was originally used as a leisure garden for the clan lord. Apparently, the Tsuyama clan did not invite outsiders into the castle, for security reasons, but did allow them into the garden; thus it was called 'place for encounters'.
The garden changes color in spring with the cherry blossoms and in autumn with the fall foliage, always creating something interesting for the visitor's eyes.
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.
Okayama Korakuen is one of Japan's three major gardens, as well as a National Special Place of Scenic Beauty. It is located in Okayama city, Okayama prefecture.
The 2nd Okayama domain head, Ikeda Tsunamasa, ordered his chief retainer, Tsuda Nagatada, to build the garden. The garden has not changed much since that time.
The center of the garden is Enyo-tei, where the domain head entertained guests. Okayama Castle and the circumjacent mountains form a backdrop to the garden scenery. Grass, ponds, miniature hills and trees are disposed around the vast grounds which are some 130,000m2 in area.
As you walk along the garden paths, the scenery unfolds before you just like a picture scroll.
Nijyozan Mountain, despite its low altitude, is the most historic mountain in all of Nara Prefecture, and is located between the Ikoma Mountain range and the Katsuragi Mountain range.
If you look at it from the Osaka Prefecture side, it resembles the shape of a camel's back. The Odake (Male Mountain), which has an altitude of 517m, and the Medake (Female Mountain), with an altitude of 474m, are the two round mountain peaks which make up the Nijyozan.
At the summit of the Odake is the grave of Prince Otsu (poet and son of Emperor Temmu), who was executed on the suspicion of rebellion. Some people may know the Manyoushu (Song of Ten Thousand Leaves), which Princess Ookuno composed in memory of her younger brother. The song 'Utsusomino-Hitonaruwareya-Asuyoriwa-Nijyouzanwo-Otoutoyotowagamimu' describes the princess's feelings of pain and sadness for her brother.
The Nijyozan is currently being prepared to become a Natural Park called the Manyou-no-Mori ('forest of ten thousand leaves'). Besides mountain climbing, people can enjoy touring of historic sites, such as the cave temples dating to the Nara period and stone monuments inscribed with tanka poems from the Manyoushu.
On holidays, the Nijyozan is full of visitors who have come to enjoy a pleasant stroll.
In the Edo period, Kaga was a castle town. Around Naga Town there still remain houses that middle and low class samurais lived in.
The earthen walls, water drainage channels and stone paved alleys remind you of the old days. In particular, the earthen walls of the samurai houses used Tomuro stone which was also used in the consruction of Kanazawa Castle. These stones add to the atmosphere of the area. People actually live in these houses, too, which makes them seem even more real.
The district of Samurai houses has complicated paved stone alleys and much the same mood as the old castle town. Walking along, you will feel as if you were living in the Edo period.
Among the interesting places to visit are Nomura house, open to everyone, and Saihitsu-an, where you can see demonstrations of Kaga-Yuzen dyeing. Voluntary guides are always stationed at the resting places and they can provide information about the samurai houses and so on.
It is unbelievable that the district is just next to Korinbo, a busy modern shopping street. In comparison, Naga Town gives you a good sense of history.