NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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瑞巌寺 御成門、中門 Zuigaan-ji Onari-mon,Naka-mon The Onari-mon and Naka-mon Gates at Zuiganji Temple

Jp En

Zuiganji Temple in Matsushima Town, Miyagi Prefecture, is a temple of the Rinzai sect and is known as a family temple of the Date clan. It was founded in 828 by Jikaku Daishi En’nin, a high-ranked priest in the Heian period. Its formal name is Matsushima Shoryuzan Zuigan Enpuku Zenji. It is also called Matsushima-dera.  

The present temple buildings were completed in 1609 after the 5-year construction work. It is said that Date Masamune invited 130 excellent carpenters from all over the country to build this temple. The main hall, the Onari entrance, the corridor and Kuri (the priests’ quarters) are designated as National Treasures. The Onari-mon and Naka-mon Gates and the Taikobei wall are nationally designated Important Cultural Properties.

The Onari-mon Gate is a Yakuimon-styled stately structure with a tiled roof in the Irimoya-zukuri (hip and gabled) style, while the Naka-mon Gate in front of the main hall is a simple four-legged gate with a Kokera-buki (thin wooden shingles) roof. It has no walls to connect the legs. The white clay wall is Taikobei, or “drum wall,” which is a double wall that consisted of two separate walls between which earth, sand and stones were placed.

The palm trees respectively producing white and red flowers stand on both sides of the Naka-mon Gate. They are called “Garyubai (Lying Dragon Palm)” from their appearance. It is said that Date Masamune brought them back from Korea. They come into bloom in the middle of April.
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宇佐神宮 Usa-jingu Usa Shrine

Jp En

Usa Shrine, a National Treasure, is the mother shrine of the 40,000 Hachiman shrines located all over the country. The shrine stands, along with Ise Shrine, as the two main shrines of the Imperial Court, and was built in its current location in the year 725 during the Nara period.

The structure of Usa Shrine was rebuilt from 1855 through 1861 and was restored in 1985. The shrine features crimson pillars, white walls and uses Japanese cedar bark. The inner structure and the outer structure are of Kiritsuma-style roofing and between them, a gold-colored rain trough, more often known as the Golden Trough of Usa, runs through.

The architecture of Usa Shrine is representative of Hachiman-style architecture. Apart from the religious structures, there are countless ancient remains and graves excavated here, along with remains of the airstrip and aircraft hangars of the Usa Naval Air Corp used during World War II. Here, at Usa Shrine, history from ancient to modern times can be felt.
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