NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/12/14


袱紗 Fukusa Fukusa

Jp En

Fukusa is a silk square cloth used to cover a gift during a formal presentation. Originally, it was put on the box containing a precious gift to prevent it from getting dusty. Today, however, it is an indispensable item on a formal gift-giving occasion.
In the Edo period (1603-1868), when gift-giving became a part of the social custom, elaborately decorated pieces of fukusa were made. The motifs such as Takasago, Chinese phoenix, a treasure ship and the rising sun were used for fukusa for auspicious occasions. The person who presents a gift puts fukusa on the gift box with all his/her heart.
In a formal fukusa, the front side displays the family crest, while the back is decorated with pictures, but the one with the family crest alone is the most favored today. Fukusa is a part of Japanese culture that places emphasis on courtesy. It has been cherished and preserved from generation to generation in a family.
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2007/9/11


鳳鳴四十八滝 Houmei-shijuuhattaki The Homei Shijuhattaki Falls

Jp En

The Homei Shijuhattaki (Forty-eight) Falls is on the upstream of the Hirose River, which runs through Wakaba-ku in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. Water flows down the terraced rocky slopes one after another, forming a basin on every stage. The largest flow was once called “the Bomeki-no-taki Waterfall.” The origin of its name “Homei (Phoenix’s Cry)” is obscure, but there are several theories. One theory states that it was because the overlapping sounds of the waterfall sounded like a cry of a Chinese phoenix.

Off the road from National Route 48, the waterfall is surrounded with densely grown trees. As the waterfall flows at the bottom of the sheer cliffs, only the cool sound of flowing water can be heard from the hiking trail. If you want to see the whole picture of the waterfall, you have to pluck up the courage to lean forward and look down.

The upper part of the waterfall consists of several stages, each of which has a large basin. You will never get tired of looking at the water flowing from one basin down to another, creating the flow of white bubbles. There is a legend that, once upon a time, a heavenly maiden descended from the sky and danced beside the waterfall. Looking at the beautiful flow of water, you might think that it really happened.
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2007/6/15


妙義神社 Myougi-jinja Myogi Shrine

Jp En

Myogi Shrine is located in Myogi-machi, Tomioka City, Gunma Prefecture. The enshrined deities are Yamato Takeru no Mikoto, Toyouke no Okami and Sugawara no Michizane. It was founded in 537 at the foot of Mt. Hakuun, one of the peaks composing Mt. Myogi. The shrine had been worshipped by warriors as well as by the common people in the area. It was also deeply respected by the successive generations of the Shogun during the Edo period (1603-1868).

The present black-lacquered main hall in Irimoya-zukuri style with a copper roof and the Karamon and Somon gates with copper roofs were built in 1758. These structures are designated as national Important Cultural Properties. The elaborate carvings of dragons and Chinese phoenixes given to the buildings are said to have been done by the sculptor that worked for Nikko Toshogu Shrine.

The annual festivals are held on April 15th and October 15th. The over 200-year-old weeping cherry trees are in full bloom around the spring festival and the precinct is covered with red leaves around the autumn festival. As it was believed that Tengu lived in Mt. Myogi, visitors can get Tengu talismans at the shrine.
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