Eifukuji Temple is known as the site of the kofun (tomb) of Prince Shotoku. It is one of the New Saigoku Pilgrimage of 33 Temples, which was newly selected based on Prince Shotoku’s idea of “harmony” as a priority over all other virtues. In 724, after the death of the prince, the emperor Shomu ordered to build a temple to repose the soul of Prince Shotoku. The temple was burned down by the attack of Nobunaga Oda during the Warring States period, but it was rebuilt by Hideyoshi Toyotomi. If you go up the stone steps, you will see the South Gate. Walk through the gate, and then you will see the houtou (a treasure pagoda), the main hall, and the Shoryo-den (a memorial hall of Prince Shotoku) on your left. In the back of the precinct is the Prince Shotoku’s tomb. Shoryo-den is a designated Important Cultural Property. The principal image worshipped inside is said to be Prince Shotoku’s life-size statue when he was 16. It is said to have been placed in the ancient Imperial Palace in Kyoto but donated to this temple by the emperor Gotoba in 1187. Around the temple there are a lot of places associated with Prince Shotoku. You will be impressed by the length of the history all through which people have paid respect for the Prince.
Kiyosu Castle, located in Kiyosu, Aichi Prefecture, was established by Shiba Yoshishige in 1405.
Kiyosu Castle was a center of resistance for the 'Tenka Fubu'. In 1478, it became a center of Owari province. After the death of Oda Nobunaga, Oda Nobukatsu became lord of the castle until he was ousted by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and replaced by Fukuyama Masanori.
Soon after the Battle of Sekigahara, the Tokugawa family took control of the castle. When Nagoya Castle was founded in 1609, Kiyosu's importance was reduced and the castle was abandoned.
The castle standing today in Kiyosu is a copy built in 1989. Even though it is not located on the site of the former castle, it remains an important symbol for Kiyosu.
There are two towns in Usa: Usa-cho that has the Usa Shrine, and Yokkaichi-cho. In Yokkaichi-cho, there are two large temples: the Shingon Otani school of Buddhism Yokkaichi branch temple and Jyodoshinshu Honganji school of Buddhism Yokkaichi branch temple.
As seen, Usa used to be a temple town. The latter was a central temple of Jyodoshinshu in the Kyushu area. The former was established in 1562 and was called Ohigashisan. It burned down once in 1868, but was reconstructed in 1889. The original huge gate, however, has survived and stands today. Combined, the two temples form the largest wooden architecture in Japan.
Old Daijoin Garden consists of the traces of a garden at Daijoin Temple in Nara Prefecture.
In the first year of the Kanji period (1087), Daijoin was built as a Monzeki temple of Kofukuji, one of the seven major Nanto temples. In the fourth year of the Jisho period (1180), it was burnt down during the attack on Nara by Taira-no-Shigehira. It was subsequently renovated at its present place. In the third year of the Hotoku period (1451), it was burnt down again, but Jinson, a monk of Daijoin, rebuilt it and it was Zeami who made a garden at that time.
Daijoin Garden remained as the best garden in Nanto until the end of the Edo period. In the Meiji period, because of the government's oppression of Buddhism, it disappeared. In 1909, the site was reused as part of the Nara Hotel.
Now, the garden is being renovated and you can see some parts of it at the Daijoin Garden Museum, to the south of the garden.
Bicchu Kokubunji is a temple that has been designated as a National Historical Relic Site. It is situated in Soja district, Okayama Prefecture.
Also, Bicchu Kokubunji was built at the Emperor's behest in the Nara period. However, the original temple was destroyed by fire in the Nanboku-chō period. The present structure was rebuilt in the mid-Edo period. The Sangharama, or monastery, was built after the reconstruction. The five-storeyed pagoda is a famous site of Kibiji and Okayama Prefecture. The pagoda has been designated as an important cultural asset. It took over 20 years to build beginning in 1821 and demonstrates the wealth that the country of Bicchu had back then.
As part of the restoration of the once grand and prestigious Kanazawa Castle, the Gojikken Armory was reconstructed in July 2001.
The Gojikken Armory connects the Hashizume Gate Suzuki Turret to the Hishi Turret, and is two storeys high. These structures were originally built for defending the Ninomaru (Second Building) during wars, which is why they are lined with 'sea cucumber' tiles and white-washed plaster, which help in defence. Additionally, the barred windows had openings for muskets to be fired from, and there were trapdoors in the floor for dropping boulders onto the enemy below.
The Gojikken Armory was used for storing weapons at that time. The building covers a total area of 1894.25m2 and is the largest wooden castle structure in Japan to be built after the Meiji period. Including the time used for research, the whole reconstruction took no less than 3 years and 4 months to complete.
Kaminoyama Castle is located in the center of Kaminoyama City, Yamagata Prefecture. The other name for this castle is Tsukioka Castle. The castle stands on a hill and is a symbol of the castle town, Kamiyama, as much as the rich nature of Tsukioka Park.
Kaminoyama Castle has a long history: in 1528, the Koyanagawa Clan was vanquished by Buei Yoshitada, who then built this castle in 1535. In 1692, the castle was dismantled by the then government, but it was reconstructed in 1982.
The castle features a three-storey tower and is beloved for its small size and beauty. Rebuilt after 290 years, it is now a historical museum exhibiting information about Kaminoyama's history, industry and culture. There is an observation deck at the top of the castle tower from where you can see the Zao Mountains and the city of Kaminoyama.
Yukio Okuyama is a traditional craftsman who makes Ainu carvings of animal figures from wood: horses, deer and salmon, for example. Okuyama is a brilliant craftsman and a member of the Hokkaido Utari Association. He also has won first prize in competitions such as the Hokkaido Ainu Crafts Competition (Hokkaido Governor Award). His outstanding abilities can be seen not only in his carvings, but also in his studies and research into Ainu Culture. Now he is working on the restoration of a traditional Ainu boat called ‘Itaomachippu’, which was used for fishing and transport . For the restoration, delicate and sophisticated skill is needed. Firstly, it is because the boards for the boat need to be bent to the correct shape by careful burning and secondly, the boat is constructed entirely without nails. Okuyama praises the skills of the Ainu culture, and he is making great efforts to preserve them. Yukio Okuyama, being a traditional craftsman, also takes orders for woodcarvings like tables and alcove posts.