Namura Shrine in Ayado in Ryuo Town, Shiga Prefecture, is a historic shrine and a treasure trove of cultural properties since most of the structures of the shrine are nationally designated as either a National Treasure (NT) or an Important Cultural Property (ICP). The origin of the shrine is not clear, but, as many Kofun (ancient Imperial tombs) have been discovered in the area, it is considered that this shrine was originally founded to enshrine the spirits of ancestors.
The Romon gate (ICP) has the impressively huge thatched roof. The wooden statue of Fudo Myoo (ICP) is enshrined in the Fudo Hall in the precinct, which is the reminder of Shinbutsu Shugo (the fusion of Shinto and Buddhism) practiced until the end of the Edo period (1868).
The main hall, Nishi-Honden (NT), was constructed in 969 to enshrine the deity Kunisazuchi no Mikoto, who had resided in Mt. Kongo in Yoshino in Yamato province (present-day Nara Prefecture). The old shrine located on the opposite side of the road is the east shrine, Higashi Honden (ICP), which enshrines Okuninushi no Mikoto and Susanoo no Mikoto.
Namura Shrine is the head shrine of all the branch shrines in 33 adjacent villages; hereby the Grand Autumn Festival is held once every 33 years.
An old vernacular house of honbyakusho (a titled peasant), built in the middle of the Edo period (1603-1868), is preserved in the precinct of Kozoji Temple in Kakuda City, Miyagi Prefecture.
It is a rectangular building, 14.9 m wide and 7.8 m deep, with a hipped roof that descends from the ridge on four sides of the building. The roof has a smoke control opening with a comb-shaped bargeboard.
As was typical to a farmer’s house in this region, there is no partition between the living room and Doma (the earth-floored space). The pillars are made of thick and unfinished lumbers, supported by the Torii-date construction (the old architectural style using struts).
The Sato family was called by their hereditary house name “Kurumaya.” It is said that a Shugendo practitioner had lived in this house before the Sato family. The house was relocated to its present location in 1972 and was designated as an important cultural property by the prefecture.
An old farm house built in the middle of the Edo period (1603-1868) is preserved in Jusanzuka Park in Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture. It is a standard farm house of the time.
The house has a hipped roof that descends from the ridge on four sides of the building. As was typical to a farmer’s house in this region, the floor is divided evenly into four rooms, which is called the Natori-style floor planning. There is no partition between the rooms and Doma (the earth-floored space). The ridge is supported by three pillars respectively called Ushimochi-bashira, Hoito-bashira and Yomekakushi-bashira, which are made of unfinished lumbers. The pillars create simple but stately atmosphere, typically felt in the Tohoku region.
The house was lived by some family until 1973. It was designated as an Important Cultural Property by the national government in 1974, and after the repair work conducted from 1975 to 1976, it was relocated to its present location. It is a precious historical property that brings the life of farmers in the Edo period to the present day.
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.
Chimanji Temple located in Kawane-Honcho, Haibara-gun, Shizuoka Pref. is a historic temple of the Soto sect Buddhism. The principal object of worship are Hasso Shakamuni Nyorai (the eight aspects of Shakamuni), Hokan Shakamuni Nyorai (crowned Shakamuni), Senju Kanzeon Bosatsu (Kannon with 1,000 arms) and Yakuyoke Enmei Jizo Bosatsu (life prolonging Jizo).
According to the temple record, it originates in a hermitage built by Kochi, a second generation student of Priest Ganjin, in the Nara period (710-794). Some say that it was founded as an attached temple of Chimanji Temple in Shimada City to teach priests of the Tendai sect. After the mid-Heian period, it was flourished as a training ashram for mountain practitioners. In 1491, the temple sect was changed to the Soto sect and a Zen monk Kaifu Keimon of Dokeiin Temple in Suruga province was invited as the first resident priest of the new temple. During the Warring States period (1493-1573), the temple was revered by the Imagawa and Tokugawa clans.
Located in a scenic place with refreshing air, the temple is proud of its fine groves in the precinct including ten cedar trees of 800 to 1,200 years old, which are nationally designated Natural Monuments.
Sasaki Shrine in Azuchi Town, Shiga Prefecture, was founded to enshrine the family god of Sasaki Yamakimi, a local ruler of this area during the Kofun period (3rd century-6th century). After the middle of the Heian period (794-1192), the shrine was faithfully protected by the Sasaki clan, who were descended from Emperor Uda by his grandson Minamoto no Masanobu. Minamoto no Nariyori, great-grandson of Masanobu, is the first who took the name of Sasaki from his domain where this shrine is located.
The Romon gate is a beautiful two-story gate with thatched roof. The woodwork under the eaves is especially beautiful. It follows the architectural style of the Heian to Kamakura periods, but was reconstructed in 1747 in the middle of the Edo period.
Honden (the main hall) is a 5-bay flowing style building with copper roof. It was constructed in 1848 together with Haiden (the oratory), which is a large and spacious building. The 8 large-sized wooden buildings including Honden, Haiden and Gonden were prefecturally designated as cultural properties in 1990.
In May, visitors can enjoy viewing white and cute blossoms of Chinese Fringetrees and Arisaema urashima, a subspecies of Japanese cobra lily with the tip of the spadix ending in a long whip. Its Japanese name “Urashima-so” alludes to a folktale about a fisherman named Urashima Taro; the very long whip on its spadix is thought to resemble a fishing line.
This old house of the Mitobe family in Historical Museum of Hokkaido in Date City is the oldest existing house of a farmer who moved from the Sendai domain (present-day Miyagi Prefecture) and was engaged in the development of the land in Hokkaido. It was nationally designated as an Important Cultural Property in 1971.
The house was built at the time of their settlement in 1872 by a carpenter from Watari in the Sendai domain. It was a house in Yosemune-zukuri style with thatched roof and has two rooms and the doma (the earth floor space). The traditional wood joinery techniques typical of the Sendai area in those days are employed and no nails were used.
Built almost at the same time as the construction of Tondenhei barracks, this old house is a precious historic site that tells us of the development history of Date City.
The old house of the Sanbyakuda family in Wakasa Kyodo-Bunka-no-Sato Park in Tottori Prefecture was a house of a village head, the Sanbyakuda family. It was originally located in the village of Yoshikawa in Wakasa Town but was relocated to and reproduced in this park. The old record shows that the house was constructed in 1694 and it took 819 workers more than one year to complete the construction.
The house is built in the Irimoya-zukuri style with a thatched roof with 7.5 bays wide and 4 bays deep, which was typical to the Inaba area (present-day the eastern part of Tottori Prefecture). It has three rooms, each of which faces the doma (earth floor) space.
Highly elaborate techniques such as the planer finish on the surface of the pillars indicate that the house was built by the carpenter specialized in building temples and shrines in Banshu area (present-day the southern part of Hyogo Prefecture).
Local lumbers were processed to be used for the main beams and sleepers under the floor. The wooden ornament added to the ridge of the thatched roof, which is typical to the old houses in the Chugoku region, gives a stately impression, which is befitting to the village head.