NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/2/18


大笹原神社 Oosasahara-jinja Osasahara Shrine

Jp En

Osasahara Shrine is a very old shrine founded in 986. As the place where the god of water resides, it is visited by a lot of worshippers. Susanoo no Mikoto, Kushinada-hime and other 3 deities are enshrined.

Assembling the cream of the gorgeous Higashiyama Culture, Honden (the main hall) was constructed in 1414 during the Muromachi period. Though small in size, elaborate decoration is given to every detailed part of this Irimoya-zukuri building. The transom and doors are also beautiful. It was designated as a National Treasure in 1961.

To the right of the main hall is a bottomless swamp named Yorube-no-ike. It is said that the swamp has been filled with affluent water even though there is a long spell of dry weather since two mikoshi (portable shrines) were sunk into the swamp in hope for rain.

As this area has produced high quality glutinous rice and it is said to be the birthplace of Kagami-mochi, Kagami-no-miya Shrine enshrining the original of Kagami-mochi is located in the shrine precinct.
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2007/9/19


指宿の鏡池 Ibusuki-no-Kagami-ike Kagamiike Pond in Ibusuki

Jp En

Kagamiike Pond is an 8 ha “maar” located in Kaimon Senta in Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture. A maar is a volcanic crater that is caused by a phreatomagmatic eruption, an explosion caused by groundwater coming into contact with magma. The maar typically fills with water to form a relatively shallow crater lake.The name comes from a German dialect, which is derived from Latin mare (sea).

Though large trees around the pond were cut down and the water is not very clear at present, Kagamiike Pond used to be a mirror-like clear pond until the early Showa period (1926-1989). It is said that the view of Mt. Kaimon, or popularly called Satsuma Fuji, reflected on the surface of the pond was really beautiful. Even today, when the conditions are met, you may be able to see the reflected image of Mt. Kaimon.

Not so popular as Lake Ikeda or Unagiike (Eel Pond), Kagamiike Pond is a hidden scenic spot in Ibusuki City.
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2007/4/17


石鎚山古墳群 Ishizuchiyama-kohungun Ishizuchiyama Kofun Group

Jp En

Ishizuchiyama Kofun group is located at the end of the hill on the Kamo River in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture. These kofun are the largest in the area along the Ashida River in the prefecture. The two circular-typed kofun remain today. Kofun No.1, 20 m in diameter, has two vertical chambers inside, while Kofun No.2, 16 m in diameter, has two simple burial pits.
From Kofun No.1, the human bones of a male in the middle age together with magatama (curved beads), iron tools and a Chinese mirror were excavated. The mirror is a tilt-rimmed Nishin Niju Shinjūkyō (the mirror with two deities and two beats), which was made in the Three Kingdoms era of China in the 3rd century. The person burried here is supposed to have been a powerful ruler that could obtain a product from China.
From Kofun No.2, Naiko-Kamonkyo (a mirror decorated with petaloid design) of Han Dynasty was excavated. It is thought that Kofun No.2 was built later than Kofun No.1. Part of the excavared items are displayed at the Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of History and the Hiroshima Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore.
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2007/2/26


毘沙門沼 Bisyamon-numa Bishamon-numa Pond

Jp En

Bishamon-numa Pond is the largest of Goshiki-numa lakes (the five-colored lakes). It is located at 770 m above sea level, has an area of 100,000 m2, and is 13 m deep at the deepest point. The degree of clearness is 4-5 m, which is not very high. The pond looks beautiful white blue on a fine day. The color of the pond changes, ranging from red, blue, green, and cobalt blue to emerald green with the season, the weather, and the position of the sun. The most beautiful is when it looks emerald green, which will dazzle your eyes. The water is strongly acidic. When the sunlight reaches fine particles of aluminum silicate that are deposited at the bottom of the pond, the light is scattered and the color of the pond changes. Also aquatic plants growing in the pond take on greenish color when the water temperature rises. If the sunlight pours onto those plants and the fine particles, the pond looks red or blue. When the water surface is as calm as a mirror, Mt. Bandai and surrounding green or red leaves are reflected on the water, which is very impressive. It is said that the water flows from Ruri-numa Pond, but there is a spring somewhere in this pond itself. The water of this pond flows down into Lake Inawashiro.
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2007/1/25


日生の海 Hinase-no-umi The Sea of Hinase

Jp En

The town of Hinase in Okayama Prefecture is well known among people in the Kansai area for fresh seafood and for fishing.

The most famous specialty of Hinase Harbor is the oyster. The oyster business in Okayama Prefecture is the third largest in Japan, followed by Miyagi and Hiroshima prefectures. At Gomi-no-Ichi ('market of all tastes'), the Fisheries Cooperative Association's market in Hinase town, fish are sold at bargain prices compared with regular markets. Every fish is fresh, making the market very popular not only for locals, but tourists, too. The oysters in particular are known for their size and taste. These oysters can be baked and eaten right there.

The market's name (Gomi-no-Ichi) reflects the abundance of fish available in Hinase Harbor. Numerous varieties of seafood, including shrimp, shore-swimming crab, mantis shrimp, ocellated octopus and sillago can be enjoyed. The marketplace opens around 9 in the morning, but closes once produce is sold out, so it's better to get there early.
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野方遺跡 Nokata-iseki The Ruins of Nokata Village

Jp En

The ruins of Nokata (Nokata Iseki), in Nishi-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture, show the remains of a village dating from the end of the Yayoi period to the Kofun period. The village was located on a long, fan-shaped plateau, which has an altitude of 17m to 20m, and measures 600m from north to south, and 200m east to west.

During the Yayoi period, the village was surrounded by two moats of different sizes. Within the village were smaller 'kango' (a small village surrounded by a moat), with the bigger kango having as many as 10 dwellings. Within the smaller kango were above-ground warehouses, which stored foods such as grain.

By the Kofun Period, there were more than 300 dwellings here. The burial area was very obviously situated away from the residential area. Many artefacts were excavated from the kango, including earthenware, stone implements and ironware, along with a variety of clam shells and bones from animals, birds, and fish, such as shark, bream and sea bass. Also unearthed were stone coffins filled with mirrors, balls, swords, glass balls and beads.

Nokata Iseki is a great place for people to learn about and envision the daily life of people in ancient Japan, and to capture the history and atmosphere of the past.
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2007/1/17


みどりが池 Midorigaike Midoriga Lake

Jp En

Located to the east of Mikuriga Lake, Midoriga Lake is a crater lake on the Murodou plains, which is a lava area surrounded by three mountains: Yuzan, Bessan and Jo-dosan.

Midoriga Lake formed in the crater left by an erupting volcano. At 1.6m deep, the water is quite shallow and rocks on the bottom can be clearly seen.

The transparent water reflects the beautiful scenery of the mountain ranges. The real mountains balanced by their reflected image makes an artistic composition. In seasons when lingering snow or fall foliage can be seen, the beauty of the reflected image increases.

By the sides of the lake, the pathways connecting with Mikuriga Lake and Jigoku valley are filled with hikers and sighteers throughout the year. In this area, there are also many alpine as well as water-loving plants such as Fauria crista-galli and Pedicularis chamissonis var. japonica, which is pretty enough for visitors to enjoy when in flower.
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2007/1/9


京の神祇装束調度品 Kyono-shingishozoku-chodohin Kyoto Ceremonial Objects and Costumes

Jp En

In Kyoto, various ceremonies required the making of special implements and costumes. Ceremonial objects include wooden apparatuses, mirrors, flags, curtains and instruments. Ceremonial costumes include dresses, typical Heian clothing and their accessories.

Some 85% of these ceremonial objects are made in Kyoto. Production proceeds slowly as most objects and costumes are handmade.

Because the imperial court used to be based in Kyoto until the Meiji Restoration, there were a great many different ceremonies, and professionals were needed to make the ceremonial goods. In the Edo period, the Sakamoto family became renowned as craftsmen working at the Ise Shrine. Kyoto craftsmanship was more skilled than elsewhere in Japan, even before the Sakamoto family appeared.

Nowadays, the demand for ceremonial objects is increasing because traditional implements are coming back into favor for use at occasions such as weddings. As a result, more craftsmen are needed and the industry is trying to foster successors.
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