NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/5/11


茂宇気神社 Mouke-jinja Mouke Shrine

Jp En

Mouke Shrine is a historic shrine located in Shikano-cho, Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture. Although when it was originally founded is unknown, it has been called Myoken Daigongen and worshipped by local people as the guardian god of the village since the ancient times. According to the existing “tosatsu,” which is the wooden plate staked to a building’s ridgepole and stating details of the construction, the present shrine building was built in 1492. The shrine was renamed to Mouke Shrine in 1692. Since the word “mouke” can be punned on “moukeru,” meaning “to make a profit” in Japanese, the shrine is now visited by a lot of people in hope of their business success. Though it is located away from the town center and at the top of the 105 stone steps, the shrine is always crowded with visitors from all over the country.
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2007/4/12


廿日市天満宮 Hatsuka-ichi-tenman-guu Hatsukaichi Tenmangu Shrine

Jp En

The shrine is said to have been built in 1233 by Fujiwara no Chikazane, who was appointed as a chief priest of Itsukushima Shrine by the Kamakura Shogunate and came to this province. He transferred the deity of Egara Tenjin Shrine in Kamakura to this place of Mt. Sasao and built the shrine as the guardian god of his family. The present shrine building is the one that was reconstructed in 1889. At the heart of the main hall is the wooden statue of the enshrined deity, Sugawara no Michizane, who is in Ikan-sokutai (the ancient clothes for the officials) with a shaku in his hands and seated on a tatami mat. As the god of study, the shrine is worshipped by a lot of people even today. The annual festival on the 2nd Saturday and Sunday in October is held as the festival dedicated to the city’s guardian god. The town is bustled with a Mikoshi (portable shrine) parade led by a group of yakko (samurai’s servants) carrying keyari (feather-topped lance).
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2007/3/12


長尾神社 Nagao-jinjya Nagao Shrine

Jp En

Nagao Shrine in Nagao, Katsuragi City, Nara Pref. is a shrine that is rich in legend. The enshrined deities are Mihikarihime no Mikoto and Shirakumowake no Mikoto. It is said that this shrine was a guardian god of the Nagao clan, who ruled the area along the ancient Taima Road.
According to a legend, Ryuosha Shrine in Yamato Takada represents the head of a dragon and Nagao Shrine represents its tail. Another legend says Miwa Myojin Shrine the head and the Nagao Shrine the tail of a large snake. The shrine is located in the woods of Nagao, which is the cross point of the Takeuchi Road, Japan’s oldest official road connecting Asukakyo (present-day Nara) and Naniwa (present-day Osaka), the Ise-Hase Road and the Nagao Road.
Dense forest covers most of its 1.3 ha precinct, where visitors will be impressed with the solemn atmosphere. This is the ancient sacred place filled with air of mystery.
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2007/2/14


津島神社 Tsushima-jinjya Tsushima Shrine

Jp En

Tsushima Shrine is located in Tsushima, Aichi Prefecture, and is the headquarters of the Tsushima Shrines in the Chubu region.

In 540, during the period of the Emperor Kinmei, the shrine was called Tsushima-Gozutenno shrine. In 810, the shrine was designated by the Emperor Saga as the best Japanese shrine and today it has about 3000 branch shrines.

During the Warring States period, Oda Nobunaga, who was born in Shobatajo, near Tsushima, worshipped at this shrine and cooperated with construction of the shrine buildings. The Toyotomi family succeeded Oda's faith.

The shrine's elegant main building is in Momoyama-period style and is designated as an Important Cultural Asset.

The buildings face south and there is a large red torii gate at the entrance. Along the approach to the shrine, you will see the south gate. Passing through the gate, you will see a partition wall, which is often seen in big shrines in Aichi.

Tsushima Shrine is also called Gozutenno-san and many people visit here to to worship.
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2007/2/7


春日大社(世界遺産) Kasuga-taisha Kasuga-taisha Shrine

Jp En

Kasuga-taisha Shrine, or Kasuga Grand Shrine, is located inside Nara Park in Nara City, Nara Prefecture. It was formerly known as Kasuga-jinjya, or Kasuga Shrine. Its history dates back 1300 years to Fujiwara Fuhito who founded the shrine as a place to enshrine the Fujiwara clan’s deity.  This followed the relocation of the capital to Heijyoukyou in the Nara period. In 768, the shrine was moved to its present site. As the prosperity of the Fujiwara clan grew, so did the shrine and more buildings were gradually added. By the late Heian period, the shrine complex had already expanded to the scale that is seen today. Since the medieval period, reverence for the Kasuga-taisha Shrine spread among commoners who, over the years, donated stone lanterns which still line the shrine’s entrance path. On February 3rd (Setsubun) and August 14th and 15th  (Obon) every year, the Mantourou Lantern Festival is held and 3,000 of the lanterns in the shrine are lit, enchanting visitors with the fantastic display of light. Kasuga-taisha Shrine is designated as a World Heritage Site and is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.
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2007/1/28


雫石城 Shizukuishi-jou Shizukuishi Castle

Jp En

Shizukuishi castle is said to have been constructed by Tozawa clan of Shizukuishi as a lodgment of the South Imperial Court forces in around 1340 during the Nanboku-cho period. The castle stood at the front edge of the hill in the center of Shizukuishi Basin, which was the strategic spot of traffic for Dewa Province, with the Shizukuishi River running in the south and the Kanizawa River in the east. The four buildings of Honmaru (the main compound), Ninomaru (the second compound), Sannomaru (the third compound), and Nishikaku (the west compound) stood side by side from the east to the west. The size of Honmaru was 90 m east to west and 60 m south to north, fortified with yagenbori (mortar-shaped moat) which was 6 to 12 m wide and 2 to 5 m deep. There is a Hachimangu shrine which enshrines the guardian god of Shiba clan. The castle was attacked and captured by Nobunao Nanbu in 1586, and later abolished under the orders of Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1592.
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2007/1/26


大野楽 Oonogaku Onogaku Performing Art

Jp En

Onogaku is a type of traditional performing art from Ono in Maetsuemachi, Hita, in Oita Prefecture.

Onogaku is said to have begun as a dedication or offering following a drought in 1331. It is also believed to have been performed to celebrate the birth of Hachimandai-Bosatsu (Buddhist god of protection, also known as Emperor Ojin). The exact origins, however, are still unknown.

It is believed that at first, Onogaku was performed as a dedication after drought, a period of rain or an epidemic, but its main purpose is said to be as a prayer for rain. In modern times, however, it is performed as a dedication to Uji-gami (the protective deity of a region) and Oimatsu-tenman-sha in order to wish for a good harvest of the five grains, as a cleansing of plagues and misfortune, and to celebrate the new emperor and his success to the throne. It is also designated as an intangible folk-cultural asset of Oita.

No certain date is fixed to hold Onogaku, but it is usually performed toward the end of October. More than 100 people parade and dance in Onogaku, creating an epic atmosphere that is absolutely gorgeous.
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2007/1/23


伊勢神宮内宮 Isejinguu-Naiku Ise Jingu Inner Shrine

Jp En

Ise Jingu Inner Shrine (Naiku), officially known as Kodai Jingu, is in the center of the precepts of the Ise Grand Shrine, in Mie prefecture. It is sacred to Amaterasu Omikami, the main guardian god of Japan. The god holds the Yatano Mirror, which is one of three sacred national treasures.

While Ise Grand Shrine is the headquarters of the Association of Shinto Shrines, it is handled separately and isn't graded. Kodai Jingu is more commonly known as Naiku, and Toyouke-dai Jingu as Geku. Geku is sacred to Toyouke-no-omikami. In a different way, Tokyo's Meiji Jingu Shrine includes a separate shrine, a sub shrine, a small shrine and a management shrine.

The broad approach to the Naiku is paved with large ballast stones, and lined with cedar trees that are hundreds of years old. The garden is about 93 square meters and it is at the foot of Mt. Kamiji and on the right bank of the Isuzu River.

The shrine was founded some 2000 years ago and today remains a sanctuary and a place of worship for Amaterasu Omikami.
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