Kaminoseki Bansho is the old guard station located in Nagashima, Kaminoseki-cho, Yamaguchi Prefecture. The guard station was established by the local government to keep an eye on ports and inspect shipping cargo during Edo era.
Because there are very few remnants of buildings preserved from the administrative arm at the beginning of Edo era, Kaminoseki Bansho is of significant importance. It was moved from inside the port where it was once located to its current address in 1996 and reconstructed as it looked originally.
The western side of the Setonaikai Inland Sea had several guard stations for cargo inspection and the region, currently Yamaguchi Prefecture, wasn’t exceptional. They had three stations which were called, in order of distance from the capital, “kaminoseki”, “nakanoseki” and “Shimonoseki” respectively.
Kaminoseki guard station has an overall length of 11.66m and width of 3.86m. It is a wooden building with Irimoya tile roof style and has “geya” (a lower roof) on all sides. The station is designated as a tangible cultural asset by the prefecture.
Zenpukuin Temple is an old and distinguished temple located in Kainan City, Wakayama prefecture. This temple was originally one of the five sub-temples of Kofukuji Temple, which was built in 1214 by the Zen priest Eisai. Kofukuji Temple, which was once a flourishing temple with the formal seven main buildings, fell into ruin with its sponsor having gone bankrupt. After that it was converted to Shingon Sect and repaired some of the buildings. In the Edo period, when the area became a part of the Kishu domain, it converted again to Tendai Sect. The three of the five sub-temples had remained until the Meiji period, but only Zenpukuin Temple remains to the present time. Shakamuni Hall in Yosemune-zukuri style (a square building) covered with a double hipped roofs and standing on the Ransekizumi podium (made of natural stones piled up in a random fashion) is designated as a National Treasure. Its Yosemune-zukuri style with a tile roof and the construction method using Heiko-darugi (rafters laid parallel to each other from the ridge) are considered as the typical examples of Zen architectural elements in the late Kamakura period, which can also be seen in Shariden at Engakuji Temple in Kamakura and Buddha Hall at Kozanji Temple in Yamaguchi.
One of the three largest production areas for roof tiles (kawara) in Japan is Sanshuu in Aichi Prefecture. It is believed that tile-production started here in about 588. According to records, there is information that kawara craftsmen existed at that time.
Sanshuu became a tile-production area in 1700 because clay could easily be brought in from the nearby towns of Anjo, Toyota and Seto. Furthermore, Sanshuu's position in the center of Japan meant that tiles could be transported easily to other parts of the country.
There are three major types of tiles: ibushi, yuuyaku, mu-yuuyaku and shioyaki. The tiles are fired for a period of between 13 and 16 hours. The length of the firing ensures that the tiles are tough. In the past. the firing process was carried out manually, but today electric kilns are used. These days, with the rise in environmental awareness, new tiles suited for recycling and for solar panels have been developed.
The residence of the Kuchiba family, who acted as Yorigumi (a quasi-principal retainer) of the Choshu domain during the Edo period, is preserved in its original form in Horiuchi Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings located in Hagi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Among the residence of high-ranked warriors in this district, the Kuchiba family’s residence is relatively old and it is a precious historic site as one of the small number of warriors’ residences preserved in the country. The main building and Omote-mon (the front gate) are nationally designated Important cultural Properties.
The main building is supposed to have been built from the late 18th to the early 19th centuries. It is in the kirizuma-style (a house with a gable roof) with sangawarabuki (with base tiles) and has a protruding wing in the Irimoya-style. Characteristically, the innermost room has the adjacent room called “ai-no-ma,” where guardsmen stationed to protect the master.
The front gate is a long roofed-gate with a width of 22.2 m and a depth of 4.9 m. It is built in the Irimoya-style with hongawarabuki (with formal tiles), the front side of which is plastered with white clay and has beautiful sea slug walls covering its lower part. It is said that this magnificent gate had been used for the domain lord’s manor in Edo before being relocated to this place. It is the largest existing gate of a warrior’s residence in the city.
Gokokuzan Tokoji Temple is an Obaku Zen temple founded by Egyoku, a renowned priest from Hagi, in 1691 with the patronage of the 3rd lord of the Choshu domain, Mori Yoshinari. Together with Daishoin Temple, it had been a family temple of the successive lords of the domain.
The two-floor, two-story Sanmon Gate, or also called Gedatsumon (Nirvana Gate), is worth seeing. It was dedicated by the 10th lord Narihiro in 1812. The gate is in Irimoya style with hongawarabuki (with formal tiles), atop of which has hoju (a ball-shaped ornament) with roban (the box-like base structure) for lightening protection. The gate is made of zelkova lumbers, which are joined together without nails. The statues of Birushana Buddha and 18 Rakans are housed on the 2nd floor. The gate as a whole is in almost perfect accordance with the Chinese architectural style.
The temple buildings in the Obaku Zen architectural style are laid out to represent a dragon. The temple is known for possessing a lot of historic treasures, which include Japanese painting by the Unkoku school artists and wooden plaques of mokugaku (a prefecturally designated Tangible Cultural Property), churen, and bohai. In the precinct are the graves of the eleven brave Sonno Joi extremists who were executed in the prison in Hagi and those of Kinno warriors who worked to establish a return of imperial rule. In A lot of people visit the temple for Mantoe (the lantern festival) held in August at the two family temples of the Mori clan, Daishoin Temple and Tokoji Temple, where the illuminated stone lanterns create a mysterious atmosphere.
Shokasonjuku Academy is where Yoshida Shoin, a distinguished intellectual in the Choshu domain, ran a private academy in the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate. It is designated as a National Historic Site.
It is a one-storied small wooden house with an area of only 50 sq m. Originally, it only had an 8-mat lecture room. With the increase in the number of disciples, a 4.4-mat room, two 3-mat rooms, the doma (earth-floored space) and a mezzanine floor were added by the hands of Shoin and his disciples.
In 1842, Bunnoshin Tamaki, Shoin’s uncle, founded a small academy in his house. Later it was discontinued for a while but Gorozaemon Kubo, Shoin’s another uncle, repaired the barn into a lecture room and resumed the academy. Then in 1857, Shoin took it over and developed many youths.
He treated his disciples equally regardless of the social status. Most of his disciples were sons of low-ranked warriors. Though he taught at the academy for less than three years, his disciples absorbed his ideas and played key roles in bringing about the Meiji Restoration. His disciples include Takasugi Shinsaku, Kusaka Genzui, Yamagata Aritomo, Ito Hirofumi and Shinagawa Yajiro.
The residence of the Kuroda family located in Shimo-Hirakawa, Kikugawa City, Shizuoka Pref. is a nationally designated Important Cultural Property. The Kuroda family was a warrior clan descended from the Genji (Minamoto) line. In the Eiroku era (1558-1570), Kuroda Yoshiie moved to the village of Shimo-Hirakawa in Enshu province (present-day Shizuoka Pref.). In the late Edo period, when a Hatamoto (direct retainer of Shogun), Honda Sukehisa, was feoffed the area including Shimo-Hirakawa, he appointed the Kuroda clan as the local governor. After the Meiji Restoration, the generations of the Kuroda family served as village mayor and town mayor and contributed to the development of this area.
The main building of the residence is built in Yosemune-zukuri with a pantiled (sangawara-buki) roof. There is a formal shikidai (a low board step) in the entrance hall. Elaborate artifice befitting to the status of the mayor can be seen everywhere inside the residence. The nagaya-mon gate in Yosemune-zukuri with a thatched roof is said to be 250 years old. The building shows the typical architectural style of the local governor’s residence in the late Edo period.
Kokuzenji Temple located at the foot of Mt. Futaba to the north of Hiroshima Station was founded in 1340 by the priest Gyonin, who became pupil of Nichizo, one of Nichiren’s apprentices. The temple was originally named Gyoninji Temple. It is said that the temple was fronting the sea in those days. “Tousatsu (the wooden plate staked to a building’s ridgepole stating details of the construction)” shows that the main hall was built in 1671. This dignified building is in Yosemunezukuri style with double roofs, in which no bracket complex (“kumimono” in Japanese) is used except in the step canopy. It is very unique that the space housing the altar protrudes from the backside of the building, the roof of which is in Shikorobuki style (a hip-and gable roof on separate panels).