NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/1/8


旧取手宿本陣 Kyu-toridejuku-honjin Old Toridejuku Honjin

Jp En

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.
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2007/12/25


小泉八雲旧居 Koizumiyakumo-Kyuukyo Lafcadio Hearn’s Old Residence

Jp En

Lafcadio Hearn, was an Irishman who was a naturalized Japanese and who took the name Koizumi Yakumo.  He is well known as the writer of such books as Kwaidan, which contains ghost stories including Hoichi the Earless and Snow Woman.  Lafcadio Hearn’s Old Residence is the house where he spent half the year, from May through November in 1891, with his new bride Setsu.  Setsu was the daughter of a samurai family from Matsue. The residence has been well preserved and few changes have been made.  It is also known as “Herun’s Old Residence”, Herun being a rendering of his name - Hearn, in Japanese Roman letters.  He loved the name and he often used it himself.
Lafcadio Hearn’s Residence  was originally built for a samurai of the Matsue Clan during the period 1716~1735. It is said that Hearn, eager to live in a samurai house, rented the residence which was unoccupied at that time.    
Hearn especially loved a room from which he could see the garden on three sides.  He enjoyed the garden so much that it was mentioned in his book Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan.
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2007/7/10


千古園 Senko-en Senkoen Garden

Jp En

Senkoen Garden in Ebetsu City, Hokkaido is the site where the residence of Magozaemon Sekiya used to be located. It is the city’s designated historic site and the first cultural property designated by the city. Magozaemon Sekiya was the second-generation president of Hokuetsu Shokuminsha, an organization of pioneer farmers from Niigata Prefecture. In 1918, one year after he died, the farmers volunteered to perform maintenance to the premise and arranged it into the park garden named Senkoen in memory of the pioneer farmers who were devoted themselves to the development of the city. The Doan teahouse was also built at this time.

The name “Senko-en” derives from an episode that when the stone monument inscribed with “Ryukon (meaning that “the spirit will yet remain)” was erected by the villagers who were thankful to Magozaemon’s devoted efforts, he was very pleased and chanted “Senko-no-ku // Ippenn-no-ishi ni // Todomaru (Emptiness of thousand years // stays in // this piece of stone)” when he took a walk around the garden.

A lot of trees including magnolia (Magnolia praecocissima var. borealis), beech, cherry, alder and yew, most of which were planted in those days. Visitors can enjoy viewing beautiful blossoms of cherry and magnolia in spring and crimson foliage in fall.
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2007/6/18


仙台藩白老元陣屋跡 Sendaihan-Shiraoi-motokonya-ato The Former Site of the Sendai Clan Manor House

Jp En

At the end of the Edo period, the Tokugawa Shogunate decided to end its policy of national isolation and took the first step to open the country at last. However, they were cautious about the Russia’s southern expansion and orders several domains in the Tohoku district including the Sendai domain to reinforce the defense of Hokkaido. The former site of Shiraoi Jinya, or the Sendai Clan Manor House, is the ruins of one of the base camps constructed by the Sendai domain in the town of Shiraoi in the western part of Hokkaido.

Shiraoi Jinya was the largest base camp in Hokkaido. The range of defense that the Sendai domain undertook covered a huge area from Shiraoi Town to the northern territories including the islands of Kunashiri (Kunashir) and Etorofu (Iturup), which amounts to one third of Hokkaido. Today, a part of earth works and wooden walls remain as they were in those days. The ruin site is arranged into a fine park, but visitors can feel the breath of warriors who risked their lives in defending the country in the turbulent eras.
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2007/6/15


城下町 小幡 Jouka-machi Obata Castle Town of Obata

Jp En

Obata in Kanra-machi, Kanra-gun, Gunma Prefecture used to be a castle town constructed around Obata Castle, which was built by the Obata clan enfeoffed with 20,000 koku of rice in the late Muromachi period (1336-1573). The town was flourished under the rule of the Warring-States-period powerful warriors including the Obata clan, the Oda clan and the Matsudaira clan. In 1615, Oda Nobukatsu, the second son of Oda Nobunaga, was enfeoffed with this area and became the founder of the Obata domain. The area had been ruled by the eight generations of the Obata clan for 152 years since then.

The reminiscence of the Edo period can be found in this small castle town. The Ogawazeki, a water channel built about 400 years ago, runs through the center of the town and cherry trees border the channel. On the left side of the street along the channel continue the residences with warehouses. The residences of the Edo-period warriors stand on both sides of the Nakakoji Street, which is as wide as 14 m. Their white clay walls are shining brilliantly.

Obata Cherry Festival is held on the 3rd Sunday in April every year. The magnificent parade of warriors wearing the armor and helmet and riding on horses, the gun troop and women warriors goes through the town. The demonstration of firing a harquebus and the performance of Shimonita Arafune Drums can be seen in the festival field.
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2007/2/8


丸毛家下屋敷 Marumouke-shimoyashiki The Marumou Family Lower Mansion

Jp En

The Marumou Family Lower Mansion is the symbol of Usuki, a former castle town. It was once the mansion of a high-ranking samurai who had defined its late-Edo period architectural style.

The Marumou family were samurai of the former Mino clan (in today's Gifu Prefecture), and were once in service to Mitsuhide Akechi. After Mitsuhide was defeated by Hideyoshi Toyotomi during the Battle of Yamazaki in the 10th year of the Tenshou era (1582), the family was homeless for many years.

The family made a comeback in the 5th year of the Kannei era (1628) during the Edo period. Because the first leader of the Usuki clan, Sadamichi Inaba, was related to the Marumou family, they were taken in by them. Soon after, the Marumou family came to reign as one of the highest-ranking samurai families in the Usuki clan.

One of the main characteristics of the Marumou Family Lower Mansion is that the house is completely divided by walls into several parts, including an 'omote' for guests, and an 'oku' for living quarters. Not only individual rooms but the entrance also is divided, for guests and family. One can see how seriously the samurai family took tradition and ceremonies.
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2007/1/26


黒石城 Kuroishi-jo Kuroishi Castle

Jp En

In 1646, Tsugaru Hideyoshi, a younger brother of the Hirosaki clan head, Nobuyoshi, was given about 5,000,000m2 of land to build a mansion, which is the origin of Kuroishi Castle. It was a magnificent castle on a flatland, and is otherwise known as Crow Castle.

The 8th clan head, Chikatari, was given about 6,000,000m2 of land by the So clan in 1809. Therefore, the Tsugaru clan received some 10,000,000m2 land in all and became feudal lords and established a clan. In the fourth year of the Meiji period, because of the abolition of clans and the establishment of prefectures, the mansion was opened to the public. The Tsugaru family then presented the residence to Kuroishi Town and it was used as the Kuroishi Elementary School. Today it forms Mikyuki Park.

Most of the park is open, but there exist some remains of small clay walls across the moats in the south, which remind you of former times.
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2007/1/25


作楽神社 Sakura-jinjya Sakura Shrine

Jp En

Sakura Shrine is situated between the city boundary of Tsuyama district and Kagamino town, in Okayama Prefecture. The shrine honors Emperor Go-Daigo and Kojima Takanori.

The whole precinct is designated as an important historic site. In ancient times, this area was called 'Insho' because it used to be the manor of a retired emperor. It is also known as a place where Emperor Go-daigo stayed on his way to Oki during the Genkō War in 1331. It is recorded in 'Taiheiki' that, one night, Kojima Takanori broke through the strict security around the manor and wrote a poem 'Jyu-ji-no-shi' about the cherry (sakura) tree to console the emperor.

Because of this story, the Takanori Monument was created in 1688 and later, the shrine was established in 1869.
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