Daishoji is located in today's Kaga city in Ishikawa Prefecture. This was once a thriving castle town within the highly productive million-koku branch domain of the Kaga Domain.
Daishoji is a place where history and tradition live. The streets still retain a mellow and relaxed atmosphere evocative of the Edo period. At the base of the Kinjo mountain castle are the old Zen and Nichiren Buddhist temples standing side by side. Visitors come all year round to see the historical sites here.
Among the temples, Jisshouin is famous throughout Japan for its beautiful wisteria. The gilt-painted shoji screens are also magnificent. Choryu-Tei pavilion and garden, located in the grounds of the Enuma Shrine and once part of the mansion of Daishoji's 3rd lord, seem to imitate the Kenrokuen garden. Here the elaborate and detailed drawing room and tea room are interesting. This garden is designated as an important national asset.
Shikii is a long piece of timber laid between pillars, which functions as a threshold with grooves for sliding doors and shoji screens.
While shikii means the bottom part of the threshold, the upper part is called “kamoi”. They are used together as a pair.
The word, shikii, is derived from an ancient word, shikimi. A timber is carved to create grooves or to be fitted with a rail for shoji screens or fusuma sliding doors that partition off rooms. For other sliding doors used for front and back entrances or windows, various methods are used to ensure smoother sliding.
The strength and smooth sliding surface is key to choosing materials, and the pine tree is generally used for shikii. Japanese hemlock, cherry tree and hinoki cypress tree are also favorably used.
In recent years, as buildings become more “barrier free”, in order to prevent disabled people and senior citizens from tripping on shikii, an increasing number of residences are eliminating difference in levels in a house by taking such measures as burying shikii under the floor.
Shikii create a sense of boundaries within space which is a very elemental concept of Japanese traditional architecture.
Hiyoshi Shrine in Aoki Village in Nagano Prefecture is considered to have been founded during the Nanbokucho period (1336-1392). Its very unique architectural style was highly evaluated and it was designated as a Prefectural Treasure in 1990.
Honden (the main hall) is built in the 5-bay wide flowing style without front entrance steps leading to the door of the sanctum. It has a copper gable roof, having a long extended front slope with a flowing curve covering the veranda. It is characterized by the long shape from side to side, and uniquely the building has only one door in the middle. It used to be painted in bright vermillion, but now all the paint has come off and the wood building material has revealed its natural color, which creates a sedate atmosphere.
The paper used for a census preserved at Shosoin Repository is thought to be Japan’s oldest paper. They are thought to have been made in Mino, Chikuzen and Buzen; thereby it is thought that a history of paper making in the Mino dates back to the Nara period (710-794).
Genuine Mino Paper is made from a superior grade of paper mulberry grown only in Ibaraki Prefecture. It is characterized by its traditional hand filtering method, not only by vertical shaking but also by horizontal shaking, by which all the fibers “knit” together leaving no evidence of the forming process on the surface.
In the Edo period (1603-1868), it was very popular especially for the sliding door of the traditional house. Its uniformly excellent quality was ideal for translucent paper screens.
Genuine Mino Paper is now used for sliding doors, documents that need to be preserved and conservation of cultural properties. Its high quality and depth of flavor attracts a lot of users. In 1976, the techniques of making Genuine Mino Paper were designated as Important Intangible Cultural Property. As the holders of this traditional technique, the members of the Genuine Mino Paper Preservation Association are making efforts to hand down their skills to the next generation.
Edo karakami is a kind of Japanese paper that came to be used for decorating sliding doors, walls and folding screens in Edo buildings. Its origin is 'karakami', an imitation of 'mon-karakami', which was beautifully patterned paper imported from China in the Heian period.
At first, the nobility used this paper as rough paper for waka poetry. After the Middle Ages, it began to be pasted on sliding doors or screens.
In the Edo period, as the Tokugawa government developed the towns around Edo, the demand for karakami increased and it developed in various forms.
Much of Kyoto karakami is printed from woodblocks. On the other hand, Edo Karakami is printed using woodblock as well as many other techniques, such as stencil printing and stripe printing. These patterns have free and subtle designs reflecting the tastes of the Edo-based samurais and townspeople.
Tekijuku was a private school founded by Ogata Koan , a doctor and scholar of Dutch studies (Rangaku) in Senba Osaka, in 1838 during the Tenpo era of the late Edo period. The school produced a lot of notable alumni includeFukuzawa Yukichi , Omura Masujiro and Takamatsu Ryoun, who pioneered Japan’s modern era from the end of Edo Period through Meiji Restoration. Tezuka Ryosen, a grand-grand father of Japan’s famous cartoonist, Tezuka Osamu, was also a student of this school. After Meiji Restoration, when Osaka Medical School was opened, the professors and the students transferred to the new school and Tekijuku endedits long history. As Faculty of Medicine at Osaka University, it stillconveys the tradition of Japan’s oldest medical school. The building ofTekijuku still has been preserved by Osaka University Steering Committee forTekijuku Conservation. Next to the building on the right is the bronze statue of Ogata Koan. Upstairs are students’ rooms, where you can seenumerous sword cuts on the surface of the pillars. These sword cuts are said to have been made during excited debates among the students, from which you can infer what people and the social background were like in those days. The building was designated as Important Intangible Cultural Heritage in 1964.
Gudabutsuan is a historical place associated with Soseki Natsume. It is a two-story-house located in Matsuyama City, Ehime Pref., which Soseki rented in 1893 when he came to teach English at Matsuyama junior high school. A poet Shiki Masaoka also stayed with Soseki in this house because they were good friends. The house was removed and reconstructed in the back of Matuyama Municipal Shiki-Memorial Museum and Bansui-so. Shiki called the house Gudabutsuan, which means a stupid Buddha in Japanese. Many friends who were enthusiastic haiku poets visited Shiki there, and they had haiku gatherings led by Shiki. Soseki also joined them and he was also very enthusiastic about haiku writing. Shiki taught how to write a good haiku to the members of Shofu-kai Haiku School. For Soseki, who was hovering as a literator at this time, haiku was a soft target of his literary expression. Later in 1905, he published his first novel “I Am a Cat” and started to take steps on the way to the great author. We can say the Soseki’s first step to his writing was made from Gudabutsuan.