NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2008/4/4


雄飛滝 Yuuhi-daki The Yuhidaki Waterfall

Jp En

Yuhidaki is a 30 meter waterfall located in Yamada Town in the northernmost part of Shuzenji Town in Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture. It flows down in two stages; the upper stage is 20 meter tall and the lower stage is 10 meter tall. The white lines of water flowing down on the columnar joint rock surface, which is typical to this region, are very beautiful. The statue of Fudo Myoo is enshrined beside the bottom of the waterfall.

Double-flowered cherry trees that come into bloom in late April and hydrangea flowers that line the walking trail down to the basin in June offer wonderful color contrasts to the waterfall. In winter, on the other hand, the dashing flow of water freezes to create beautiful ice pillars. You will feel as if time has stopped when you see the sharp tips of ice plunging from above your head and protruding toward you.
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2007/7/27


埋木細工 Umoregi-zaiku Umoregi-zaiku (Bogwood Carvings)

Jp En

Umoregi-zaiku (bogwood carvings) is a traditional handicraft handed down in Aobayama in Miyagi Prefecture. “Umoregi” is carbonized, or fossilized, conifer, which lay buried in the layers of 3 to 5 million years ago. It was found a lot in the areas of Aobayama. .

The history of this handicraft dates back to the late Edo period. In 1822, Yamashita Shukichi, a foot-soldier of the Sendai domain, discovered pieces of bogwood in Aobayama. He made all kinds of efforts and finally succeeded in making out a plate to put on vessels or votive offerings to deities. The making of this craft rapidly spread among the low-ranked warriors in the domain as their side jobs.

Umoregi-zaiku is a unique handicraft that isn’t done in any other part of the country, and Umoregi itself is a unique material for crafts that is difficult to obtain today. In the making of Umoregi-zaiku, a piece of wood is hollowed out into a desired shape with chisels. Then lacquer is applied with fuki-urushi (buffing of coated lacquer) technique to create gloss. After lacquer is applied and buffed out 7 to 8 times, the product takes on deep gloss and stately appearance. With its beautiful grain and graceful luster, this blackish brown Umoregi becomes a high-grade work of art. .
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2007/7/12


三州瓦 Sansyuu-kawara Sanshuu Tiles

Jp En

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.
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2007/5/7


見残し海岸 Minokoshikaigan Minokoshi Coast

Jp En

This coast of exquisite beauty got its name Minokoshi (literally meaning “left unseen”) because the path to the coast was so steep that Kobodaishi gave up seeing the sight of it. The coast is located at the tip of a headland in Chihiro Peninsula further south from Tatsukushi Beach. Like Tatsukushi Coast, the coast of Minokoshi is made up of the shale and sandstone strata called the Tatsukushi Formation, which was formed about 20 million years ago. This coast is characterized by honeycomb formations created by a long-term erosion of sea winds and waves. Contrary to the masculine impression of Cape Ashizuri, the seascapes of Tatsukushi and Minokoshi give soft and feminine impression. 1-hour walk will be enough to enjoy looking around various rock formations including the ancient water ripple marks and “the folding screen rock.”
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2007/2/6


えぼし岩 Eboshi-iwa Eboshi Rock

Jp En

Eboshi Rock (Eboshi: formal head gear worn by Japanese men from the Heian period to the modern era) is a 15m-high rock on the Chigasaki Coast of Kanagawa Prefecture. It is situated in the center of the 30 Ubashima Islands, and lies 1.2km off the coast.

Eboshi Rock is estimated to have been formed around 3~6 million years ago. The layer around Eboshi Rock is the oldest in the Chigasaki area, and seems to be an elevated layer that had accumulated at the bottom of the ocean.

The sea around Eboshi Rock has provided good fishing grounds for a long time, and there were even struggles between the fishermen of Izu and the local fishermen of Owada in the Edo period.

The tip of Eboshi Rock used to be much more like an 'eboshi' than today. The rock had its long tail to the west. However, that tip was lost when the rock was used as target practice by the U.S. army after the war.


Eboshi Rock is still loved by the people of Shounan, and is the symbol of Chigasaki.
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2007/2/2


白山 Hakusan Mt. Hakusan

Jp En

Mt. Hakusan, located on the border of Ishikawa, Fukui and Gifu prefectures is believed to be the sacred mountain and has been worshipped by the people living in Hokuriku Region. Along with Mt. Fuji and Mt. Tateyama, it is counted as one of Japan’s Three Fine Mountains. The pilgrimage to this mountain was founded by the priest Taicho Shonin in 717, and since then the mountain together with Shirayama Hime Shrine has been worshipped as the sacred place for Shugendo (mountain practice). The mountain has three peaks of Omae-mine, Kenga-mine and Oonanji-mine. The highest peak is Omae-mine with an altitude of 2702 m. It is said that Mt. Hakusan has been active as a composite volcano for 300,000 to 400,000 years. Fossils of dinosaurs have been found in the Jurassic layer of earth. There are a lot of hot springs in this area. The mountain is also known as the treasure box of alpine plants, natural forests and wild animals. There are a lot of steep places in the middle of the mountain, where there are even some unexplored places. The area including the mountain was designated as a national park in 1962. Its pure and beautiful figure still gives strong impression on the visitors.
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2007/1/30


城ヶ島 Jougashima Jogashima Island

Jp En

Jogashima is a small island located near Misaki port, in Miura, Kanagawa Prefecture, at the southern edge of the Miura Peninsula.

Jogashima features rock strata that is ten million years old. The island is long and narrow from east to west (1.8km), 4 km around and covers a total area of 0.99m2. It is the biggest natural island in Kanagawa Prefecture and faces the Pacific to the south and Misaki fishing port to the north.

The island is just like a natural stratum museum; many changes in the earth's crust have led to curved, sharp and shifted strata that are exposed in different areas around the island.

There are many sightseeing spots on Jogashima, such as a tablet incised with the poetry of Kitahara Hakushu, Jogashima Park (one of the 50 major parks), narcissi (one of Japan's top 100 sites for flowers), Umiu Observation Deck, the cave entrance of Umanose, Jogashima lighthouse, Aburatsubo Gulf (one of 50 scenes), Awazaki lighthouse and Keikyu Aburatsubo Marine Park.

Jogashima is small but full of sightseeing places and with a long history, too.
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2007/1/19


桜 Sakura Cherry Blossoms (Sakura)

Jp En

Since ancient times, the Japanese cherry (sakura) tree has been deeply connected to the spirit and lifestyle of the Japanese people as the spiritual tree of Konohanasakuyahimenomikoto.

The cherry blossom is the representative flower of Japan and, generally said, the word 'flower' for the Japanese means cherry blossom. Sakura is also the official flower of the state of Japan.

For many reasons, too, the sakura tree is important for practical purposes. For example, an early-Jomon period bow excavated from the Torihama Shell Mound Site in Fukui Prefecture contains parts reinforced with sakura bark. In addition, people knew when to sow the fields and time the crops by following the sakura's blossoming.

Yet the sakura is more of an ornamental tree, and 'hanami' ('cherry-blossom viewing') is an annual spring event nationwide. Additionally, the beautiful and transient characteristic of the tree to blossom before foliating in a short space of time, before falling gracefully, has been the subject of countless poems. Furthermore, sakura is often the subject of conversations with a distinctively Japanese aesthetic.
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