2019年07月16日

'Ninomaru Teien' Japanese garden, a part of the Imperial Palace East Garden, was restored in 1968 to the original state in the 18th century.

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The first Ninomaru Teien was built in 1630 by the command of Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third shogun. Mr. Kobori Enshu, a leading landscape architect at that time, received the orders from the shogun. The documents reading that Tokugawa Iemitsu hosted a magnificent tea ceremony in this site is found. Thereafter in 1636, 'Ninomaru Goten' mansion was built next to this garden for the successive shoguns' private use, such as a relaxing place, retreat or their mother's residence. Present garden was restored according to the illustrated plan of the old garden in the 18th century. A variety of wild flowers are in full bloom every season. Particularly in Jun, 84 kinds of Japanese irises attract many visitors as shown in the picture.

Licensed tour guide, travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki

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posted by masahisa at 10:21 | Tokyo-gardens | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2019年07月05日

The name of 'Mekari' Shinto Shrine in Moji-ku, Kitakyushu City derives from a unique divine service to 'reap wakame seaweed'.

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This time-honored Shinto shrine stands by the shore of the Kanmon Strait, lying between Honshu main island and Kyushu island. This has long attracted many believers as a guardian spirit of the sea traffic safety on the strait. Thus the history of the repeated repair works by the Ashikaga Shogun in Kyoto and other local feudal lords from the beginning of the 14th century are recorded in the documents. The old shrine building in the first picture was rebuilt by a local feudal lord in 1767. This shrine is also known as 'mekari' ritual, which is carried out by the three priests before dawn on January 1st every year according to the lunar calendar. They reap wakame seaweed on the coast just in front of the shrine as shown in the second picture, in order to offer to the guardian spirit. This unique ritual was carried out privately before the Second World War, however it is opened to the public now so that anyone can see it.

Licensed tour guide, travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 11:44 | Kyushu | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2019年07月02日

'Tokei-ji' Buddhist Temple in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, was an official enkiri-dera which means a safe haven for women seeking to flee from their violent husband in the Edo period.

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The history of Tokei-ji started from 1285 as a nunnery, and the successive head priests had been the daughters of the Imperial family or powerful feudal lords. Japanese woman's social standing was relatively low in the feudal years, thus it was not easy for a wife to get a divorce from her husband. In order to rescue a woman from this distress, then government designated two temples, Tokei-ji in Kamakura and Mantoku-ji in Gunma Prefecture, as official enkiri-deras. A woman who wanted to divorce her husband was able to do so, if she rushed into these special temples, to be more precise once she threw her belonging into the temple ground. After two year volunteer work for the temple, the wife could lawfully divorce her husband. This temple enjoys variety of field flowers in all seasons. The picture shows the gravestones of the successive head priests from prestigious families.

Licensed tour guide, travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki

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posted by masahisa at 13:31 | Kamakura | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする