2018年02月26日

'Harimaya-bashi' bridge in the heart of Kochi City, Shikoku, is known as the most disappointing tourist attraction in Japan.

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The main offices of 'Harimaya' and 'Hitsuya', both of them were the leading wealthy merchants of the district in the Edo Period (the 17th-19th century), stood across a ditch from each other. They built a private bridge named Harimaya-bashi over the ditch for their business convenience. This bridge, thereafter, was shared with the public, thus this neighborhood had gradually become the town center. Then a forbidden love affair between a Buddhist monk and a daughter of a tinsmith took place in the 19th century. Buddhist monk's love was a taboo in those years. He was witnessed when buying an ornamental hairpin for his love at a small shop beside Harimaya-bashi bridge. This heartwarming but sad story was used as a material for 'Joruri' puppet show and 'Yosakoi-bushi' local folk song, which has made this real story famous across Japan together with the name of Harimaya-bashi. However the original bridge was destroyed because of the redevelopment project after the second World War. The red bridge in the picture is a rebuilt one following the original design, though it looks disappointing due to the urbanization of the surroundings and is much smaller than expected.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 13:49 | Shikoku | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2018年02月16日

'Kagetsu', a Japanese-style luxury restaurant, in 'Maruyama' Neighborhood in Nagasaki City, was the important venue for the strategy meeting to overthrow the old regime of Japan.

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Nagasaki City in Kyushu was the only one door for the foreign trade during the Edo Period in the 17th-19th century. The huge profit from international trade was accumulated here, so one of the busiest red-light districts was built in Maruyama, downtown Nagasaki. Kagetsu restaurant in the picture was founded around 1818 and is the only one original building in Maruyama neighborhood. This originates from the small restaurant built in the Japanese garden of 'Hikita-ya' brothel built in 1642. During the transition period toward Japan's modernization, many noted royal supporters gathered here to exchange the information about the revolutionary movement as well as fund-raising. The interior decoration features the compromise between Japanese, the Western and Chinese style. People enjoy 'Shippoku' cuisine, which is a local special dish of half-Japanese and half-Chinese cuisine, with the original Japanese garden view built at the end of the 17th century.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki

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posted by masahisa at 09:07 | Kyushu | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2018年02月11日

'Munakata-taisha' in Fukuoka Prefecture is one of the most prestigious Shinto shrines in Japan.

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Munakata-taisha consists of three shrines, 'Okitsu-miya' in 'Oki-no-shima' island, 'Nakatsu-miya' in 'Chikuzen-oshima' island and 'Hetsu-gu' main shrine in Kyushu. As these three shrines are lined up in a straight line toward Pusan, Korea, they are thought to have had been the transfer points for the sea route between Japan and Korea since ancient times. So, Munakata-taisha is believed to be the guardian spirit for traffic safety. In many cases, a good luck charm for traffic safety is found in a motor vehicle in Japan. This tradition originated from this shrine. Oki-no-shima island four kilometers in circumference, 60 kilometers off the coast, has long been strictly prohibited to enter, so massive precious metals were found by the excavation after the Second World War. They are supposed to have had been used for religious service in the 4th-10th century. More than 10,000 items are on the list of national treasures, some of them were from China, Korea and Persia, and are on display in the museum of Hetsu-gu main shrine. Munakata-taisha also is a World Heritage site. The picture shows 'Takamiya-saijo', the place where the spirit of Heavens descends. This is an ancient site for a religious service, which hands down the original form of Shinto prayer.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 14:30 | Kyushu | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする