2018年03月24日

'Minatogawa Jinja' Shonto Shrine standing in the central part of Kobe City was elected to worship 'Kusunoki Masashige', who was a well-known military commander of the Imperial Army in the 14th century.

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Kusunoki Masahige died in a batttle, so-called 'Minatogawa-no-Tatakai', against 'Ashikaga Takauji' who was a 'shogun', a kind of a general of the anti-emperor army. To be more precise, he committed 'hara-kiri' at the very place where this shrine stands now, as he gave up this battle in 1336. His humble tombstone elected here right after the battle had long been neglected since, however this gradually begun to attract people's attention in the Edo Period in the 17th-19th century. The thought of respecting Emperor, which was Japan's traditional philosophy, had revived since the 17th century, so he became widely known as a hero step by step even in the period of 'samurai' government.
*Samurai is a warrior, different from an emperor.
Soon after the end of the samurai government, so-called the 'Edo Period', in the middle of the 19th century, this Shinto shrine was built in the grounds, including his last place, with the total area of 25,000 square meters, in 1872. This constraction work was a national project.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 10:25 | Tokyo-shrines and temples | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2018年03月19日

The main building of 'Ueno Toshogu' Shinto shrine is a rare building in Tokyo, which survived the Second World War.

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This Shinto shrine was built by 'Todo Taketora', who was a faithful retainer of 'Tokugawa Ieyasu (the first Tokugawa shogun)' and was also known as an expert in the art of castle-building, in his mansion grounds in 1627. The original main building was largely rebuilt by 'Tokugawa Iemitsu (the third Tokugawa shogun)' in 1651, as shown in the first picture.
Tokyo was entirely destroyed by the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and the fierce air-raid during the Second World War, however this building fortunately survived them. It's not a large building though, the exterior with gold leaves is amazing, and three successive Tokugawa shoguns, Ieyasu, Iemitsu and Yoshinobu, are enshrined here. The second picture shows the adjacent five-storied pagoda of 'Ueno Kan-eiji' Buddhist temple, which was originally built for this Shinto shrine in 1639. This pagoda is the original building too.
In this connection, I may add that the fire from the burning houses of Hiroshima, ignited by the atomic bombing, was brought here to remind many people of the nuclear disaster at the last days of the Second World War.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 13:15 | Tokyo-shrines and temples | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2018年03月15日

'Fuyu Botan', peony trees blooming in winter, are found at the peony garden in Ueno in January and February every year.

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Peonies originally came from China, and were introduced into Japan as medicine in the 9th century. A variety of improvements have been adapted since the 17th century, thanks to the increasing popularity for decorative purpose. Being loved by Japanese people as a symbol of 'Wealth and Honor', they are also used as the subject matter of a painting, pattern and family crest. Peonies generally bloom in spring though, the special ones, carefully cultivated to add colors during the New Year holidays, are called Fuyu Botan, winter peony.
It's hard to see flowers in midwinter.
Ueno peony garden in the grounds of 'Ueno Toshogu Shrine', Tokyo, is one of the many peony gardens in Japan. There are about 200 winter peony trees, which are brought to bloom forward. This garden was built to commemorate the friendship between Japan and China, in 1980. More than 500 different peony trees, which are from China, the USA and France, are planted here.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki

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posted by masahisa at 13:27 | Tokyo-gardens | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする