2011年12月01日

'Sakafune-ishi' in Asuka-mura village, Nara Prefecture, is the ancient remains made up of several stone structures.

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'Sakafune-ishi' remains are found around the hill located in the west of 'Asuka-itabuki-no-miya', where the ancient Imperial Palace of the Emperor Kogyoku once stood in the 7th century. The granite stone in the picture above with the dimensions of 5.5m long, 2.3m wide and 1.0m thick, that is situated at the hilltop, is thought to have been larger than now because many traces of the chisel in the Middle Ages are found on both sides of it. People in those days were likely to cut the big stone into smaller pieces. Some of these pieces are actually discovered among the stone materials for the wall of nearby Takatori-jo castle built in the 14th century.
What the mysterious pattern engraved on the stone means has been studied in vain since the 17th century.
The stone structure in the picture below was discovered by the excavation research in 2000. Two stone tanks in the center, tortoise-shaped and coin-shaped stones, are regarded as the instruments used for water-related ritual and the construction of this entire structure was described in 'Nihon-shoki' Chronicles of Japan compiled in the 8th century.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 12:01 | Nara | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2011年11月19日

The serene aspect of 'kubizuka', the tombstone where the head of 'Soga-no-Iruka' may be buried,is found in the immediate vicinity of his old mansion site.

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The Soga family, maternal relative of the Imperial Family of the day, exceeded then Emperor in political power in the 7th century. The Emperor Tenji stood together with 'Nakatomi-no-Kamatari', the founder of the Fujiwara family, against 'Soga-no-Emishi' and his son 'Iruka'. On the very day of the ceremony to receive the formal greetings from the government envoys of three countries in the Korean Peninsula in those days, All the Soga family members were slain by the Emperor side. Since then, the Imperial Family had retrieved former position and carried out the restoration of political system. This is 'Taika-no-kaisin',the reform in the Taika period,which is well known by almost all of Japanese people. The tombstone in the picture, known as the place where the head of 'Soga-no-Iruka' is sleeping, stands against the backdrop of 'Amakasi-no-oka' hill, at the foot of which the mansion of 'Soga-no-Emishi' and 'Iruka' once stood.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki

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posted by masahisa at 11:48 | Nara | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2011年11月14日

'Muroji' temple in the depths of the mountain in Nara Prefecture is also known as 'Nyonin-Koya' meaning 'Mount Koya' temple for women.

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'Muroji' temple was built by the Imperial edit in the last part of the Nara period in the 8th century. This is a typical mountain temple with various kinds of religious buildings on the route from the foot to the breast of Mt. Muro. The five-storied pagoda in the picture is a symbol of the temple and is the second oldest one after that of Horyuji temple, as well as the smallest among the open-air pagodas designated as a national treasure in Japan. Visitors across the world are inevitably charmed with the graceful appearance with bright red lacquered eaves. As a mountain seminary for the Buddhist priesthood, this religious institution had worked since its completion and the first-class Buddhist art of the Heian period can be found here. 'Koyasan' in Wakayama Prefecture, the main temple of Shingon esoteric Buddhism, used to be closed to women, while this temple welcomed any visitors regardless of sex, accordingly 'Muroji' is called 'Nyonin-Koya' meaning women's 'Mount Koya' temple.

Licensed tour guide/travel assistant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 06:39 | Nara | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする