2017年02月28日

'Ashikaga Gakko' located in Ashikaga City, Tochigi Prefecture, is Japan's oldest academic institution.

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The exact time of the origin of Ashikaga Gakko is unclear, however a document about this school exists, which reads that a feudal lord of this domain donated many text books, some of them are designated as national treasures, and he appointed a president for the purpose to develop this school at the beginning of the 15th century. It gradually began to appear in various kinds of documents from the middle of the 15th century through the end of the same century, and was introduced to the whole world by Xavier, who was staying in Japan at that time, as one of the most well-known academic institutions with some 3,000 students. Another document, written by a high-ranking Buddhist monk of Kenchoji Temple in Kamakura, reads that even the common people in Asikaga were well-educated, influenced by this school. After the golden age in the 16th century, the educational system of this school, focusing on divination and military science, became out of fashion, and it was closed in 1872.
Most of the present buildings and gardens were restored in 1990 to regain the original aspect.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 10:00 | Suburbs of Tokyo | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2017年02月06日

Odawara Castle, the castle tower of which was reconstructed in 1960 though, is a rare full-scale castle in the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan area.

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The origin of Odawara Castle seems to date back to the 15th century. After the unification of Japan by 'Tokugawa Ieyasu' early in the 17th century, this castle was repeatedly strengthened as an important fortress against many powerful 'daimyo' feudal lords to protect 'Edo' present Tokyo. Throughout 'Edo period', the 17th-19th century, the barrier station on 'Tokaido', the most important highway running between Tokyo and Kyoto, was managed by the lord of this castle. The main purpose of this barrier station, 'sekisho' in Japanese, was to crackdown on the spies dispatched by the western powers. With the beginning of Japan's modernization in the 19th century, most buildings of this castle, the castle tower included, were demolished and the original aspect was disappeared. However the restoration work has continued since 1934 to be revived from the destruction.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 09:15 | Suburbs of Tokyo | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2016年07月13日

'Tomioka Silk Mill' in Gunma Prefecture, built in 1872, was Japan's first full-scale mechanized silk reeling factory.

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Sericulture had long been Japan's traditional industry, however the quality was not good enough to export in the feudal years. The new government after Tokugawa feudal era implemented Japan's modernization in various fields late in the 19th century. The sericulture was appointed one of the most important key industries. Tomioka Silk Mill, built in 1872 following French technology, was a government-controlled model enterprise for silk manufacturing. Many elite female workers from educated families all over Japan gathered here to study the advanced techniques, and they made a great contribution to disseminate the results throughout the country after returning to their home towns. Japan's silk production exceeded China in 1909 to become No.1. This factory was privatized thereafter, and came to an end in 1987. As the original buildings built in 1872 remain almost intact, some of them are designated as national treasures and important cultural assets. The entire grounds of this factory and its related facilities are on the World Heritage List.
*The first picture shows one of the warehouses for dried cocoons.
*The second picture shows 'Arafune Fuketsu' natural fridge, which was used to slow down the growth of silk worms in order to get silk thread from cocoons several times a year.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

通訳案内士 高木聖久。

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posted by masahisa at 16:26 | Suburbs of Tokyo | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする