Make an exploration into rural Japan!      PROJECT      CONCEPT
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Samurai Era

Tradition

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Essence

Nature

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Abandoned Places

Ruins

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Health & Wellness

Food & Rest

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japan temple
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Yahiko Shrine

Tradition

Located at the centre of Echigo Plain, Mt. Yahiko towers over all that surround it. At its foot, you can find Yahiko Shrine, a place believed to be a power spot. The shrine is dedicated to the ancestor-god responsible for the formation of Echigo, Ama no Kagoyama no Mikoto. If you head towards the main shrine and then further in to the right until you reach the eight auxiliary and subordinate shrines, you’ll find a space where not many people ever seem to go. Here, you can spend a long while in the calm and quiet, so I encourage you to take the trip to experience it. (The auxiliary shrines…

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Enkikan

Tradition

A part of the residence belonging to Saitou Kijuurou, a merchant who was active from the Meiji era and into the Showa era, it has been opened to the public for free. For a fee of 300 yen, you can have a taste of their matcha, so why not rest a moment in the elegant surroundings while sipping tea and gazing out at the Japanese garden?   Basic Information Homepage: http://niigata-bs.sakura.ne.jp/si/enkikan/top.html Telephone: 025-224-6081 Location: 1-2 Ichibanboridoorimachi, Chuo-ku, Niigata, Niigata (Within Hakusan Park) Hours: 9am-5pm Closed: On the first and third Mondays of every month (when Monday is a national holiday then the following day is closed) Fees: No entrance fee…

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Shimizuen

Tradition

A promenade garden by landscape gardener Tanaka Taiami. It’s a beautiful Japanese garden featuring an arrangement of stones brought all the way from Kyoto and five tearooms that appear to blend seamlessly into the scenery. In addition, in this area said to blessed with the perfect conditions for the growth of moss, this garden can be viewed as a beautiful example of a moss garden.   Basic Information Homepage: http://hoppou-bunka.com/shimizuen/ Telephone: 0254-22-2659 Location: 7-9-32 Daieichou, Shibata, Niigata Hours: March-October: 9am-5pm November-February: 9am-4:30pm Closed: Wednesdays in January and February, and at the end-of-year holiday season Fees: Adults: 700 yen Elementary and Secondary school students: 300 yen Access: By Train: Around 7…

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Houkouji

Tradition

Shibata’s Houkouji is a Zen temple of the Soto school. The trailing branches of its cherry tree, said to be 380 years old, are a particular highlight. A good time to come visit is early April.   Basic Information Homepage: http://www.hokoji.net/ Telephone: 0254-22-4376 Location: 2-4-17 Suwamachi, Shibata, Niigata Hours: Visitors can freely access the temple grounds Access: By Train: 8 minutes on foot from Shibata station, on the JR Hakushin Line or Uetsu Line By Car: 11 minutes from the Seiro-Shibata Interchange on the Nihonkai Tohoku Expressway 10 minutes from the Shibata Interchange on the Shin-shin Bypass Other: Parking Available

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Shugetsuji

Destination, Tradition

Shugetsuji, with its main temple building constructed in the architectural style of the Soto school (a sect of Zen Buddhism) that is representative of Niigata prefecture, can be found in a quiet valley surrounded by peaceful greenery. It is a temple famous for the beauty of its row of cherry trees by the gate in spring, and the changing colours of the leaves in autumn. Basic Information Telephone: 0256-82-2160 Location: 3356 Ishize, Nishikan-ku, Niigata Access: By Car: 15 minutes from the Katahigashi Interchange Other: Parking Available

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Awashimaura Elementary School – Kamaya Branch

Ruins

The remains of an elementary school closed in 1995. It is located on Awashima Island, a small island floating in the Sea of Japan, with an area of ten square kilometres and a circumference of 23 kilometres. Even now, everything is just as it was then, with things such as books, a piano, and ping-pong table left behind. The steps, which must have rung with the excitement and high voices of the children as they scrambled upstairs, shine with a black lustre. It’s a scene that could have been plucked out of a Ghibli movie. As I was gazing through the window out to the sea, I slipped back in…

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Untouan

Tradition

A retreat at which Uesugi Kagekatsu and Naoe Kanetugu, military commanders of Echigo, both studied in their youth. It’s said that beneath the paving stones lining the path leading up to the temple, extending from the red gate to the main temple building, there lies buried a single letter of the Lotus sutra for each individual stone. It seems that by paying full attention to every step as you walk, your mind finds peace.   Basic Information Homepage: http://www.untouan.com/ Telephone: 025-782-0520 Location: 660 Untou, Minami-Uonuma, Niigata Hours: Middle of April-November: 9am-5pm December-middle of April: 10am-5:30pm Fees: 300 yen Access: By Train: About 30 minutes by car from Echigo-Yuzawa Station on…

japan shrine kenshin uesugi
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Kasugayama Shrine

Tradition

A shrine dedicated to Lord Uesugi Kenshin. From Kasugayama Shrine, you can wander all the way to the ruins of Uesugi Kenshin’s Kasugayama Castle. Kasugayama Castle was said to be impregnable, a castle like no other, from the way it took full advantage of the complex natural landscape. Why don’t you try taking a journey to see it for yourself?   Basic Information Telephone: 025-525-4614 Location: 1743 Daizu, Joetsu, Niigata Hours: 9:30am-4:30pm Closed: December 1st through March 31st Fees: Adults: 200 yen Elementary and Secondary school students: 100 yen Access: By Train: From Kasugayama Station on the ETR (Echigo Tokimeki Railway) Myoko Haneuma Line, it is 5 minutes by bus,…

japan shrine cedar
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Kumano Shrine & Seven Cedars

Tradition

Kumano Shrine & Seven Cedars If you drive around the countryside of Japan, you will sometimes come across this kind of small shrine standing alone in the middle of the field. And I always got drawn into it. I really love this lonesome atmosphere. After you get through the path along rice fields and climb 150-step stone stairs, the main shrine and seven big cedars show up in front of you. Address:1968 Nunobe, Murakami city, Niigata Enshrined Deity: IZANAMI (伊邪那美尊)

japan shrine torii
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Odomo Inari Inner Shrine – a branch shrine of Kyoto Fushimi Inari-taisha

Tradition

Branch Shrine of Kyoto Fushimi Inari-taisha Established in Kamakura era (1249-1256),  Odomo Inari inner shrine has been admired by many people. It’s actually a branch shrine of Kyoto Fushimi Inari-taisha and quietly still standing in the shadowy grove where rice field surrounds. Mysitic Place Although the scale is small compared with Fushimi Inari-taisha, you can enjoy passing through a lot of Torii gate here. As these photos show, the main attraction is its mystic atmosphere of the place where possibly Yōkai monsters still live. This place has totally not commercialized yet, so you can feel the spookiness as it is. I recommend to go there at sunset because crows caw to add some spice…

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