Most viewed - MIE 三重県
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Kunoichi female ninja guide1774 views
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Ninja disguises1497 views
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Ninja costumes1475 views
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An altar in the Iga-ryu Ninja House.1152 views
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Pepper bombs to blind you.1080 views
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Lets you escape to the next room instantly, or climb up or down the ladder on the right wall.1057 views
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What would a ninja museum be without a display of shuriken?971 views
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The first demo is this swinging wall.962 views
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Meoto-Iwa Wedded Rocks off the coast of Futami-cho, Ise city, Mie Prefecture. 夫婦岩917 views
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This is a staircase concealed as a shelf.893 views
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Ninja swords are short and straight with no curvature.867 views
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773 views
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Sword hidden in the floor.745 views
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Another wall door that leads to the basement tunnel.729 views
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729 views
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Ueno-shi Station has ninja dolls to greet you.728 views
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Now a shelf. It leads to the attic.721 views
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Emergency escape hatch whose lock can be quickly released with a sheet of paper.717 views
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Entrance to the basement.707 views
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Hidden floor compartment where they hid their valuables outside the house.698 views
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Ninja swords.698 views
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When you push in the end of this floor plank, it opens up to reveal a sword.685 views
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Iga-Ueno is very successful in promoting its ninja past and drawing tourists. Also see the Koga-ryu Ninja House in Shiga.668 views
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Lock picks627 views
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Another swinging wall door.625 views
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Bamboo sticks concealing a sword.599 views
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Storefront shutter with ninja drawings.592 views
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There she goes.589 views
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Ninjas in the kitchen. We could not go up into the attic as we can in Koka's ninja house in Shiga.587 views
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Inside the Iga-ryu Ninja House.586 views
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Inside the Iga-ryu Ninja House581 views
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Flipper-like clogs to walk through swamps581 views
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Nakayama Emiri, a TV personality, tries to throw shuriken.570 views
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569 views
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567 views
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Iron claws562 views
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Female ninja climbing over a wall.550 views
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542 views
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534 views
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Sword demo526 views
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Juggling sickles. Having a sickle did not arouse suspicion as it was a common farming tool. But for the ninja, it was an effective weapon.522 views
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521 views
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520 views
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Kitchen in Iga-ryu Ninja House.518 views
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515 views
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Iga-ryu Ninja Museum 514 views
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506 views
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506 views
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494 views
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Iga-ryu Ninja House ninja show.494 views
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Duel to the death.481 views
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Kitchen area in Iga-ryu Ninja House.476 views
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Revolving door of Iga-ryu Ninja House 475 views
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Shuruken takes skill to throw.471 views
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Making medicine.469 views
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Ninja shop468 views
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467 views
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Once a group gets large enough, they take you all in and a female ninja guide explains the house's ninja trickery. Admission charged. Recommended is the set of tickets that admit you to the ninja house, castle, and Danjiri Museum.462 views
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Five-colored rice grains used for secret communication.461 views
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459 views
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Five-colored rice grains used for secret communication.459 views
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Female ninja449 views
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For an extra 200 yen, you can watch the ninja show right next to the ninja house.445 views
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Cushion445 views
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Kitchen444 views
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More secret ninja language.434 views
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432 views
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Ninja doll on a pole.432 views
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Iga-ryu Ninja House is in Ueno Park which includes Iga-Ueno Castle nearby.428 views
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426 views
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Inside ninja museum which is in a former rice warehouse.424 views
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Throwing sickles and shuriken.423 views
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Thatched-roof of Iga-ryu Ninja House.421 views
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420 views
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420 views
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Iga-ryu Ninja House is a thatched-roof house whose roof once caught fire in the 1990s. It was rebuilt.419 views
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You have to applaud once in a while.417 views
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Even ninja get thirsty.412 views
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Rope knots hung on roof eaves, etc., were also used for communication.400 views
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396 views
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Shuriken throwing.389 views
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Veranda of Iga-ryu Ninja House 388 views
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Everywhere you go in Iga-Ueno, you see a ninja motif.383 views
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Iga-ryu Ninja House garden. They take you in groups, so you may have to wait a while before you can go in.372 views
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Another ninja museum.369 views
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Iga-Ueno Ninja Festa poster368 views
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362 views
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Ninjas under cherry blossoms.355 views
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Where you can rent a ninja costume.347 views
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See many people wearing ninja costumes during the ninja festa.347 views
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The shrine is dedicated to Sarutahiko and Ukano-mitama. Sarutahiko is a god which serves as a pathfinder guide. Deities for land/sea transportation safety. 二見344 views
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Even the trains have a ninja (female) paint job.312 views
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Futami Okitama Shrine does not have a main hall (Honden) like most other shrines. It worships the Okitama Sacred Stone in the ocean beyond the Wedded Rocks. 二見興玉神社309 views
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During April and early May, they hold the annual ninja festa.306 views
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The Wedded Rocks are part of Futami Okitama Shrine known for frog sculptures. 二見興玉神社297 views
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Tsu Castle, Ushitora turret289 views
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The Wedded Rocks are actually a type of torii gate for worshipping the Okitama Sacred Stone in the ocean.281 views1 comments
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Wedded Rocks with a new rope. Japan has numerous other Wedded Rocks and stones, but this is by far the most famous.251 views
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Map of Ise Jingu's Naiku Shrine. First you cross Uji Bridge.251 views
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Iga-Ueno really plays up its ninja past. 249 views
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Statue of Lord Takatora Todo, who became the 11th lord of the castle in 1608. He is revered for revamping the castle and developing the castle town of Tsu. He was originally from Inugami, Shiga Pref. This statue was built in 1998.248 views
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Map of Naiku at Ise Jingu Shrine and adjacent area.241 views
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Ninja paint job on a train.237 views
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Iga-Ueno Castle is one of three major tourist attractions in the city of Iga. It is a short walk from Ueno-shi Station on the Kintetsu Iga Line.232 views
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The frog is Sarutahiko's messenger. Frog is called "kaeru" in Japanese, which is a homonym for the another word meaning "return home." If you travel a lot, pray here for a safe return. 夫婦岩225 views
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Five ropes are being positioned and made taut.211 views
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Close up map of Naiku. An adjacent plot next the shrine is for the next rebuilding of the shrine. The current, 20-year-old Naiku shrine is on an adjacent plot of land.208 views It takes 8 years to rebuild the Naiku shrine. So 12 years from now, they will start the rebuilding process all over again. Numerous ceremonies are held for this rebuilding, but only a few of them can be seen by the public.
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Inabe Shrine, where the Oyashiro Matsuri or Ageuma festival is held on the first Sat. and Sun. of April (if it falls on the 1st and 2nd, the festival is held on the 8th and 9th) in Toin, Mie Prefecture. A 15-min. walk from Toin Station on the Sangi Line.206 views
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The job is finished.205 views
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The torii on the larger rock is quite small. The sacred rope is replaced three times a year on May 5, September 5, and at the end of December.196 views
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The rope installers return to shore.196 views
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All the while, the cheering section chants and wave streamers.189 views
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Replacing the rope for the Wedded Rocks, Mie Pref.188 views
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Men carry spanking-new shimenawa ropes to the rocks.187 views
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The men begin to cut off the old rope. Those sharp sickles soon made short work of the old sacred ropes which were brought ashore in small pieces.186 views
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5月5日、9月5日と12月下旬には夫婦岩の大注連縄の張り替え神事が行われる。これらの写真は5月5日に撮影された。176 views
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Iga-Ueno's Ueno Park includes this beautiful building called the Haisei-den (俳聖殿), a hall dedicated to Haiku poet Matsuo Basho who was from Iga-Ueno.174 views
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The ropes are now completely cut, breaking the bond between the two rocks.173 views
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The ceremony attracts a large crowd.164 views
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The shimenawa rope actually consists of five smaller ropes. They cut the ropes one by one.162 views
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The new ropes are strung across the two rocks. A small rope tied to the end of the large rope is used to pull the large rope up the rock.157 views
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The shimenawa rope bonding the Wedded Rocks is replaced three times a year. May 5, when these photos were taken, is one of the days when they replace the rope. First, they gathered at the shrine at 10 am for a 30-min. prayer ceremony.155 views
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Pieces of the old rope. Anyone could take home the pieces of old sacred rope if they wanted.151 views
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Castle wall facing the street147 viewsWhen you walk to Tsu Castle from the bus stop, this is what you first see. It is obviously a flatland-type castle. Tsu Castle was first built in 1580 by Oda Nobukane, the younger brother of warlord Oda Nobunaga.
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Lantern and sunset at Futami Okitama Shrine146 views
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Ueno-shi Station144 views
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Noted for cherry blossoms, Kyuka Park is on the site of Kuwana Castle which was occupied by Honda Tadakatsu.135 viewsAdjacent to the park is the Kuwana-juku post town on the Tokaido Road that welcomed visitors after they crossed the ocean (Shichiri-no-watashi) from Miya-juku in Aichi. Photo: Kuwana sign at Kuwana Station.
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Making sure that the rope is aligned and positioned correctly.134 views
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One by one, the men carefully positioned the new sacred ropes on the two Rocks. All the while, young children and young men are chanting on the shore.132 views
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Sunset at Futami Okitama Shrine. In the old days when traveling was a hazardous undertaking in Japan, pilgrims who traveled to worship at the Ise Grand Shrines prayed here for a safe return home.128 views
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The second rope is installed.127 views
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Nyutoku-mon Gate125 views
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Moat124 views
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The old rope is taken away.116 views
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The first rope is wound around both rocks.116 views
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115 views
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Ushitora turret entrance (not open)112 views
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Garden in Nishinomaru112 views
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Three-story Ushitora turret, reconstructed in 1958.111 viewsThis is the only significant building remaining of the castle.
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Statue of Basho at Ueno-shi Station.106 views
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Iga-Ueno Castle and cherry blossoms, Mie Prefecture.100 views
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Iga-Ueno Castle and cherry blossoms, Mie Prefecture. During the Meiji Restoration, Ueno Castle's structures were dismantled as with many other castles.98 views
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Map of Toin town, Mie. Many thanks to my friends Tomoyo and Shunji in Toin-cho for taking me to see this festival.96 views
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Ise Jingu Shrine's Naiku (Inner Shrine) is the main and most popular shrine at Ise. The shrine is rebuilt every 20 years and 2013 will mark the completion of the new shrine to replace the old one built in 1993.94 views
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Ushitora turret90 views
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Ushitora turret and stone wall90 views
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Todo Takatora's helmet90 views
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Kyuka Park moat near Shichiri-no-watashi.89 views
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Moat87 views
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The narrow gauge makes the trains narrower too.87 views
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Statue of Lord Honda Tadakatsu at Kyuka Park. 本多忠勝86 views
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Hiroshige's woodblock print of Kuwana (43rd post town on the Tokaido) from his "Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido Road" series. People traveling by boat to Kuwana from Miya.86 views
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The line's train tracks has an extra narrow gauge.85 views
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Ise Jingu shrine maidens look the same as any other shrine maidens. They are likely college students hired just for New Year's to sell goods.85 views
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Moat81 views
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Tokaido Road in Kuwana-juku.79 views
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Foundation of the castle tower (rear)69 views
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Park fountain in the castle grounds68 views
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Castle wall63 viewsThe stone wall is long, and the entrance to the castle grounds is on the far end, in front of the three-story Ushitora turret.
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Foundation of the castle tower63 viewsThe 5-story castle tower was destroyed in 1600 during the Battle of Sekigahara. It was never rebuilt.
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Samurai armor63 views
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The bottleneck at Naiku was this little torii which most people wanted to walk through at the top of the steps. People like me who didn't have time opted to go up the steps on the right side in no time. 60 views
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Look how small the offertory box is at Ise Jingu's Naiku. The one at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo is like half the size of a football field. Of course, Ise Jingu just doesn't have the space for it.60 views
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About 300-400 meters to the Naiku shrine, it got congested. It took about an hour to reach the foot of the steps going up to the shrine.59 views
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Inner stone wall58 views
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Foundation of the castle tower (side view)58 views
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Entering Geku shrine at Ise.58 views
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Naiku shrine and torii are in sight at the top of the steps ahead. We were told that it would take more than an hour just to get up these steps. However, we could walk up the steps quickly on the right edge of the steps.58 views
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I wondered how much I should donate for this sake. I just dropped a 100 yen coin and probably got 20 yen worth of sake. At Atsuta Shrine (one of Japan's Big Three shrines) in Nagoya, they have a nice big hall where they serve hot tea and sweets for 57 viewsNothing like that here.
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A short walk from Ueno Park is the Basho Oseika (芭蕉翁生家) or Basho's childhood home. Iga is the birthplace of Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), and the house where he grew up in still stands.56 views
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Ise manhole depicting Ise Jingu pilgrims. Mie Pref.56 views
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Collecting coins at Taka-no-miya Shrine 多賀宮.55 views
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Stone wall in the Honmaru51 views
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The moment after this shot was taken, this baton hit my camera lens and bounced off. A kid nearby quickly picked up the dropped baton. That's okay, I let him have it. My gift to the local people.51 views
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Look how small the offertory box is at Geku.51 views
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Roof horns at Ise Jingu's Naiku.51 views
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The festival's main event is the Ageuma (Leaping or Rising Horse) ceremony held 12 times on Sat. and six times on Sun. One of the horses to be used. The Ageuma is unique to Mie and started here at Inabe Shrine.50 views
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My camera was fine. Nothing broken, but the edge of my lens filter had a slight dent...50 views
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Oyashiro Festival poster.50 views
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Collecting coins.50 views
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It takes 8 years to rebuild the Naiku shrine. So 12 years from now, they will start the rebuilding process all over again. Numerous ceremonies are held for this rebuilding, but only a few of them can be seen by the public.50 views
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Iga-yaki ceramic statue of Basho inside the Haisei-den.49 views
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The study is a very simple, yet aesthetic and meditative-looking room.48 views
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High walls prevent us from seeing the sacred shrine buildings of Naiku. Photography is not allowed inside these walls so don't try to use a long pole with a camera attached to take pictures. There are guards everywhere. 48 views
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The end of the slope where the horse is to leap over the steep earthen wall. Cherry trees accent the steep incline. The horse gallops and full speed for about 500 meters before encountering this steep incline.47 views
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Toin Station on the Sangi Railway Hokusei Line.47 views
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Next to the Waki-Honjin was the Honjin whose site is now occupied by this building.47 views
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Inside Iga Ueno Danjiri Museum.47 views
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Geku Outer Shrine at Ise Jingu.47 views
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The Ageuma or Leaping Horse ceremony is only one of the religious ceremonies held during the Oyashiro Festival. The god of wooden architecture is one of the gods Inabe Shrine worships. Carpenters from this area built Horyuji and Todaiji in Nara.46 views
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This earthen wall looks like 2 or 3 meters high. This festival is unique to Mie Prefecture. A similar and much more crowded Ageuma ceremony is held at Tado Shrine also in Mie and not far from Inabe Shrine.46 views
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There are six jockeys, all local teenage boys, chosen by lottery. They have to be quite brave to undertake the Ageuma ceremony since accidents and injuries do happen. Some parents refuse to allow their sons to be chosen.46 views
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Next horse up. In the past, they spiked the horse with stimulants to make it more excited, but they discontinued that practice.46 views
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Sign explaining Kuwana's Honjin and Waki-Honjin.46 views
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This is what the steep incline looks like from the other side. The galloping horse must manage to leap up and over the steep wall called the Agezaka (上げ坂).45 views
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The rider looks relieved, and proud to have a lifetime memory.45 views
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The victorious rider holds out a fan and sings a victory song. People celebrate the imminent abundant harvest.45 views
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One end of the riding course.45 views
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Noted for cherry blossoms, Kyuka Park is on the site of Kuwana Castle which was occupied by Honda Tadakatsu. 45 views
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On both sides are special spectator seating (decorated in red/white) for the shrine priests and VIPs. These photos were taken on April 5, 2009.44 views
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Building on the site of Kuwana-juku's Waki-Honjin. It is a ryokan inn.44 views
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Site of Kuwana-juku's Honjin.44 views
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Map of Kyuka Park on the site of Kuwana Castle.44 views
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The horse gets stuck as its hind legs cannot push off from any surface. It kept kicking its hind legs as it desperately tried to get over the embankment and it finally did. This was the first run of the day on Sunday.43 views
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Iga Ueno Danjiri Museum43 views
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Kitchen area with a well on the left and stoves toward the right.42 views
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The house is open to the public as a tourist attraction (admission 300 yen). The house was rebuilt after it being damaged by a large earthquake in 1854.42 views
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The back of the house is Basho's study called Chogetsuken (釣月軒) where he wrote the Kai-ooi (貝おほい) series of poems.42 views
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Before the festival, the six riders undergo a period of purification in the morning and evening in the river. On the day of the festival, they bathe in the river. This one is getting on the horse.42 views
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Statue of Lord Honda Tadakatsu at Kyuka Park, site of his Kuwana Castle.42 views
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Ise-shi Station platform upon arrival on Jan. 1, 2013. Ise Jingu's Geku Outer Shrine is a short walk from this station.42 views
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A short walk from Iga-Ueno Castle and almost next to the ninja house, the Haisei-den was built in 1942 to mark the 300th anniversary of Basho's birth. 41 views
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Stairs to the bleachers which are actually compartments of sitting areas. The bleachers line both sides of the course leading to the steep incline. 41 views
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The jockeys wera a colorful costume, the hanagasa hat has a different decoration (pine tree, peony, iris, etc.) for each jockey. Each jockey represents a local district in Toin town.41 views
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Top floor40 views
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Bust of Kawasaki Katsu.40 views
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The wall has a notch in the middle for the horse to leap up and over. Inabe Shrine's Ageuma ceremony is older than Tado Shrine's. The festival was started in 1192 by the local castle lord and shrine priest to strengthen the spirit of the youth.40 views
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The running course is quite short, maybe 100-150 meters. It cannot be too long or else the horse will get too tired to make the final leap.40 views
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The best part of Kyuka Park is in the Ninomaru area.40 views
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Kyuka Park cherry blossoms in Kuwana, Mie.40 views
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In 1611, Todo Takatora took over Ueno Castle. Iga-Ueno Castle is also a major cherry blossom spot in early April.39 views
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Iga-Ueno Castle and cherry blossoms, Mie Prefecture.39 views
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Inside the castle tower is the Iga Museum of Culture and Industry. This is the first floor.39 views
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Room inside Basho's childhood home.39 views
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Men await for the horse on the incline. They help to get the horse over the top and prevent injury to the rider.39 views
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After a few hind-leg kicks, the horse manages to go over. When the horse goes over, it is an omen that this year's harvest will be abundant. Imagine the enormous pressure on the rider to go over the top.39 views
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This horse was the most successful of the day. It made a clean leap in one try.39 views
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Riders make a "victory lap" within the shrine grounds.39 views
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And there he is.39 views
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Torii gate at Uji Bridge. Very crowded with New Year's worshippers going for hatsumode prayers.39 views
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Iga-Ueno Castle was first built by Takigawa Katsutoshi, a vassal of Kitabatake Nobuaki (Oda Nobuo, Nobunaga's second son). In 1585, Tsutsui Sadatsugu took over.38 views initiated construction of Iga Ueno Castle in 1585. He was followed by Tsutsui Sadatsugu
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In 1980, Ueno Castle served as a backdrop for Kurosawa Akira's movie, Kagemusha.38 views
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The horse makes it over the top. On Sat., the first day of the festival, there are 12 Ageuma runs. On Sunday, the second day, there are six Ageuma runs starting at 1 pm. In the morning, they have a few practice runs, but do not try to go over the top.38 views
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The next rider is prepared. He sits in a sacred compartment, gets his hanagasa hat adjusted, and waits for his horse to arrive. He was stern-faced. There's a 15-20 min. break between each Ageuma run.38 views
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This is near the start of the course where the rider gets on the horse.38 views
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And there he goes up on the incline.38 views
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Victory! Also see my YouTube video here.38 views
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Horse riding ground (baba). It looks like 500 meters or so.38 views
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