JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Due to COVID-19, traveling to and within Japan is currently being discouraged.

Last additions
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Apr 19, 2020
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Plaque on "Tofu Road" where there were many tofu maker/sellers. Afuri tofu is famous because of Oyama's good water. Local inns started making tofu with the local water and the soybeans pilgrims brought as payment for lodging.Apr 19, 2020
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Names of pilgrimage groups and individuals along the roadside.Apr 19, 2020
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TanukiApr 19, 2020
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We walked back down the Koma-sando steps.Apr 19, 2020
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Motodaki Falls where worshippers would purify themselves before going to worship. 元滝Apr 19, 2020
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Oyama Cable Station.Apr 19, 2020
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Passing loop at Oyama-dera Station.Apr 19, 2020
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Oyama Cable car tracks going down.Apr 19, 2020
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Oyama Cable car going down.Apr 19, 2020
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Steps back down. Mt. Oyama has Oyama-dera and a few other notable spots, but we didn't have time to visit them this day.Apr 19, 2020
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Frog for a safe return. "Kaeru"Apr 19, 2020
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Lion statue at the shrine entrance.Apr 19, 2020
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Apr 19, 2020
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Hazy when we were there, but Enoshima island would be visible on clear days.Apr 19, 2020
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Afuri Shrine's Sekison cafe also has this outdoor counter with a view. On clear days, Enoshima and the ocean can be seen. 石尊Apr 19, 2020
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Galette for lunch. (ガレット)Apr 19, 2020
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Afuri Shrine's cafe named Sekison, the indoor dining room. Open 9:30 am–4 pm. 石尊Apr 19, 2020
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About Nuno-maneki banners.Apr 19, 2020
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Nuno-maneki banners.Apr 19, 2020
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Names of worshippers who had tattoos. Their names also have labels describing their tattoos for ID purposes.Apr 19, 2020
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Apr 19, 2020
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Oyama Afuri Shrine priest Kunihiko Meguro showed us a large wooden sword that was offered by a pilgrimage group.Apr 19, 2020
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Apr 19, 2020
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Names of shrine supporters.Apr 19, 2020
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Oyama Afuri Shrine priest Kunihiko Meguro showed us a large wooden sword that was offered to the shrine by a pilgrimage group in 1905. (大山阿夫利神社).The tradition of bringing and offering a sword by pilgrimage groups started with Kamakura-based Shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147–1199) who offered a sword to the shrine to pray for the defeat of his enemy, the Taira Clan. The offered swords got as big as 6 meters long made of wood.Apr 19, 2020
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Oyama Afuri Shrine altar (大山阿夫利神社).Apr 19, 2020
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Inside Oyama Afuri Shrine (大山阿夫利神社).Apr 19, 2020
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Apr 19, 2020
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In the shrine's Kyakuden lobby, a screen partition depicting the Ranryo-o court dance. 蘭陵王Apr 19, 2020
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ぼけ封じ守護神Apr 19, 2020
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Religious sculptures, monuments, and a wooden sword offering displayed in the shrine's Haiden basement passage. 一礼来福Apr 19, 2020
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In the shrine's Haiden basement passage, Oyama meisui sacred water from a natural spring in the shrine's basement. You can fill your water bottle with this drinkable water. 大山名水Apr 19, 2020
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Steps to the Honsha main shrine on the mountaintop. From here, it's about a 90-min. hike to the Honsha main shrine on the summit.Apr 19, 2020
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Entrance to the hiking path to the Honsha main shrine on Mt. Oyama's summit. Takes about 2 hours to reach the summit. Steep and rocky trail. 登拝門Apr 19, 2020
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O-tengu goblin monument. 大天狗Apr 19, 2020
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Children's monument from the city of Kawasaki.Apr 19, 2020
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Monument from a pilgrimage group from Yanaka.Apr 19, 2020
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Lots of monuments at Oyama Afuri Shrine.Apr 19, 2020
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Ema tablet with a tengu goblin and Haiden Hall.Apr 19, 2020
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Huge monument that everyone stares at and wonder what it is. This sculpture of steel water buckets seems to be related to fire prevention, donated by people from Kawagoe, Saitama. 武蔵 川越Apr 19, 2020
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Kyakuden waiting room for worshippers. 客殿Apr 19, 2020
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Haiden prayer hall. On the right of the Haiden, you can see the entrance to the basement where there is natural spring. 拝殿Apr 19, 2020
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Oyama Afuri Shrine (大山阿夫利神社) Haiden prayer hall. The shrine was built to bring rain for agriculture. One of the gods enshrined is the father of Mt. Fuji's goddess. 拝殿Apr 19, 2020
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About Afuri Shrine.Apr 19, 2020
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About Afuri Shrine. Google Map to Afuri ShrineApr 19, 2020
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Oyama mountain of lions surrounded by animals from the Oriental zodiac. This is actually a large rock brought here from Mt. Fuji. Mt. Oyama's deity is the father of Mt. Fuji's goddess. 獅子山Apr 19, 2020
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Torii at the top of the steps and Oyama mountain of lions.Apr 19, 2020
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In the old days, it was a tradition for pilgrimage groups to worship at Oyama and offer a large wooden sword as depicted by this statue. The offertory swords were small at first, then they got as big as 6 meters long. Pilgrimage groups (called -ko 講) from the same area or occupation still come to worship at Mt. Oyama.Apr 19, 2020
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Stone markers engraved with names of shrine donors and their locale.Apr 19, 2020
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Steps to Afuri Jinja Shrine are lined with stone markers engraved with names of shrine donors.Apr 19, 2020
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Apr 19, 2020
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Way to Afuri Shrine. Mt. Oyama once had many temples and shrines allied with local feudal lords. But they were forced to disband by the Tokugawa shogunate during the Edo Period until only two were left: Oyama Afuri Shine and Oyama-dera Temple. Apr 19, 2020
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After about 6 min., we reached Afuri Jinja Station, the last stop.Apr 19, 2020
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Passing loop at Oyama-dera Station.Apr 19, 2020
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Inside the Oyama Cable car.Apr 19, 2020
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To visit Oyama-dera Buddhist Temple, get of at this station. (During this trip, we didn't visit Oyama-dera Temple, dedicated to Fudo Myo-o.)Apr 19, 2020
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There's only one station in-between where the trains going in opposite directions pass each other. This is Oyama-dera Station if you want to visit Oyama-dera Temple.Apr 19, 2020
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At the Oyama Cable Station, we took the cable car halfway up the mountain to Afuri Jinja Station. It's 280 meters long up the slope and runs every 20 min. from 9 am to 5 pm on weekends or until 4:30 pm on weekdays. It's also possible to hike up.Apr 19, 2020
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Poster to recruit omiko shrine maidens for New Year's 2020. They won't get paid much. ¥1,020/hour.Apr 19, 2020
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Oyama Cable Station ticket window.Apr 19, 2020
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Oyama Cable StationApr 19, 2020
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Oyama Cable Car hours.Apr 19, 2020
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Almost at cable car station.Apr 19, 2020
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Pilgrimage monument.Apr 19, 2020
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Souvenir shops.Apr 19, 2020
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Entrance to Negishi Ryokan, one of many pilgrims' inns called "shukubo" where pilgrims would stay. During the Edo Period, Oyama had hundreds of pilgrims' inns, but now only about 40+ remain. 根岸旅館Shukubo lodging rates start from ¥10,000 per person per night including dinner and breakfast. To search for a shukubo on Oyama, see http://ooyama-ryokan.com/english/index.htmlApr 19, 2020
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More names of pilgrims.Apr 19, 2020
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Apr 19, 2020
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14th landing on the path.Apr 19, 2020
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More steps. Just walk up at a leisurely pace.Apr 19, 2020
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More tops.Apr 19, 2020
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Looking back down the path.Apr 19, 2020
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Apr 19, 2020
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This path is not wheelchair accessible.Apr 19, 2020
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Tanuki at shop entrances is common on Oyama. Afuri tofu cuisine is also recommended.Apr 19, 2020
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Pilgrimage groups formed among neighborhoods and occupations and they sent delegations to Oyama every year to pray on the group's behalf. It took 2 to 3 days to walk from Edo/Tokyo.Mt. Oyama became a destination for fun besides religion. Along the Koma-sando, you can see these many stone monuments and plaques engraved with the names of pilgrims and pilgrimage groups who worshipped on Oyama. Lots of names everywhere on this mountain.Apr 19, 2020
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Tops for sale.Apr 19, 2020
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Maker of tops with a lathe.Apr 19, 2020
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The Koma-sando path to Oyama Cable Station is mainly concrete steps lined with souvenir shops, restaurants, and ryokan inns for pilgrims.Apr 19, 2020
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How to count the tops on the Koma-sando path.Apr 19, 2020
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Tops on the Koma-sando path. "Koma" means "top."Apr 19, 2020
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About spinning tops in Oyama. Made locally with lathes and used as amulets or gifts.Apr 19, 2020
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Koma-sando is a path of steps leading to the temple and shrine. It passes by souvenir shops, eateries, and inns and goes to the Oyama Cable Station. It's not too strenuous, taking about 20 min. こま参道Apr 19, 2020
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Way to Koma-sando path.Apr 19, 2020
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Entrance to the uphill Koma-sando path to Oyama Cable car station. Apr 19, 2020
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Statue from Oyama-dera Temple greeting worshippers.Apr 19, 2020
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Sloping path.Apr 19, 2020
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Tops on the local fire station.Apr 19, 2020
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Got off the bus at the Oyama Cable bus stop and walk to the Koma-sando path nearby.Apr 19, 2020
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From Isehara Station's North Exit, go to bus stop 4 and take the bus going to Oyama Cable bus stop, taking about 30 min.Apr 19, 2020
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From Isehara Station's North Exit, there was this long line for the bus stop 4. Some people were going on a different bus, but we all got on the right bus.Apr 19, 2020
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One easy way to explore Mt. Oyama: 1. From Isehara Station Kitaguchi (North Exit), go to bus stop 4 and take a bus for Oyama Cable (30 min). 2. From the bus stop, walk up the Koma-sando path to Oyama Cable Station (20 min.).
3. Take the Oyama Cable car to Afuri Jinja Station. (6 min.).
4. Visit Oyama Afuri Shrine Shimosha.
5. Take the Oyama Cable car back down. If you want, get off at Oyama-dera Station to visit Oyama-dera Temple.
6. From Oyama Cable Station, walk back down the Koma-sando path to Oyama Cable bus stop for the bus back to Isehara Station.
Apr 19, 2020
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Mt. Oyama once had so many pilgrims that several roads from Tokyo (Edo) and surrounding areas leading to Oyama were dubbed "Oyama-do Road" (大山道).The road named Aoyama-dori Oyama Road started from Akasaka and passed through Sangenjaya (Three Teahouses). Sangenjaya originally had only two teahouses serving pilgrims going to Oyama. A third teahouse was added to serve the many Oyama pilgrims and that's how Sangenjaya got its name.Apr 19, 2020
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Pyramid-shaped Mt. Oyama is also called "Amefuri-yama" or mountain of abundant rain since it was often shrouded in clouds. Farmers prayed to the mountain for rain. The mountain's deity, Oyama-tsumi-no-Kami, is the father of the goddess of nearby Mt. Fuji. It is also a Japan Heritage site. A great time to visit would be in mid-November for the autumn leaves.Apr 19, 2020
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Mt. Oyama in Isehara, Kanagawa is about halfway to Hakone near Mt. Fuji. Easy day trip from Tokyo. During the Edo Period (1603–1867), Mt. Oyama was very popular for pilgrimages by the fun-loving masses in Edo/Tokyo.It had many shrines and temples and mountain ascetic priests. When Edo/Tokyo's pop. was 1 million, Oyama saw 200,000 pilgrims per year. Today, there are fewer shrines and temples and pilgrims, but it's still a pleasant place to visit and less crowded than more well-known spots. The main attractions are Oyama Afuri Shrine and Oyama-dera Temple.
From Shinjuku, take the Odakyu Line to Isehara Station (about 1 hour). Get out the North Exit, and go to bus stop 4 to take the bus to the Oyama Cable stop. Google Map to Mt. Oyama
Apr 19, 2020
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Shuzenji Temple's wedded trees (two tree trunks growing from the same roots) and child tree.Apr 19, 2020
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Hie Shrine's amulet for finding a good partner.Apr 19, 2020
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Ota-juku was the 51st shukuba lodging town on the old Nakasendo Road linking Tokyo (Edo) and Kyoto. The old Nakasendo Road and some remnants of the shukuba still remain. Ota-juku is adjacent to Kiso River and one of the 17 Nakasendo lodging towns in Gifu Prefecture. This Hiroshige woodblock print of Ota-juku shows the Kiso River crossing to Ota-juku, one of the most difficult segments of the Nakasendo.Apr 17, 2020
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JR Mino-Ota Station platform.Apr 17, 2020
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JR Mino-Ota StationApr 17, 2020
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JR Mino-Ota Station platform.Apr 17, 2020
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Poster inside JR Mino-Ota Station.Apr 17, 2020
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Inside JR Mino-Ota Station.Apr 17, 2020
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JR Mino-Ota Station on the Takayama Main Line. The closest station to Ota-juku. Impressive building. There's a tourist information office too.Apr 17, 2020
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Old map of Ota-juku showing the names of all the homes.Apr 17, 2020
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Old map of Ota-juku.Apr 17, 2020
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Ota-juku manhole, Mino-Kamo, Gifu Prefecture. Depicts a river boat man.Apr 17, 2020
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Roof ornament.Apr 17, 2020
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Apr 17, 2020
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About the Kanmachi Masugata.Apr 17, 2020
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Apr 17, 2020
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Walking back west on the Nakasendo in Ota-juku.Apr 17, 2020
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Old roof at Yusenji Temple in Ota-juku, Gifu. 祐泉寺Apr 17, 2020
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Yusenji Temple in Ota-juku, Gifu. 祐泉寺Apr 17, 2020
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Yusenji Temple in Ota-juku, Gifu. 祐泉寺Apr 17, 2020
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Yusenji Temple in Ota-juku, Gifu. 祐泉寺Apr 17, 2020
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Yusenji Temple in Ota-juku, Gifu. 祐泉寺Apr 17, 2020
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Yusenji Temple in Ota-juku, Gifu. 祐泉寺Apr 17, 2020
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About Yusenji Temple founded in 1474. The temple has a poem monument for Basho.Apr 17, 2020
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Yusenji Temple in Ota-juku, Gifu. 祐泉寺Apr 17, 2020
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Yusenji Temple is a Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple, Myōshin-ji school. 祐泉寺Apr 17, 2020
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Gate to Yusenji Temple in Ota-juku, Gifu. 祐泉寺Apr 17, 2020
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Rear entrance to Komatsu-ya.Apr 17, 2020
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Small desk was for the merchant at work for his tobacco business at Komatsu-ya or Yoshida Family Residence (吉田家住宅).Apr 17, 2020
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Small desk was for the merchant to receive business people while taking care of tobacco business at Komatsu-ya or Yoshida Family Residence (吉田家住宅).Apr 17, 2020
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Yoshida Family Residence (吉田家住宅).Apr 17, 2020
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Yoshida Family Residence (吉田家住宅).Apr 17, 2020
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Small desk was for the merchant taking care of tobacco business at Komatsu-ya or Yoshida Family Residence (吉田家住宅).Apr 17, 2020
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Yoshida Family Residence was originally one of the 20 inns in Ota-juku.Apr 17, 2020
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Yoshida Family Residence (吉田家住宅) was first operated as an inn during the Edo Period for Ise Grand Shrine pilgrims, then became tobacco merchant Komatsu-ya from the 1920s.Apr 17, 2020
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Entrance hall of Yoshida Family Residence (吉田家住宅). The residence is a National Tangible Cultural Property.Apr 17, 2020
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Yoshida Family Residence (吉田家住宅), another Ota-juku building open to the public. It operated as a famous hatago inn named Komatsuya (小松屋), and later as a tobacco shop from the 1920s.Apr 17, 2020
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Ai-Ai bus stop signApr 17, 2020
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Former Juroku Bank, Ota Branch. 旧十六銀行 太田支店Apr 17, 2020
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Former Juroku Bank, Ota Branch. 旧十六銀行 太田支店Apr 17, 2020
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This building used to be the Juroku Bank, Ota Branch from 1907 to 1965. 旧十六銀行 太田支店Apr 17, 2020
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Ota-juku lanternApr 17, 2020
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Ota-juku lanternApr 17, 2020
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Apr 17, 2020
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Looks like a modernized version. Ota-juku, Gifu.Apr 17, 2020
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Walking further east in Nakasendo Ota-juku.Apr 17, 2020
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Apr 17, 2020
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Ota-juku, Minokamo, Gifu.Apr 17, 2020
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Ceiling of Ota Waki-Honjin secondary residence.Apr 17, 2020
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Apr 17, 2020
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Ota Waki-Honjin secondary residence rear.Apr 17, 2020
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Ota Waki-Honjin secondary residence has Udatsu roof firewall. Ota-juku, Gifu.Apr 17, 2020
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Ota Waki-Honjin secondary residence's garden.Apr 17, 2020
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Apr 17, 2020
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Inside Ota Waki-Honjin secondary residence. 太田宿 脇本陣 隠居Apr 17, 2020
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Inside Ota Waki-Honjin residence's kitchen not open to the public. 太田宿 脇本陣 隠居Apr 17, 2020
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Inside Ota Waki-Honjin secondary residence. 太田宿 脇本陣 隠居Apr 17, 2020
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Inside Ota Waki-Honjin secondary residence. 太田宿 脇本陣 隠居Apr 17, 2020
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Ota Waki-Honjin secondary residence. 太田宿 脇本陣Apr 17, 2020
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Built in 1769, the Ota-juku Waki-Honjin was a backup VIP lodge in addition to the Honjin. Operated by the Hayashi family since the latter 1700s. Hayashi family head also served as the Ota-juku headman along with the Honjin's Fukuda family head. 太Apr 17, 2020
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Ota Waki-Honjin secondary residence is open to the public.Apr 17, 2020
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Ota Waki-Honjin Hayashi Residence formerly for Ota-juku VIPs. This main building is not open to the public, but the adjacent Ota Waki-Honjin secondary residence is open to the public. 太田脇本陣林家住宅This is the original location. National Important Cultural Property. 国の重要文化財Apr 17, 2020
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Ota Waki-Honjin secondary residence (inkyo) is open to the public. 太田宿 脇本陣 隠居Apr 17, 2020
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Ota Waki-Honjin's udatsu roof firewall in Ota-juku, Gifu Prefecture. Udatsu was also a status symbol.Apr 17, 2020
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Built in 1769, the Ota-juku Waki-Honjin was a backup VIP lodge in addition to the Honjin. It has this udatsu roof firewall in Ota-juku, Gifu Prefecture. The Ota Waki-Honjin retains much of its original Edo Period exterior. Part of the house is open to the public.Apr 17, 2020
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From Ota-juku Nakasendo Museum, we walked east along the Naasendo Road.Apr 17, 2020
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Ota-juku Nakasendo MuseumApr 17, 2020
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Mechanical water well outside the museum.Apr 17, 2020
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Museum restaurant Yadorigi.Apr 17, 2020
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Senbei crackers from Ota-juku.Apr 17, 2020
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About Nakasendo's three difficult segments.Apr 17, 2020
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Museum gift shop.Apr 17, 2020
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Nakasendo traveler's clothing.Apr 17, 2020
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Cormorant fishing on the river.Apr 17, 2020
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Document about the Ota-juku's boat men from 1610.Apr 17, 2020
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Apr 17, 2020
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About the boat men.Apr 17, 2020
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Travel diaries of the Ota-juku river crossing.Apr 17, 2020
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Apr 17, 2020
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Model of a river boat that can endure high waves.Apr 17, 2020
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About river rafts.Apr 17, 2020
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River raft used to transport logs on the river.Apr 17, 2020
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Showcase exhibits.Apr 17, 2020
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Video screening space.Apr 17, 2020
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Apr 17, 2020
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Famous people from Ota-juku. Apr 17, 2020
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The 17 shukuba lodging towns or post towns in Gifu Prefecture.Apr 17, 2020
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About Ota-juku's Honjin (Fukuda Residence). 太田宿本陣福田家Apr 17, 2020
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About Ota-jukuApr 17, 2020
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About the Ota Magistrate's office. 尾張藩太田代官所Apr 17, 2020
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Scale model of the Ota Magistrate's office. 尾張藩太田代官所Apr 17, 2020
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KimonoApr 17, 2020
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Facade of a hatago inn.Apr 17, 2020
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Ota-yaApr 17, 2020
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Ota-ya traveler's storeApr 17, 2020
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Kano-yaApr 17, 2020
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Reconstruction of a shop.Apr 17, 2020
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Museum rules: No smoking, eating or drinking. Unfortunately, there's no English.Apr 17, 2020
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Way to museum exhibits explaining local cultural history.Open 9 am to 5 pm, closed Mon. and Dec. 29–Jan. 3. https://kaikan.ootajuku.net/Apr 17, 2020
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Inside Ota-juku Nakasendo Museum. Free admission.Apr 17, 2020
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About Chinese hackberry and mistletoe.Apr 17, 2020
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About the treeApr 17, 2020
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Tree of Love. The leaves are ball shaped. Chinese hackberry in Ota-juku, Minokamo, Gifu.Apr 17, 2020
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Ota-juku Nakasendo Museum 太田宿中山道会館Apr 17, 2020
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Ota-juku Nakasendo Museum and reconstruction of manga artist Okamoto Ippei's house. 太田宿中山道会館 + 糸遊庵Apr 17, 2020
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Wide Kiso Riverside walkway.Apr 17, 2020
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Relief sculpture by local kids.Apr 17, 2020
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Kiso RiverApr 17, 2020
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Ota-juku is parallel to Kiso River 木曽川Apr 17, 2020
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Kiso River with Ota Bridge where travelers crossed the river in the old days on the Nakasendo Road. 太田の渡し場太田橋Apr 17, 2020
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Ota-juku Honjin layout. The original Honjin was a large Japanese-style mansion with many rooms. It was in the center of Ota-juku and operated by the Fukuda family whose head also served as the Ota-juku headman.In the Meiji Period, the Honjin was used as the Ota Town Hall.Apr 17, 2020
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Kiso Riverside rest house. Great for a walk or cycling.Apr 17, 2020
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Ota-juku Honjin Gate rear view. 太田宿本陣門Apr 17, 2020
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Ota-juku Honjin Gate. In Oct. 2002, the gate was diassembled and repaired before being reassembled. 太田宿本陣門Apr 17, 2020
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Ota-juku Honjin Gate side view. This is not the original location of this gate. It was moved here during the 1920s or 30s. The Honjin was originally near the still existing Waki-Honjin. 太田宿本陣門Apr 17, 2020
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Ota-juku Honjin Gate front view. Too bad the Honjin is gone. Ota-juku's Honjin was rebuilt anew to lodge Princess Kazunomiya when she was to travel from Kyoto to Tokyo to marry Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi in 1861. 太田宿本陣門Apr 17, 2020
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Larger map of Ota-juku.Apr 17, 2020
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Across from Ota-juku Nakasendo Museum is the original front gate for the Ota-juku Honjin. The Honjin was the lodging town's centerpiece where VIPs like daimyo lords and Imperial family members would stay when passing through.Apr 17, 2020
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Entrance to Ota-juku Nakasendo Museum. Parking also available here.Apr 17, 2020
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Tourist walking map of Ota-juku. From Ota-juku Nakasendo Museum, most sights are within walking distance.Apr 17, 2020
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There are signboards in English. This is at the entrance to Ota-juku Nakasendo Museum.Apr 17, 2020
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By 1843, Ota-juku was about 680 meters long with one Honjin, one Waki-Honjin (partially open to the public), 3 toiyaba, 20 hatago inns, and 118 homes. 505 people lived in Ota-juku.A major highlight was when Princess Kazunomiya (1846–1877) arrived and stayed in Ota-juku on Oct. 27, 1861 on her way to Edo/Tokyo to marry the shogun. She had such a huge entourage that it took them 4 days to pass through Ota-juku.Apr 17, 2020
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General information for visitors. The museum has three floors.Apr 17, 2020
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Mino mascotsApr 17, 2020
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Mino washi postcardsApr 17, 2020
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Washi umbrellasApr 17, 2020
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Washi uchiwa fansApr 17, 2020
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Wash for various purposesApr 17, 2020
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Paper for everyday useApr 17, 2020
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The spread of paperApr 17, 2020
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Mechanized papermakingApr 17, 2020
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Washi paper lanternApr 17, 2020
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Washi hatApr 17, 2020
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About washi yarn.Apr 17, 2020
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Yarn and speaker cones made of Mino washi.Apr 17, 2020
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Japanese styleApr 17, 2020
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