JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.

Image search results - "town"
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Road marker. Established in 1642, Moriyama-juku was the sixty-seventh of the sixty-nine stations or shukuba post towns on the Nakasendo Road. It is the eighth Nakasendo station in Shiga (following Musa-juku in Omi-Hachiman).
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Toriimoto-juku is the sixty-third of the sixty-nine stations or shukuba post towns on the Nakasendo Road. It is the fourth Nakasendo station in Shiga (following Bamba-juku in Maibara), and one of ten Nakasendo stations in Shiga.
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Road marker. Go right for the Nakasendo Road. MAP
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Although the Honjin is long gone, there are a few reminders of its shukuba past. Near Ohmi Railways Toriimoto Station. Map
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Rear of road marker
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Ohmi Railways Toriimoto Station platform
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Marker for the Kabuto-ya inn
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Ohmi Railways Toriimoto Station building
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Old Nakasendo Road and Dobashi Bridge. Supposedly, this is the bridge from where Hiroshige drew his print of Moriyama-juku.
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Ohmi Railways Toriimoto Station building
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Dobashi Bridge
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Toriimoto Station building built in 1931 when the station opened and still in use.
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Tomon-in temple built by Buddhist Priest Saicho (Dengyo Daishi) to protect his Enryakuji temple on Mt. Hiei from demons from the east. 東門院
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Toriimoto-juku is the sixty-third of the sixty-nine stations or shukuba post towns on the Nakasendo Road. It is the fourth Nakasendo station in Shiga (following Bamba-juku in Maibara), and one of ten Nakasendo stations in Shiga.
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Kaeru frog to wish you a safe return. 東門院
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樹下神社
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Site of Honjin Lodge
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Ishibe-juku was the 51st stage/post or shukuba lodging town on the Tokaido Road where even Emperor Meiji once stayed (with an entourage of over 3,000). View from JR Ishibe Station. Ishibe in Konan city is rural, yet it has a few major industries operating.
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Kusatsu-juku was the fifty-second station on the Tokaido Road (following Ishibe-juku) and the sixty-eighth station (following Moriyama-juku) on the Nakasendo Road. During the Edo Period, Kusatsu was an important post town at the crossroads of both roads.The roof is shaped like a Honjin lodge, with a gate. 草津駅
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Held during Aug. 3-5 at Taga Taisha Shrine, the Mantosai or 10,000-Lantern Festival is a night festival when numerous lanterns are lit within the shrine grounds. The lanterns are for the repose of ancestral spirits.
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Nakasendo Road
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Taga Taisha Shrine torii near Taga Taisha-mae Station. MAP
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Stone for safe childbirth
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Road to Taga Taisha Shrine
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Tenmangu Shrine
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Homes along the way are decorated.
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Police station
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Tenmangu Shrine
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Near the shrine entrance are the usual food stalls.
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Plaque
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Welcome to Taga
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Taga Taisha Shrine torii
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Road marker
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Mantosai sign under the torii
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Road marker: Go left for the Nakasendo Road or right for the Hikone Road.
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Arched bridge leading to shrine gate.
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JR Ishibe Station, Kusatsu Line
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JR Kusatsu Station
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Site of Musa-juku's Honjin, the town's exclusive lodging for VIPs to stopover or rest. Only the gate remains.
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Boundary between Ome city and Hinode-machi town. I was hiking from Mt. Mitake in neighboring Ome.
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Yakuimon Gate at the Arikawa machiya home. Emperor Meiji rested at the Arikawa home. A family still lives in this home. 有川家住宅 薬医門
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This is the trail from Mt. Mitake to Mt. Hinode.
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Main building of the Arikawa home, Toriimoto's most distinguished-looking building. This main building was built in 1759. The Arikawa family were a drug manufacturer. The home was designated as an Important Cultural Property in 2012.
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Very close to the summit of Hinode-yama. Only one lodge is here.
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Last flight of steps to the summit.
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Kids carrying mikoshi portable shrine. They went to the train station.
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Taga Taisha's lanterns come in five sizes. Each one represents a donation. The donar's name is on the lantern. The biggest lantern requires a donation of 20,000 yen.
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Top of Mt. Hinode-yama
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Each lantern is lit with a small lightbulb. (No candles)
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Top of Mt. Hinode-yama
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Festival schedule, starting at 5:30 pm and ending after 9 pm.
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Benches all over for us to gaze at the panorama.
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Alpine map pointing the way to various areas
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Approaching the main shrine hall.
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These lanterns above are the smallest ones, requiring a donation of only 1,500 yen. They are the most numerous.
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JR Ishibe Station
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Kusatsu town map. Kusatsu basically developed along the old Nakasendo and Tokaido Roads as they intersected before going on to Kyoto, Shiga's neighboring prefecture.
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Musa's Honjin
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Mt. Hinode-yama summit has a little picnic pavilion
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Main shrine hall
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Former Takayama-cho Town Hall 旧高山町役場
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Benches for hikers who had lunch.
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These lanterns hanging in the main shrine hall must be the most expensive ones.
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Former Takayama-cho Town Hall 旧高山町役場
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Spectacular views from the top of Mt. Hinode-yama, Tokyo. But I couldn't recognize any landmarks.
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The shrine also recently got its roof rethatched. The roof looked spanking new.
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Former Takayama-cho Town Hall 旧高山町役場
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Views from the top of Mt. Hinode-yama, Tokyo
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As evening approaches, the crowd increases.
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Views from the top of Mt. Hinode-yama, Tokyo
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Torii with lanterns lit
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Views from the top of Mt. Hinode-yama. The large white building is the Seibu baseball dome in Tokorozawa.
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Gate to shrine
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Surrounding mountains in pastel colors
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Also see the video at YouTube.
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Direct path to Taga Taisha Shrine hall
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Trail to go down
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Lanterns at night
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Going down
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In front of JR Ishibe Station. There are many bicycle garages for out-of-town students who commute from the station to their high school in Ishibe.
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Kusatsu River
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Honjin sign
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Entertainment on stage
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Entertainment with a dragon dance
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Lots of steps, glad I was going down instead of up.
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Taga Taisha Lantern Festival also had some entertainment. Also see my YouTube video here.
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Lots of trees.
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Fork in the road. Turned left for the waterfall trail.
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Log bridge
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Dragon dance
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Gate in front of Ishibe Station
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Oiwake Guidepost road marker at the intersection of the Tokaido and Nakasendo Roads. The left side says "Left for Nakasendo Road" and the right side says "Right for Tokaido Road."
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Hatago inn called Nakamura-ya, this was the only remaining inn in Musa-juku. Unfortunately, this inn was destroyed by an early morning fire on Dec. 10, 2010. No one was hurt. The inn owners were sleeping on the 1st floor and they escaped.
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Pine cone
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Shishimai lion dance
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Okuno village was here.
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Lantern-lit path to Taga Taisha
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Beware of bears...
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Looking up a slope...
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Finally a waterfall
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More waterfalls...
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And more...
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Road marker at the intersection of the Tokaido and Nakasendo RoadsThis tunnel goes under the Kusatsu River.
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Inn sign. The 200-year-old Nakamura-ya inn burned down on Dec. 10, 2010.
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This is the famous Shiraiwa Waterfall. 白岩の滝
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Shiraiwa Waterfall. 白岩の滝
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It's actually a series of small waterfalls. Mt. Hinodeyama, Tokyo.
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Trail to Shiraiwa Waterfalls
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Trail to Shiraiwa Waterfalls
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Entrance to trail to Shiraiwa Waterfalls and Mt. Hinode-yama
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Hiroshige's woodblock print of Ishibe-juku (51st post town on the Tokaido) from his "Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido Road" series. A tea house is depicted.
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Dengaku Chaya tea house reconstructed in 2003 based on Hiroshige's ukiyoe print of Ishibe. A rest place for tourists. Walkable from Ishibe Station. 田楽茶屋The original tea house as seen in Hiroshige's print was located some distance away (nearer to Ritto) from the location of this reconstructed tea house.
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Road marker plaque
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Musa-juku 武佐宿
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Inside reconstructed tea house
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Kusatsu historyBeing a stage town along the Tokaido Road connecting Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto, Kusatsu had over 70 inns for travelers. The best inn was the Honjin, reserved for daimyo warlords, Imperial family members, etc.
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Site of Kojima Honjin and Emperor Meiji marker. The Kojima Honjin was Ishibe-juku's best accommodation suited for feudal lords and emperors.
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Kusatsu-juku Honjin on the Tokaido Road. MAP
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Ishibe was usually the first overnight stop for travelers going from Kyoto to Edo (Tokyo). The Honjin is no longer in existence, and only a normal house sits on the site.
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Kusatsu-juku Honjin. the Honjin was the town's most luxurious accommodation catering to society's elite like daimyo warlords, Imperial family members including the emperor, and other dignitaries. National Historic SiteAt stage towns along the major roads like the Nakasendo and Tokaido, the Honjin was the town's most luxurious accommodation catering to society's elite like daimyo warlords, Imperial family members including the emperor, and other dignitaries. It operated during 1635 to 1870. The Honjin is now a museum.

This Honjin in Kusatsu is a very impressive example of traditional architecture. It is designated as a National Historical Place. It underwent a complete renovation and reconstruction during 1989 to 1995. (In case you wonder why such an old building looks so new.) Admission 200 yen. 10-min. walk from Kusatsu Station.
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Woodblock print of Ishibe-juku
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Kusatsu-juku Honjin entrance. This Honjin in Kusatsu is a very impressive example of traditional architecture. It is designated as a National Historical Place. It underwent a complete renovation and reconstruction during 1989 to 1995. Admission 200 yen.
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Entrance to Ameyama Cultural Sports Park, a low hill with various sports and cultural facilities and hiking trails.
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Genkan Hiroma entrance hall straight ahead. It was the entrance for daimyo feudal lords. 玄関広間
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About the Kusatsu-juku Honjin
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Entrance to Shukuba no Sato, outdoor museum of stage town buildings 宿場の里 MAP
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Sekifuda name plates in Genkan Hiroma entrance hall. This is what you see when you enter the Honjin through the Genkan Hiroma entrance hall. The name plate for the warlord staying at the lodge was displayed. 玄関広間This is what you see when you enter the Honjin through the Genkan Hiroma entrance hall. The name plate for the warlord staying at the lodge was displayed here.
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About Shukuba no Sato. Interesting outdoor museum of Edo-Period buildings accurately reconstructed as was found in Ishibe-juku. You can find a farmer's house, merchant's house, inn, tea house, and warehouse. The inside is also quite authentic.
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Kusatsu-juku Honjin corridor. Pass by numerous Japanese-style rooms. 畳廊下畳廊下
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Gate 関所
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Kusatsu-juku Honjin guest book. See the names of Kira and Lord Asano both of whom once lodged at this Honjin (at different times). These two men later became adversaries which led to the legendary chushingura or vendetta of the 47 masterless samurai. 大You can see the names of Kira and Lord Asano both of whom once lodged at this Honjin (at different times). These two men later became adversaries which led to the legendary chushingura or vendetta of the 47 masterless samurai.

大福帳
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Traditional farmer's house 農家
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Jodan no Ma: Kusatsu-juku Honjin's best room in the house. Reserved for daimyo warlords, emperors, etc. 上段の間

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Traditional farmer's house
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Jodan no Ma - Kusatsu-juku Honjin's best room in the house. Reserved for daimyo warlords, emperors, etc. 上段の間
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Traditional farmer's house
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Jodan no Ma - Kusatsu-juku Honjin. The Gyokuza raised tatami mats was where the lord or Emperor slept or sat. 上段の間Reserved for daimyo warlords, emperors, etc.
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Traditional farmer's house
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Jodan no Ma - Kusatsu-juku Honjin's best room in the houseReserved for daimyo warlords, emperors, etc. The room had an elevated tatami mat for the person to sit and sleep on.

上段の間
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Old farming implements (for irrigation)
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Mukae Jodan no Ma 向上段の間向上段の間
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Farmer's house
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Mukae Jodan no Ma. Painting on the fusuma sliding doors by Matsumura Keibun. 向上段の間
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Merchant's house 商家
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Urinal (made of lacquered wood) for warlords. The room has two tatami mats. Right below the urinal is a bamboo mat. Above is a small shoji paper window to provide light.
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Merchant's house
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Toilet (made of lacquered wood) for warlords. This is a separate room adjacent to the urinal. It also has two tatami mats. The walls are plain and not decorated. The toilet had a box which was likely replaced each time it was used. 上段雪隠This is a separate room adjacent to the urinal. It also has two tatami mats. The walls are plain and not decorated. The toilet had a box which was likely replaced each time it was used.

Jodan settin

上段雪隠
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Inn (hatago) 旅籠
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Marker for Emperor Meiji's visit and outdoor garden
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Guest name plates in the inn
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Outdoor garden
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Inn
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Inn kitchen
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Yudono bath room for warlords. The hot water was heated nearby and carried to this room. 湯殿

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Bath for feudal lordsLooks kind of small to me.

湯殿
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Rice warehouse
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Kitchen (Daidokoro doma). Dirt-floored room with wood-heated stoves. High ceiling with no chimney, but the ceiling has a covered opening. 台所土間
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Rice warehouse
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Honjin owner Tanaka's house
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Tea house
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Honjin owner Tanaka's house
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Tea house
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Honjin owner's house
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Ceiling
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Old fire truck
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Kusatsu-juku Kaido Koryu-kan is a history museum with various exhibits showing Kusatsu's post town history. Admission 200 yen. You can buy a set ticket good for both the Honjin and this history museum. 草津街道交流館
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Kusatsu-juku Kaido Koryu-kan. Terminals are provided to find information about Kusatsu. 草津街道交流館 MAP
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Tokaido History Museum is adjacent to Shukuba no Sato. It explains the 53 stage towns of the Tokaido Road between Edo and Kyoto. 東海道歴史資料館
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Kusatsu-juku Kaido Koryu-kan 草津街道交流館
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Tokaido History Museum includes an accurate model of Ishibe-juku's palatial Kojima Honjin.
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Kusatsu-juku Kaido Koryu-kan. Sample food from the old days, dinner on left and breakfast on right. 草津街道交流館
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Ishibe Town logo
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Photo op room at Kusatsu-juku Kaido Koryu-kan. You can dress up as a traveler on the Tokaido/Nakasendo Road and take a picture of yourself. You can even sit in the palanquin. A tripod is provided too. 草津街道交流館
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Church house
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Palanquin at Kusatsu-juku Kaido Koryu-kan 草津街道交流館For photos.
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Church house
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Ukiyoe prints of Kusatsu-juku at Kusatsu-juku Kaido Koryu-kan 草津街道交流館
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Ishibe High School. Rare to see a Japanese high school whose name is shown in English.
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Kusatsu-juku Kaido Koryu-kan草津街道交流館
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Model of the town at the Kusatsu-juku Kaido Koryu-kan 草津街道交流館
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Waki Honjin souvenir shop and restaurant脇本陣
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Temple with road marker
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Closeup of road marker indicating the Tokaido Road to the right and Nakasendo to the left.
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Ohmi Railways Amago Station, Kora town's only train station. It is parallel to the shinkansen bullet train tracks on the left.
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Ohmi Railways Amago Station platform. The station building (community house) can be seen ahead on the left.
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The Amago Station building is called the Amago Community House. Built in Nov. 2003, it's still quite new, but looks under used.
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Entering Ohmi Railways Amago Station which is also a community house.
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Inside Ohmi Railways Amago Station
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Ohmi Railways Amago Station front view. 尼子駅
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Ohmi Railways Amago Station side view
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Ohmi Railways train near Amago Station. Also see my YouTube video here.
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Kora Shrine (Kora Jinja) 甲良神社
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Kora Shrine torii. MAP
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Kora Shrine
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Kora Shrine
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Kora Shrine Honden Hall
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Kora Shrine
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Kora Shrine Honden Hall
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Kora Shrine Honden Hall
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Kora Shrine's Gonden Hall is on the left of the Honden main hall. This is an Important Cultural Property. It used to be the Honden before the shrine was renovated in 1883. 権殿
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Kora Shrine's Gonden Hall is believed to date from the early Edo Period.
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Kora Jinja's Gonden Hall
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On the right of the Honden Hall is this Kora-ishi rock. Although the triangular rock looks small above ground, it is believed to be a huge rock underground. Size unknown. They say that touching the rock brings misfortunes. So it is fenced off. 甲良石
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