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Kenji Miyazawa Dowa Mura (fairy tale village)

Kenji Miyazawa was a famous Japanese author of children’s literature and poet. Some of his famous works are ‘Night on the Galactic railroad and ‘Gauche and the Cellist’.

The park features a strange experience through surrealistic rooms and buildings, as well as small interwinding paths through the forests surrounding the park. The mysterious rooms at Kenji’s school each explore a new world, from a mirror room to a insect world where size is inverted.

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Kenji’s classrooms are a row of wooden log houses each exhibiting a interesting way to learn about animals, plants, stars and rocks that appear in Kenji Miyazawa’s fairy tales.

Then don’t forget to pop into the last class to buy and take home a gift.

Kenji Miyazawa Dowa Mura is a great family trip when in Iwate where you can get lost in the strange fantasy world.

Text & Photo by Shana L.

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Kamo aquarium

Kamo aquarium is along the coast line of Tsuruoka city and is near a harbour. The aquarium itself is known for and has a large collection of jellyfish. It also has a small section where you can see the evolution of the jellyfish as it ages which is something quite amazing. There is a unusual selection sea life, local fishes, anemones and crabs and finally a sea lion show which is on multiple times throughout the day. The aquarium is quite popular and is busy during the weekends so it is better if you have the chance to go during the week. At the end, visit the gift shop and take a venture at tasting the unusual aquarium speciality, Jelly fish ice-cream.

Text & Photo by Shana L

Kamo aquarium Web

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Sankyo Soko ( Rice Storehouse )

Constructed in 1893, Sankyo Rice Storehouse is comprised of 12 storehouses. This facility was only used for storing rice, and 9 of the storehouses are still in use today. The rest have been renovated into the Shonai Rice Museum and Sakata Yume no Kura.

The insulted double-tiered roof, the whitewashed plaster walls, and the soil floor containing magnesium chloride, were constructed to prevent humidity and maintain a low temperature to keep rice quality stable year round. The walls at the back of the storehouses are covered with the line of zelkova trees not only provides shade from the sun, but also protects all 12 buildings from the wind.

The rice used to be packed in rice bales made of straw. One bale was 60 kg, which is approx. 27 lb. A single storehouse can hold 20,000 bales (1,200 tons; approx. 550,000 lb. )  Given that there are 9 storehouses still used, a total of 180,000 bales ( 10,800 tons; approx. 5,000,000 lb.) are stored.

People in Sakata have admired and regarded Sankyo Rice Storehouse and the zelkova trees as a symbol of prosperity, and thus a symbol of the city.

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The well-known TV drama Oshin was filmed in many places in Yamagata Prefecture, and one of the filming locations was here at Sankyo Rice Storehouse. The drama aired from 1983 to 1984, and after that was broadcast in many countries all over the world. The scene at the storehouse was rather short, but it moved the audience to tears. This memorable touching scene has made the location so famous that a lot of travelers visit every year.
(from Sankyo Soko Pamphlet )


about Sankyo Soko

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Sakata Sanno-sai Sairei Kame Kasa Hoko

Sakata Sanno-sai Sairei Kame Kasa Hoko
Skata city-designated tangible folklore cultural asset

During the Chinju Hie Shrine Festival in Sakata, called Sakata Sanno-sai (presently the Sakata Festival ), each neighborhood contributed a float the festival, Mitsuoka Honma, head of the third generation of the Honma Family, commissioned the Kame Kasa Hoko parade float to contribute splendor to the Sanno Festival and enliven the city. Taking a hint from the Kyoto Gion Festival, in 1765 he had the float built by a Kyoto puppeteer and brought by ship to Sakata.

A Kame Hoko ( turtle float )was chosen because the Kamegasaki Castle was a part of Sakata’s his tory. And turtles were thought to be messengers of the Sea God’s Palace and thus considered very auspicious.

IMG_5052In addition, the head of this turtle resembles the head of dragon. This is apparently connected to the fact that the Sintai god at Kamihie Shrine is dragon god.

For many years, each time the Sanno Festival was held the float was placed in front of the Honma Residence. It was also part of the parade procession and came to be known as “The Honma Family’s turtle.”
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In February 2001, it was donated the city of Sakata and designated as a tangible folklore cultural asset. For the two years 2001 and 2002 it underwent repairs and the umbrella was newly restored.

Kamikasa Hoko has an intimate history connected with the Sakata Sanno Festival.
(Sakata Board of Education)

(Displayed in Sankyo Souko)

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Shinjo-station

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Situated in the north-eastern part of Yamagata Prefecture, Shinjo is a town of 40,000 people known for its tremendous snowfall. During the winter, when the town is transformed into a mountain of snow piled deeper than two meters, the people of Shinjo spend their days shoveling and ploughing. When the harsh winter subsides and spring comes to Shinjo, the citizens celebrate the changing seasons with an event called the Kadoyaki Festival, where they eat Pacific Herring (which they call Kado in their local dialect). In summer, they parade grand festival floats around town to celebrate their Shinjo Festival, which started 260 years ago. In fall, they hold a festival to fly traditional kites. Shinjo Station is the terminal station for the Yamagata Shinkansen, which connects Tokyo and Yamagata, letting more people than ever to bask in the welcoming glow of these festivals. Visitors will delight in seeing the magnificent festival floats or the beautifully decorated kites.

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