中山道 終着点、出発地点の京都 三条大橋

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中山道六十九次の旅は日本橋から出発して、此所で終着。街道は歴史の旅でもあった、日本橋を発って、途中からの日本の心の源を訪ねる旅に入り、地理的に文化が変化している様、遙か古代から変わっていない事も有ることを知り得た旅でもあった。


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Stages of the Nakasendo From Agematsu to Suhara

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The Agematsu Stage: Agematsu Town, Kiso County, Nagano Prefecture
*** 281km from Nihonbashi, Tokyo / 251km to Sanjo Ohashi in Kyoto ***
The Suhara Stage: Okuwa Town, Kiso County, Nagano Prefecture

From a side-road at Ontake Shrine, a small path continues along a high elevation with the Kiso River down on the right. From the ichirizuka mile stone at Mizukake Kannon temple, the path continues along the Kiso River. At the Kiso Bridge, the road enters Agematsu, a post town that thrived in olden times as a collection and distribution point for Kiso cypress trees. It contains numerous famous and historical sites. But even here, the old Nakasendo Highway is still difficult to follow, and we need perseverance and determination to continue without losing our way.
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Stages of the Nakasendo From Midono to Tsumago

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The Midono Stage: Minami-Kiso Town, Kiso County, Nagano Prefecture
*** 316km from Nihonbashi, Tokyo / 216km to Sanjo Ohashi in Kyoto ***
The Tsumago Stage: Minami-Kiso Town, Kiso County, Nagano Prefecture

The road continues towards the mountains. Passing through woodland for a while, we reach Tsumago, which still has the air of the late Edo period. The post town continues for about 800 meters. The buildings of the official inn are particularly conspicuous.
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Stages of the Nakasendo From Narai to Yabuhara

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Stages of the Nakasendo (14): From Narai to Yabuhara

The Narai Stage: Narakawa Village, Kiso County, Nagano Prefecture
*** 256km from Nihonbashi, Tokyo / 276km to Sanjo Ohashi in Kyoto ***
The Yabuhara Stage: Kiso Village, Kiso County, Nagano Prefecture

Narai is the busiest of the eleven Nakasendo post towns in Kiso. The Nakasendo Highway, though developed in the Edo era (1601-1867), actually dates from Heian times (794-1192). Many of the shrines along the way venerate deities mentioned in the Kojiki (Chronicles of Ancient Matters).
Why did Narai thrive in the Edo era? Perhaps it was because it had close connections with Kiso Fukushima. For it was there that, in the Ancient and Heian eras, culture and industry flourished with the support of the central government. This eventually led to the growth of special industries here, along with the formation of post towns. The mansion of the Nakamura family, originally comb merchants, is made in Kyoto style. Combs were made from local Japanese cherry birch and lacquered. These lacquered combs made the family wealthy in the Tenpo era (1830-33). In those days, all of the houses over the full length of Narai (about one kilometer) were built in the same style as the Nakamura Mansion – including sake brewing houses. While imagining the bustle of commerce in this small town enclosed by mountains, our thoughts turn to the next stage. Then we will cross the Torii Pass – the most notorious pass on the whole Nakasendo route – before going on from Yabuhara to Miyanokoshi.
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Stages of the Nakasendo From Niekawa to Narai

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Stages of the Nakasendo (13): From Niekawa to Narai
The Niekawa Stage: Narakawa Village, Kiso County, Nagano Prefecture
*** 249km from Nihonbashi, Tokyo / 284km to Sanjo Ohashi in Kyoto ***
The Narai Stage: Narakawa Village, Kiso County, Nagano Prefecture

The Narai River flows down between the mountains, becoming the Chikuma River as it continues to the Sea of Japan. Today, the Nakasendo Highway rubs shoulders with an old trunk road, the new Route 19 Highway, and the JR Chuo Main Line, all squeezed into the narrow space between mountains to represent their respective ages.
The Nakasendo continues along the river as it skirts the foothills of the mountains. The Niekawa post town, some 7 kilometers from Motoyama, is the gateway to the Kiso Road. The old barrier can still be seen. This is also a center for the production of lacquerware. Lacquerware started around 600 years ago in Kiso Fukushima. But once the “sabitsuchi” base (an essential clay for a primer) was discovered, lacquerware from Hirasawa grew dramatically in the Meiji era (1868-1912), and still continues to this day. On an old Edo picture-scroll from about 250 years ago, the village of Hirasawa is said to be home to many Japanese cypress wood craftsmen.
It’s only about 7 kilometers along the river to Narai, where a thousand traditional houses are said to have stood wall-to-wall.
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Stages of the Nakasendo From Shiojiri

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The Shiojiri Stage: Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture
*** 219km from Nihonbashi, Tokyo / 313km to Sanjo Ohashi in Kyoto ***
The Seba Stage: Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture

From Suwa, we cross the Shiojiri Pass by national highway on our way to Eifukuji Temple. Then, beyond the marker for Shiojiri and the site of the old official inn, the giant cedars of Arei Shrine appear. Close nearby is the “Horiuchi House”, known for the unique shape of its roof.
From Shiojiri, we continue to the Daimon Shrine, passing the Matsumoto Road on our right. According to the literature, the shrine is named after the village of Daimon. Just as we pass the Ichirizuka milepost, rows of mountains appear ahead of us. We leave Ichirizuka behind us, and look ahead to Shiojiri.
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Stages of the Nakasendo From Shimo Suwa to Shioji

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The Shimo Suwa Stage: Shimo Suwa Town, Suwa County, Nagano Prefecture
The Shiojiri Stage: Shiojiri City, Nagano Prefecture
*** 219km from Nihonbashi, Tokyo / 313km to Sanjo Ohashi in Kyoto ***

National Highway 142 brings us down the slope from Wada Pass to Shimo Suwa. There we find the Akimiya Lower Shrine of Suwa Taisha, the premier shrine of Shinano country. A hot spring has been drawn inside the precincts. Purification in hot water warms the body chilled by this season. According to the Shrine Legend, the south side of Lake Suwa is served by the Upper Shrines, the north side by the Lower Shrines. It also states that the dedication of a shrine at “Suwa in the Land of Shinano” is mentioned in the Kojiki Ancient Chronicles, and that this is one of the oldest shrines in Japan. Near the approachway to the Suwa Taisha Shrine, the Koshu Road and the Kamakura Road merge with the Nakasendo Highway.

We leave the road, turn left and continue for a while to Nishiki-no-Yu, site of the official inn at Shimo Suwa. From here, we follow the Nakasendo road to the Harumiya Lower Shrine of Suwa Taisha. From the torii gate, the town can be seen, but not Lake Suwa. Following the road markers to Lake Suwa, we pass National Highway 20 to the right, then to the left, as we continue along the narrow Nakasendo road. Soon, we see a stone announcing “Left to Shiojiri”. From here, the road crosses Shiojiri Pass and continues to the Shiojiri post town.

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Stages of the Nakasendo From Yahata to Shimo

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Stages of the Nakasendo From Yahata to Shimo Suwa

The Yahata Stage: Asashina Village, Kita Saku County, Nagano Prefecture
The Mochizuki Stage: Mochizuki Town, Kita Saku County, Nagano Prefecture
The Ashida Stage: Tateshina Town, Kita Saku County, Nagano Prefecture
The Nagakubo Stage: Nagato Town, Chiisagata County, Nagano Prefecture
The Wada Stage: Wada Village, Ogata County, Nagano Prefecture
The Shimo Suwa Stage: Shimo Suwa Town, Suwa County, Nagano Prefecture

After leaving Yahata, the old Nakasendo Highway wanders onto a side road. If it weren’t for the marker, we might have missed the turning. A village suddenly appears. Then, after passing Ashida, a line of pine trees comes into view. We cross a mountain pass, and turn onto a side road, continuing to the torii gate of the Matsuo Shrine.
The village immediately after Matsuo Shrine is the Nagakubo post town. We turn left while surveying the line of mountains. We proceed along a path skirting the mountains, and eventually arrive at the Wada post town. Here, the old Nakasendo Highway continues from one village to the next.
Ahead is the Wada Pass (1531 meters), which we must negotiate if we are to reach the Suwa Taisha Shrine. Luckily, we’re traveling by car – but even then, there are some troublesome spots and very tight bends.
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Stages of the Nakasendo From Karuizawa

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The Karuizawa Stage: Karuizawa Town, Kita Saku County, Nagano Prefecture
The Kutsukake Stage: Karuizawa Town, Kita Saku County, Nagano Prefecture
The Oiwake Stage: Karuizawa Town, Kita Saku County, Nagano Prefecture
The Otai Stage: Oshirota Village, Kita Saku County, Nagano Prefecture

To cross the Usui Pass, we have to go via Yokokawa from Sakamoto and use a mountain road. The road passes in front of the Kumano Shrine.
Very near the Kumano Shrine, a lookout point offers a fine view across the mountains. A good place to take a rest. From here the road goes downhill, passing a memorial stone inscribed with a haiku by Basho on the way.
Leaving the bustle of Karuizawa, we approach Kutsukake. We arrive at the Asama Shrine, but continue straight on to the Oiwake post town.
The road to Zenkoji Temple turns off to the right. We turn to the left, as instructed. Few people walk along the old Nakasendo Highway. The road narrows in places, before eventually arriving at Otaijuku.
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Stages of the Nakasendo From Matsuida to Karuizaw

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Stages of the Nakasendo (5): From Matsuida to Karuizawa

The Matsuida Stage: Matsuida Town, Usui County, Gunma Prefecture
The Sakamoto Stage: Matsui Town, Usui County, Gunma Prefecture
The Karuizawa Stage: Karuizawa Town, Kita Saku County, Nagano Prefecture

Proceeding alongside the Nakasendo Highway from Matsuida, we reach the site of the Goryo Chaya official resthouse just after crossing the railway. The East and West Chaya resthouses have been moved and reconstructed on the site of the Goryo Chaya.
We go past “yonaki jizo” (a small stone Buddha that makes a ringing sound when tapped), through the town of Yokokawa, past the site of the old barrier, and through the reconstructed streets of the Sakamoto post town. At length, we cross the Usui Pass. By a sign marking the mountain road over the Usui Pass, we eat a lunch of Toge no Kamameshi (rice cooked together with vegetables) that we bought earlier in Yokogawa.
The road over the pass from here cannot be traveled by car, so we have to take a diversion to the Kumano Shrine in Karuizawa.
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Stages of the Nakasendo From Nihonbashi

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Stages of the Nakasendo
From Nihonbashi to Itabashi
Under a bright autumn sky and with camera in hand, we set off on a journey along the old Nakasendo Highway – from Nihonbashi in Tokyo to Sanjo Ohashi in Kyoto – in search of the soul of Japan. A plaque marking the start of the Nakasendo is embedded in the middle of the road on the Nihonbashi Bridge. Leaving behind the view from Nihonbashi, including the Bank of Japan on the site of the old Edo mint, we pay our respects at Kanda Myojin Shrine. From there we proceed past Shinshoji Temple with its huge jizo (a stone Buddha, one of six that stand on principal routes into Tokyo) and the Koshinzuka district, as we approach the ferry crossing at Toda. Near there, in Shimura, Itabashi Ward, stands an old ichirizuka mile marker, complete with an explanation that this is the third mile marker since Nihonbashi. Soon, the Arakawa River comes into view.
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萩の花咲く境内に 亀の姿

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小雨が慈恩寺玄奘塔の境内をつつんでいる。今は秋の季節、小雨に濡れた亀の姿、雨の日の参拝。
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野分吹く

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朝夕の涼が、年のせいか寒さが一段とましてきた。風が吹くたびに、野草がいち早く、秋めいている
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ムラサキシキブ

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八月の、むらさきしきぶの実が淡い紫色に色付きはじめています。房に実った紫色の果実
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絵文字 春夏秋冬・・・・・・春

今から、40年ぐらい前に日本民藝館を見学に行った際、買い求めた絵文字だと記憶していますが、詳細は分からなくなってしまいました。色彩が鮮やかで、手元にあることすら忘れ去られていましたが、ふとしたことで見つけることができました。最初に訪れた際に何気なく親しみを感じることができたことは、不思議なことでした。

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絵文字 春夏秋冬・・・・・・冬

今から、40年ぐらい前に日本民藝館を見学に行った際、買い求めた絵文字だと記憶していますが、詳細は分からなくなってしまいました。色彩が鮮やかで、手元にあることすら忘れ去られていましたが、ふとしたことで見つけることができました。
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