Aikido Trip to Japan Fall 2003.
Kintai Kyo and the Yamaguchi Prefecture
Kintai-kyo was built in 1673, washed away by a flood in 1950 then rebuilt in 1953. This distinctive 5 arched bridge connects the Samarai Quarter of Iwakuni to the rest of the town. Only Samurai could cross this bridge, commoners had to use a boat.
Dinner at Yuno Onsen in Yokohama City.
An ancient Squater in the Old Samurai Quarter in Hagi City on the Northern Coast of Western Honshu
Diligently following our flag wielding guide!
Okomura-San - our main guide!
Shrine of Shoin Yoshida Rekishikan.
Hagi was one of two centers of unrest that played a part in the Meigi Restoration. The 200 years of isolation during the Tokugawa rule created a strain between the Shogunate and some more enlighted nobility. They saw how far behind Japan was from the 'Barbarians' that landed on their shores and 'forced' the Shogunate to allow them to trade. The progressive Samurai, of which Shoin Yoshida was a major player, realised that if Japan did not modernize they would be left behind. Knowing that this would not happen under the current Shogunate they needed to find a way to restore Power to the Emperor. In 1854 Yoshida attempted to leave Japan on Perry's ship but was captured and imprisoned. While in Hagi he plotted to kill the Shogunate official. Upon hearing this the Shogun executed him at 29. His death inspired his followers to overturn the govenment of Hagi with an army of Samurai and Peasants. This cooperation between the distinct classes was the first indication that change was at hand in Japan. In 1868 the Emperor was restored to power, the capitol was shifted from Kyoto to Tokyo and Japan progressed into modern times.
Akiyoshi-do in Akiyoshi-dai.
As you travel towards Hagi from Yamaguchi and beneath the picturesque plateau are hundreds of limestone caverns. Lined with towering stalagmites and descending stalictites this cave is 10km long. The tourist path runs 1km. A great place to buy pottery!
The Bullit train from Kokura to Beppu where we stayed at the New Tsuruta hotel, yet another Onsen!
After our traditional Japanese Dinner and breakfast we took a local tour bus to Beppu-Hell