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Shortcut to the back "Oku no Chikamithi" May 2015

I wanted to go to Tohoku during Golden Week, but at first I wasn't sure what theme to choose. As I was thinking about whether I should make it in the 6th century about the Yamato court to conquer the Tohoku region, or whether I should do it in the 10th or 11th century of Genji wars, or perhaps the group of heroes from the Sengoku period..., finally I came up with Matsuo Basho. Although the title says it's a shortcut to the back of the country because it moves on the expressway, Tohoku is still vast. In 4 days and 3 nights, I was able to go all the way to Ohanazawa and then returned to Tokyo. After that, Basho passed through the Sea of Japan, went up to Kisakata, went down the Sea of Japan, and arrived at Ogaki. Next time, I would like to plan my schedule slowly and carefully and trace the area beyond Ohanazawa, which have been my homework.

① Unganji Temple (Otawara City, Tochigi Prefecture)

Since it's a Zen sect dojo with a long history, there weren't that many tourists, but the number of tourists seems to have increased recently due to the JR East commercial.

This temple is located in the Kurobane domain, and the Ozeki clan ruled the area throughout the Edo period, but the northern part of Tochigi Prefecture was ruled by the Nasu Seven Parties (the Ozeki clan was one of them) centered on the Nasu clan throughout the medieval period. Whether or not they obeyed Hideyoshi during his conquest of Odawara would determine what happened afterwards. When I think of Nasu, I think of Yoichi at the Battle of Yashima, but I would like to take a closer look at how the famous clans and samurai groups that continued from the Heian period survived into the Toyotomi and Tokugawa eras. It was a beautiful season with dazzling fresh greenery, but I'm sure autumn also should be wonderful.

② Zuiganji Temple

It seems that Basho originally wanted to see Shirakawa no Seki and Matsushima, so he planned a trip to Oku no Hosomichi(Tohoku tuour). However, for some reasons, the poems he wrote are not included in the collection of poems, which seems to be a mystery. When you go there, you'll understand... It's so beautiful that I can't find words. However, the remains of the 3.11 tsunami left me at a loss for words. I didn't realize it at the time, but it seems that the pilgrimage to Zuigan-ji, Moetsu-ji, Chuson-ji, and Risshaku-ji that Basho visited was called the Four Temple Corridor Tour, and as a result, I ended up visiting four temples.

③ Hiraizumi

The prosperity of the Oshu Fujiwara clan was passed down through three generations: Kiyohira built Chuson-ji, Motohira built Moetsu-ji, and Hidehira built Muryokoin. There are many what-ifs in history, but if Yoshitsune had not run away, Yoritomo would have allowed the Fujiwara clan to rule without attacking Oshu, or would he have come up with other reasons to collect the area where gold, silver, treasures, and good horses were produced? It's probably the latter.

The Oshu Fujiwara clan is a new lineage that was created as a result of Yoritomo's great-great-grandfather's father (Yoriyoshi) and great-great-grandfather (Yoshiie) running around Oshu, and although the imperial court's authority extended, it was a semi-independent kingdom.

The Minamoto clan weakened after the Hogen and Heiji periods, but I believe that the fourth generation of its grandchildren reaped its fortunes and entered the Kamakura period, marking the beginning of the assimilation of Tohoku with Japan as a whole. The Shiba clan (offsprings were the Osaki and Mogami clans) moved their base to Tohoku in the middle of the Kamakura period, and the Hojo clan brought in retainers who had many fiefs in Tohoku and development accelerated. Is it like Japan's western pioneering era? Buddhism also probably helped to penetrate society and unite cultural spheres through easy-to-understand examples of Kamakura Buddhism and Hiraizumi's Pure Land gardens, which embody the Pure Land of Paradise. However, I am not sure how to interpret the Chuson-ji mummies.

The first emperor to perform cremation was Emperor Jito in the 8th century, and it is said that cremation spread to the entire aristocratic society during the Heian period, but cremation was not necessarily common after that. Kiyohira had half Kiyohara blood in his blood, so perhaps the Oshu people had some kind of custom or view on life and death, and the family chose a special burial method. Thanks to this, it seems that the each blood type of the 4 generations of Oshu Fujiwara and such 4 guys' parent - child relationships are confirmed.

④ Yama-dera (Risshaku-ji)

"The sound of cicadas echoing through the rocks in a quiet field"

Basho was advised to go to a mountain temple in Ohanazawa, so he took a detour to this place. We were blessed with clear skies and enjoyed the spectacular views and mountain trails. There are said to be 1,015 stone steps, which are comparable to Mt. Konpira in Kagawa, but I was captivated by the beautiful contrast between the slopes climbing through the fresh green trees and the spectacular views near the top and the old buildings.

Senzan Line(JR EAST) Yamadera Station is at the foot of the mountain, so if you have time, I think it would be a good idea to take the train slowly. The scenery of a quiet basin surrounded by mountains on both sides in the inland area of Yamagata Prefecture seems similar to Hakuba, but I felt it would be a waste to move around on the expressway.

The Mogami clan strongly supported the main temple after it was abolished, and even after its strong patron left, it was supported by a wide base of believers, so I think it is a temple that should be preserved for future generations.

⑤ Basho Memorial Museum (Ohanazawa)

It seems that Basho was in Ohanazawa for about 10 days, but he stopped at Yamadera before heading out to the Sea of Japan. Since I was running out of time, I decided to head south and return to Tokyo via Yonezawa. My saving grace was that I was able to see the Yonezawa Castle and enjoy the beef in Yonezawa.



Thank you for coming!

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