History, Culture, Nature, Shopping, Art, etc.
The history and culture of Mount Nikko, a sacred site whose origins can be traced back to the seventh century. The Nikko Toshogu Temple and the Taiyuin Reibyo are situated at the apex of the mausoleum architecture that flourished in pre-modern Japan.
The beauty of the ornate, complex and highly decorated buildings is diametrically contrasted with the aesthetic standards of 20th century modernist architecture.
This is a cultural site without parallel anywhere in the world consisting of a group of 103 heritage buildings and the woods which enclose them.
Ashikaga Gakko is well known as the oldest university in Japan and was designated as a historical national asset in 1921. Subjects such as Confucianism, Chinese medicine and divination were studied at this school. Now the Ashikaga Gakko has beautiful gardens to walk through and enjoy, however, in the past this school was surrounded by a moat and banks. Elements of these remain and may be viewed when you visit Ashikaga.
Festivals in Tochigi city are held by using Edo-type floats topped by dolls, produced during the 19th and early 20th centuries. This type of float features brilliant carvings and embroidery, demonstrating the outstanding craftsmanship of artisans from those days.
The Tochigi Autumn Festival was started in 1874 to celebrate the prosperity of Tochigi, which was then thriving as a leading commercial city in the northern Kanto Region.
It is now held every five years. During the festival, nine floats (including six floats designated by the prefectural government as Tangible Cultural Legacies) and a float with a lion mask are paraded through the main street. These floats are always on display at the Tochigi Dashi Center (excluding when they are in use on festival days).
Mashiko pottery is a unique Tochigi specialty. Mashiko pottery is popular as kitchen utensils and for everyday items and is also highly acclaimed as an art form. With many kilns established throughout the town, Mashiko has become one of Japanﾕs leading pottery production centers. Pottery fairs are held from late April and in November, attracting many people. The town also has “Ceramic Art Messe Mashiko,” a museum in which Mashiko pottery produced by past and modern potters is on display.
Mooka Railroad, which serves the 41.9-km section between JR Shimodate station in Ibaraki and Motegi in Tochigi prefecture, runs steam locomotives primarily on weekends and national holidays. The locomotive shuttles between the two stations once a day, attracting many people hoping to see a steam locomotive that has become such a rarity nowadays.
To celebration growing girls who have turned seven years old, the girls are dressed in beautiful decorated kimono. They shoulder two straw buckets filled with artificial flowers to lead pageants to a shrine at night.
Many dances are dedicated in front of a "Chikata Jinja" shrine. In one dance, girls of 8-9 years old wear maiden dress with red "hakama" (pantaloons), red "koromo" (jackets or shirts), white half transparent "Usuginu" (robes) and crowns. Five of them dance together using rings. The girls of this area are keen to wear such ceremonial clothes to dedicate the dance.
Sano Premium Outlets, opened in March of 2003, and has now expanded to over 100 stores. This exciting shopping destination has the look of an early American village, with shopping “streets” and “squares.” Its central building theme is reminiscent of an 18th century New England Church steeple. Sano Premium Outlets is just off the Tohoku Expressway in Tochigi prefecture. The center is also conveniently located enroute to Nikko and the Nasu-Kogen resort areas.
Sano has come to be widely known to Chinese noodle lovers as the “city of ramen.”
The secret of the supreme taste is in the spring water from the Izurubara Benten Pond, which has been chosen as one of the 100 places producing the highest quality water. Noodles made from high-quality wheat and the noodle making techniques using green bamboo also work to enrich and enhance the taste. The city has more than 210 ramen restaurants, each competing to study and produce supreme ramen.
Kurobane is famous for its associations with Matsuo Basho, who is believed to have stayed here for the longest period of time he stayed at any one place while writing his book of poems “Okunohosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Far North).” The Basho Center is a central facility of a number of Basho-related spots in this town, displaying various materials on him and the Ozeki family of the Kurobane clan.
Works by Hiroshige utagawa，0ne of the most famous Japanese Ukiyoe artists，are on display here. The collection here includes his original drawings and Japanese prints by artists belonging to the Utagawa school.
Yana (a bamboo device to catch fish) is set up in many parts of the Nakagawa River, which is one of the clearest rivers in eastern Japan. Many tourists come during summer and autumn to enjoy “sweetfish,” the most famous specialty from the Nakagawa River.
Happogahara extending over northwestern Yaita city is known for its beautiful Renge-tsutsuji azaleas, which blossom all at once from late May to June, dyeing the entire area in vermillion. This place commands a panoramic view of the Kanto Plain and Mt. Takahara, enabling visitors to fully enjoy the natural magnificence.
This museum introduces the history of mining Ohya stone. The original quarry site underground is approximately 20,000 square meters in area and 60 meters at the deepest point. The temperature here is constant at 13℃ throughout the year. The powerful, magical atmosphere here is truly overwhelming.
Tsumugi-no-Sato is located in a tranquil setting surrounded by nature in Yuki city, Ibaraki prefecture. Tsumugi-no-Sato provides an opportunity to weave and dye in the traditional Japanese way. Friendly English-speaking staff will happily assist visitors throughout.
Traditional Japanese Weaving:Learn the refined art of Japanese weaving using silk and dyes. Visitors may choose from over 40 fabric colors to use at a hand loom to make coasters, a table centerpiece, or a shawl.
traditional Japanese way. Friendly English-speaking staff will happily assist visitors throughout.
Practice Dyeing using natural indigo Japanese indigo plants have been grown and cultivated to make unique dyes. It is said that natural indigo wards off insects as well as germs.
There are four indigo pots at Tsumugi-no-Sato that allow visitors to dye a piece in several shades of blue ranging from light to dark. Visitors can choose to dye a bandana, handkerchief, or stole in an original design. (Aprons and gloves are supplied at no additional charge.)