Kori Town: home to peaches for Imperial Family, August 3, 2017 (献上桃の郷 桑折町を訪ねて 2017年8月3日)

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Today I visited Kori Town which was a home to peaches offered to Imperial Family. I walked around the vast peach farmland area which stretched along Kori Peach-line Road in the eastern part of the town. A popular variety called “Akatsuki” was in its high season of harvesting as shown above and it continues through the end of early August. Every recent year in this time of the season, peaches are harvested at these farms, and then screened, selected carefully and offered to the Imperial Family.

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Once I stepped out of JR Kori Station which was located near the center of the town, I found a stone pillar standing in front, which was inscribed as “home to peaches for Imperial Family” as shown above.

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The town prospered during Edo Period as a post town on old Oshu Highway and after Meiji Restoration in 1867, a local administrative office for Date County was placed here. The old office building, which was built in 1883 are being preserved in the town center as shown above.

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Moving to the east I crossed a major National Route 4, where I found another sign of “home to peaches for Imperial Family” on the roadside in front of JA market as shown above.

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Shortly after, I was walking along the Kori Peach-line Road, where peach farms such as shown above continue during a long walk.

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Then I came to a monument as shown above, which commemorated 1st and 2nd visits by Emperor and Empress in 2013 and 2015, when the two encouraged local farmers toward the recovery from the Great East Japan earthquake and nuclear accident disasters.

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Next I came to another monument in a corner of the farmland as shown above, which commemorated a visit by crown prince and princess in 1996.

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I finally visited one of farmers in the area, tasted a peach harvested, which was excellent and juicy. I ordered some boxes for family members and relatives who live outside Fukushima. The samples are shown above.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
20170803献上桃の郷 (560x421)

Cherry blossoms at Kominejo Castle and Nanko Park, Shirakawa, April 20, 2017 (小峰城 と 南湖公園 の桜 2017年4月20日)

20170420小峰シロと小峰城 (560x417)
(Kominejo Castle, Shirakawa, cherry blossoms, Komineshiro, April 20, 2017, 小峰城 白河 桜 小峰シロ 2017/4/20)
Today I walked around the central part of Shirakawa City viewing cherry blossoms which have survived from heavy gust of wind last night. Photo above was a view of Kominejo Castle surrounded by many cherry blossoms taken from JR Shirakawa Station platform. The castle was right next to the station in the north. I added an official character of Kominejo Castle, Komineshiro, on the picture.

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(Rakuo, Nanko Park, Shirakawa, cherry blossoms, April 20, 2017, 樂翁桜 南湖公園 白河 桜 2017/4/20)
Then I walked toward Nanko Park which was an oldest park in Japan completed in 1801. Shirakawa feudal domain lord Matsudaira Sadanobu built the park and he also planted a weeping cherry tree at the same time, which was called Rakuo cherry tree as shown above. It is located in the precinct of Nanko Shrine where the lord was enshrined. The tree is more than 200 years old.

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(Nanko Park, Shirakawa, cherry blossoms, April 20, 2017, 南湖公園 白河 桜 2017/4/20)
Many other cherry trees were planted around Lake Nanko and some of the views today are shown above. Still snow-capped mountains in the pictures above are Nasu Mountains located in the west.

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Finally I returned to the city center and had Shirakawa Ramen at lunch, which was a local specialty food. An excellent Shirakawa Ramen restaurant Kakoi is located within Rakura Square close to the station as shown above.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
20170420白河の桜 (560x417)

Some of Aizu 33-Kannon tour in Kitakata, and Enichiji-Temple Site, Aug. 26, 2016 (喜多方市の勝観音、熊倉観音、竹屋観音巡り、そして磐梯町の慧日寺 2016年8月26日)

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The photo above is of Sugure Kannondo Hall in Kitakata City. This was built in 1558, which was late Muromachi Period, and belongs to Shofukuji Temple. It is the 6th Kannon of Aizu 33-Kannon tour, which has been designated as a Japan Heritage this year. The kannondo Hall building is designated as a National Important Cultural Asset.

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On the way back from Kitakata City to Koriyama, I decided to visit three of the Aizu 33-Kannondo located along the return route. First, I had a Kitakata Ramen breakfast at Bannai Ramen Restaurant, which is open from 7:00a.m. shown above. This shop features salt seasoned pork bone soup.

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The first visit on the way was Sugure Kannondo as I mentioned earlier. The second visit was Kumakura Kannondo Hall of Komyoji Temple as shown above. This stands in the old Kumakura-Juku village along the old Yonezawa Highway. This is the 7th Kannon out of Aizu 33-Kannon tour.

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The third visit was Takeya Kannondo Hall of Kannonji Temple as shown above. This is the 8th Kannon of Aizu 33-Kannon tour. The hall building was built in 1716 and the Kannon-sama inside is the only Nyoirin-type Kannon among the 33-Kannon.

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Here is a further description about the hall as shown above.

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All of the three Kannondos are located in Kitakata City. I also got unique red stamps of each Kannondo as shown above.

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Then I moved toward Bandai Town and visited Enichiji Temple Site. The site was first built about 1200 years ago by a famous Buddhist Priest Tokuitsu from the ancient capital Nara. He moved from Nara to Aizu region in the early 800's and first built Shojoji Temple and Enzoji Temple, and finally established this site as a center of Aizu Buddhism. He was buried in this site, where a memorial building called Tokuitsu-byo stands today as shown above.

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Here is a brief description about Tokuitsu-byo and his stone tomb as shown above.

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And the last photo is of a restored Kondo building of Enichiji Temple Site. This Kondo, which means a golden hall, is considered to be the center of this temple site, and has been restored carefully according to old pictures and technologies of that age.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
20160826喜多方観音堂と恵日寺 (560x420)

You can trace the route and altitude in the map below. (Up:3%, gained elevation: 554m, Distance: 76.3km)
下の地図で、ルートの距離や標高を見ることができます。(上り3%、獲得標高554m、走行距離 76.3km)
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