Autumn scenery in Koriyama (Hayama Falls and Kinto Memorial Hall), Nov. 5, 2017 (紅葉の郡山(麓山の飛瀑、金透記念館)2017年11月5日

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Today, I walked around the vicinity of JR Koriyama Station and found some of the best autumn scenery in the city center: Hayama Falls and Kinto Memorial Hall. Both of these are part of Japan Heritage “Asaka Development” and are located within 15-minute walk from the station.
Photo shows Kinto Memorial Hall which was once a part of elementary school more than 100 years ago. Kinto elementary school was founded in 1873, the oldest in Koriyama. The building was used as a rest house for Meiji Emperor when he traveled across Tohoku region. It was designated recently as a part of Japan Heritage “Asaka Development.”

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Photo above shows autumn Hayama Falls which was built in 1882 by Asaka Development pioneers. It has long been a commemorative monument for Asaka Canal completion. The water is divided from the main channel of Asaka Canal.

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A plate above which you can see at the site briefly explains the history.

The exact locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
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National Treasure tour of Shojoji and Ryukoji Temple in Aizu, Oct. 25, 2017 (勝常寺、龍興寺など会津の国宝巡り 2017年10月25日)

Today, I had a special tour of old Buddist temples in Yugawa Village and Aizumisato Town, both of which are located right west of Aizuwakamatsu. This study tour was organized by Omotenashi_Guide_Fukushima, a group of interpreter guides for Fukushima. I attended the tour as a member.

All of us gathered at Michinoeki (or Roadside Station) Aizu, which is about 30-minute ride on local Aizu Bus from Aizuwakamatsu Station. Then we traveled through the route by car.

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First, we visited Shojoji Temple in Yugawa Village which is only 5-minute by car (or 15-minute by walk) from there. A photo above shows the main Yakushido Hall building which was rebuilt in 1398. The temple itself was founded in 807 by Buddhist patriarch Tokuitsu. There was something special with this temple. It had a number of treasures including three National Treasure statues and nine other statues designated as National Important Cultural Assets, and Yakushido building which was also a National Important Cultural Asset. All the wooden statues were built in early 800’s.

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Photo above shows Kannondo Hall building in the precinct, which keeps all of the important treasures. One of them is eleven-faced Kannon statue which is a National Important Cultural Asset and also one (10th) of Aizu 33-Kannon designated as Japan Heritage last year.

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Photo above was a “goshuin” or official red stamp of the temple which was hand-written by the chief priest in person today.

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Photo above shows a brief English outline panel which stood inside the precinct.

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An American artist Langdon Warner is said to have contributed to protect these treasures from war attacks. There was a Memorial inscribed with his name (in Japanese Katakana) within the temple ground as shown above.

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Then we moved to Ryukoji Temple where another National Treasure was kept. The location is close to JR Aizutakada Station in Aizumisato Town. A photo above shows front garden of the temple with a stone monument of the treasure. The treasure is a set of Lotus Sutra scrolls hand-written in early 800’s. In each of the nine scrolls left today, all of the sutra kanji characters were written on each lotus flower, drawn with different colors. Only a part of the image is shown in the bottom left of the picture above to give an amazing sense of it.

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Finally, we visited Hoyoji Temple also in Aizumisato Town. The temple had a 3-story Buddhist tower (23-meter high) as shown above, which was the only kind in Aizu region. It was rebuilt in 1780 for the 3rd time.

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A board above shows a brief outline of the tower in Japanese.

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The temple itself was founded in 720 by a Buddhist priest Tokudo. It had a Kannondo Hall called Suzume-bayashi Kannon as shown above, which was rebuilt in 1768. This was also one (29th) of Aizu 33-Kannon designated as Japan Heritage last year.

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A plate above shows a brief outline of the temple and the Kannondo in English and Japanese.

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Photo above was a “goshuin” or official red stamp of the temple which was also hand-written by the chief priest in person today.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
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Three power stations powered by Asaka Canal (Japan Heritage), April 28, 2017(竹之内発電所 の 桜 と 安積疏水(日本遺産) 2017年4月28日)

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Today I traced three traditional hydroelectric power stations powered by Asaka Canal in the outskirt (Atami-machi) of Koriyama. One of them, Takenouchi power station, located on a mountainside was surrounded by late cherry blossoms as shown above.

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Numagami power station is located in the highest position close to Lake Inawashiro where the water comes from. You can see some of the canal water falling down right beside Numagami power station as shown above. This water is fed into Takenouchi station in the downstream.

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Finally the water powers the third hydroelectric power station, Marumori power station as shown above. This station is located in the center of Bandai-Atami town.

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Photo above shows main stream of Asaka Canal running through the backstreet of Bandai-Atami town. The stream then flows into a large area of Asaka plain divided into seven sub-channels.

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Meanwhile, I stopped at an old Nakayamajuku Sta. of JR Ban-etsu West Line. This old station had been used for about 100 years until 1997 for switchback hill climbing. The first photo shows the old station. The second photo shows Ban-etsu West Line train traveling on the current track taken from the old station.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
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Author:A man who loves Fukushima (福島大好きおじさん)
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