Spot" is a place which gives energy to rejuvenate our heart and body, and
is very popular among women these days. There are several leading "Power
１．【Kamafuta Shrine】～Bringing Good Luck and Good Fortune～
The Kamafuta Shrine is located on a cape where
you can see the beautiful
There have been recent rumours that Nakamura
After parking the car at the parking lots, one walks towards the sea and witnesses the great open sea, and also the mysterious red shrine building.
Closing in on the shrine, one will be able to witness an amusing scene of people walking slowly towards the shrine while trying to balance a kamafuta (pot cover) over their heads, taking care not to drop it. This is one of the ways of offering a prayer. It is said that if one can balance the kamafuta and walk a distance of 10m from the Torii Gate to the Shrine without dropping the kamafuta, the prayer will be answered. The most difficult part of the route is a three-step flight of stairs, where it is really difficult to keep balance. Upon failure (i.e. the kamafuta drops), one may attempt the feat again.
There is another way of offering a prayer called the kamafuta-nage (pot cover toss). One attempts to toss a palm-sized, unglazed (bisque-fired) kamafuta (which costs 100 yen) into a pot fixed on a rocky plain about 3m below the shrine premises. If the small kamafuta lands within the pot, it is said that one can expect something good to happen (i.e. good luck).
After offering prayers, one enters the shrine and can purchase omamori (good luck charms) and ema (votive picture tablets). A picture of a dragon is painted on the ceiling of the shrine. One will get engrossed by staring at the painting, where the globe held by the dragon seems to emanate light. This shrine is originally dedicated to the worship of the god of war, and hence receives many visitors to pray for victory of all sorts. Besides that, there are also other good luck charms praying for the passing of examinations, a fruitful love relationship, traffic safety, and good business sales.
Located on the right of the main shrine is a divine tree, which is apparently the greatest power spot. This is due to the solemn atmosphere around the divine tree. In the shrine, there are also visitors who came to offer their thanks after their prayers had been answered - which is the recovery from an illness.
There is a small path located on the cape at a
corner of the shrine. The small path leads to a beautiful spot with a
breathtaking view, known as the Kibou no
↓ They have many kinds of Charms ↓
↑ For good-luck and wade off the evil spirits
↑ Lucky Charms
Left: Lucky Charm Right: Road Safety Charm
Access to Kamafuta Shrine:
２．【Banshobana Nature Park】～The Bell of Happiness～
During the Edo period, Ino Tadataka, who walked throughout
the whole of
Named "Tatsu no Otoshigo (seahorses) ~ Kichigane", it is said that the Bell of Bansho, when sounded, brings good fortune.
The Tatsu no Otoshigo (seahorses) living in the nearby sea is a symbol of "Health, Luck, Children, Safe delivery (of a baby), Loving Husband and Wife, and Fruitful Love relationship". The offering of prayer is done by sounding the bell a corresponding number of times. The first sounding of the bell prays for good luck, the second for good health, the third for a fruitful love relationship and loving husband and wife, the fourth for children, and the fifth sounding of the bell prays for the safe delivery of a baby.
The Tatsu no Otoshigo (seahorses) is seen in the form of a rising dragon, which symbolizes good fortune. In a pair, they recognize each other as lifetime partners, and in a position to lay eggs, their stomach is in contact with each other, resembling a heart shape.
Why don't you ring the Bell of Happiness and make a wish too?
～The Very First Honeymoon Destination in Japan～
～ Ryoma and Oryo～
Speaking of the Power Spot of Kagoshima, one would first think of Kirishima Shrine. Backed by the Takachihomine peak, the Kirishima Shrine worships the Niniginomikoto, grandchild of the Amaterasu Goddess, in the ancient legend of Tenson Kourin (Descending of the Heavenly Grandchild). Built in the 6th century, this shrine has a very long history. The shrine has great beauty and dignity, and a mysterious atmosphere that awes all its visitors.
Walking past the pilgrimage path covered in lush greenery and aged cedar trees, the sophisticated vermilion structure of the shrine appears before you. Just by being there, one can feel his/her heart being cleansed.
４．【Yakushima】～World Natural Heritage - the Mystery of Nature～
Yakushima island is the first Japanese site to
be registered as a World Natural Heritage in 1993. With nature being retained
in its original primitive state while human beings reside, Yakushima island
receives good appraisal as a role model showcasing human and nature living in
harmony. The circumference of the island is 132km. Located right in the middle
of the island is
A well-known nature spot, Yakushima island
receives many visitors from within and outside
We would like to recommend three power spots in Yakushima island.
First, the Shiradani Unsuikyo Ravine - this is the place where forest in which the Shishigami (name of a character) resides is modelled after, in the animated movie "Mononoke Hime". After walking about two hours, we arrive at a mysterious area covered by lush greenery, which is known as "The Forest of Mononoke Hime". The mysterious feel of the place cannot be described in words. The forest is fully covered in moss and surrounded by Yakusugi (thousand year old Japanese cedar trees), and one can enjoy seeing the different variety of Yakusugi. Stopping once a while to check out the moss, one will be fascinated by its beauty. Especially after rain, the beauty of Shiradani Unsuikyo Ravine is simply fascinating and will capture one's heart.
Second, it is none other than the Jomon Cedar. It takes 11 hours to travel to and fro the Jomon cedar, which is said to be of 7200 years old. It is a cedar tree worth a visit once a lifetime. Some people said that upon seeing the Jomon Cedar, one will change his perspective on life. Located in the midst of misty fog, the majestic Jomon Cedar commands a sense of presence. There is much to learn from this Jomon Cedar, which has protected and watched over the forest since ancient times. We recommend the
Yakusugi Shizenkan (Yakusugi Nature Museum) http://www5.ocn.ne.jp/~yakumuse/
2739-343, Awa, Yakushima-cho, Kumage-gun, Kagoshima-ken, 〒891-4311
Yakushima Tourism Association http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~yakukan/
Study Field Trip to a Shochu (Distilled Spirit) Cellar【Meiji Kura】
[Meiji Kura] is a Shochu cellar of the Satsuma Brewery.
Speaking of the Satsuma Brewery, long before the popularization of Shochu, Satsuma Brewery has already been producing and exporting the "Satsuma Shiranami", a famous Shochu distilled from sweet potatoes, nationwide. The origin of the name "Meiji Kura" stems from the Meiji era (1868~1912), the time where Shochu distillation was established. Why was the cellar simply named after the period where the distillation method was established? The answer can be found from within the cellar.
The interior of the cellar is dimly lit and made of wood. Large pillars can be found everywhere within the cellar. The floor boards are made of dark coloured wood, and the whole building resembles Meiji period architecture. The staff of Meiji Kura explains the distillation process using easy-to-understand terminology. Besides, the display furniture in the cellar is also built according to Meiji period design.
Paper clay figurines depict the whole process of the Shochu distillation.
Next, we see pictures hung on the wall. These pictures do not depict the distillation process. Just like the paper clay figurines, people featured in these pictures have rich and warm facial expression. Through these pictures, we can see how these people give their best to distill the tastiest Shochu. Some of the photos show people with jovial smiles. With the Shochu being distilled by such cheerful people, we can expect the Shochu to be tasty.
From selection to the cleaning and steaming of the sweet potatoes, and even the corridors passing through the various distillation processes is filled with retro reminiscence of the Meiji period. With the alcohol barrels stacked up high along the corridors and the metallic advertisements hanging from the ceiling, one can't help but imagine how our grandparents would probably have once walked along such corridors.
The biggest surprise is the steamer and cooler made from wooden buckets. The staff explained, to our disbelief, that these items are still being used for production today.
Of course, the ones on display are merely replicas, but even until today, the distillation methods developed since the Meiji period are being followed earnestly, using larger versions of the display replica equipment.
learning much about the distillation, we proceed towards the souvenir gift
shop. The speciality of this shop is that not only it allows the testing of the
various Shochu, but the interior, with its wooden pillars and white walls, fits
perfectly with the "wa (Japanese)"
ambience of our study trip. The best thing here is the "Kurochoga", a
black-coloured ceramic pottery for Shochu which is only available here in Meiji
Kura. (*The "Kurochoga" belongs to the "Kuro Satsuma"
family, and the "Kuro Satsuma" is one of the two branches of the "Satsuma-Yaki",
which is essentially traditional ceramic pottery of
There is also a restaurant within the Meiji Kura. Called the "Hanawatarigawa Beer Hall", one can get to taste happoshu (low-malt beer), brewed using sweet potatoes. French cuisine is served in the restaurant, prepared by an overseas-trained chef. You can try great French cuisine at a reasonable price. The first floor of the restaurant is a sun-filled open garden, where garden weddings and other types of parties can be held.
Another feature of this restaurant is its second floor, where one can see the whole of Meiji Kura. The scene from the second floor takes us back in time to the Meiji era, with white walls, grey tiled roofs, and cobblestone streets.
The "Meiji" term of the name "Meiji Kura" not only simply refers to the time period, but it also carries respect and pride for the people of the Satsuma Brewery, the well-kept distillation methods, the importance of the Meiji era, and also aims to emphasize to all visitors the significance of this important time period (in Japanese history). Touring the Meiji Kura is free-of-charge, so let's appreciate the wonders of the Meiji period while learning more about Shochu.
【Makurazaki Fish Centre】
of Makurazaki, we would refer to it as the street of Katsuo (Bonito). The local production of Bonito flakes ranks top in
The interior of the building is a cross-shape, lined with shops selling local products. Some shops are decorated with huge flags bearing pictures of fish, a bustling place indeed. Filled in abundance with seafood products from furikake (a dried seasoning sprinkled over rice) to frozen fish, this place attracts not only visitors but locals as well. With the products being sold cheaper than market price, we can easily dub this place as "the seafood kitchen of the Makurazaki residents". With children living nearby coming to play in the shop vicinity, we can feel the close relationship of the local residents.
Although there is a large variety of fish on sales, the top seller is non-other than the Katsuo. One shop selling "Hana Katsuo (bonito flakes)" has staff shaving generous portions of Katsuo. The place is filled with the fragrance of bonito flakes, stopping shoppers in their steps. One can't help but start to imagine making "Chabushi" (a simple soup made by adding hot water to bonito flakes and fermented bean paste). With that thought, the throat thirsts for soup and the appetite grows.
Getting hungry, we proceed to the canteen on the second floor, which has a huge selection of seafood cuisine. One can choose to have a simple dish of Nizakana (stewed fish) or savour fresh slices of raw Katsuo (Bonito) and Kanpachi (Amberjack) sashimi. If one prefers Western style meals, there is fried fish and tempura (which essentially also means deep frying) as well. Despite the huge selection of seafood cuisine, the items are reasonably priced, just like the products on sales in the small shops on the first floor.
satisfying our hunger with the large variety of seafood cuisine, why not check
out the terrace outside? You can see fishing boats and the vast blue