As Rurikoji Temple is one of Yamaguchi prefecture’s most famous sightseeing spots, sightseeing buses continuously visit it.
Most people came to visit the main temple and the national treasure five-story pagoda and leave. It’s such a pity, as right behind them there is a building valuable enough to claim that “without it, there would have been no Meiji Reformation!”
That is why, although it may not have yet appeared in Hana Moyu, we’ll go ahead and introduce it.
It is this building! Chinryutei.
Built at the end of the Edo period, it’s an invaluable structure that remains in its original form.
What kind of historical events has the building witnessed? Well, it was the place where secret meetings were held between the Satsuma and Choshu alliance intermediated by Sakamoto Ryoma! It’s a spot so important for the end of the Edo period and the start of the Meiji Restoration that it would be no exaggeration to say that the signal smoke for the attack to overthrow the shogunate rose from this spot!
The secret meetings were held on the second floor. After hearing that the rooms are still the same as they were at the time, I just had to climb the stairs.
I took off my shoes, and carefully climbed up the traditionally steep stairs. Sakamoto Ryoma must also have removed his geta (Japanese wooden clogs) before he climbed up the stairs. Each step is filled with strength.
In this cramped room, there would be Saigo Takamori and Okubo Toshimichi from Satsuma. From Choshu, Kido Takayoshi and Ito Hirobumi would be present and Sakamoto Ryoma would sit in the middle. Without thinking, I sit in seiza (kneeling, and sitting down on the soles of the feet)…
Beyond the open paper sliding door, I can see the five-story pagoda. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that the pagoda looks the most elegant and beautiful from here! I’m sure that even those not interested in history would be satisfied.
Right nearby there is some slightly peculiar stone paving slabs called the nightingale paving.
If you step on the white guides, a strange sound is emitted that must also have been heard by the leading spirits of Japan’s Restoration… do find out how it is on the actual spot♪
Oidemase! Come to Yamaguchi!
Kozan Park, which has been selected among the top 100 historical parks in Japan, is the location of Chinryutei. In general, admission is free-of-charge and the interior can be viewed at leisure. There are plenty of things to see within the park such as Rurikoji Temple and the national treasure five-story pagoda.
Address: 7-1 Kozan-cho, Yamaguchi city, Yamaguchi prefecture
Tel: 083-934-6630 (Tourist Information in front of Kozan Park)
URL: http://www.yamaguchi-city.jp/details/aa_ruri_chinryu.html (Japanese)
URL: http://www.yamaguchi-city.jp/w/en/spot.html#page001 (English)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Masashi Fujimoto
Masafumi Fujimoto Hi there! My name is Masafumi Fujimoto. Until the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, I was engaged in editing production at an advertising company in Tokyo. However, the earthquake was a turning point in my life and I headed home to Yamaguchi. When I arrived, I was extremely energized and motivated to help revitalize the region, but I had a hard time adjusting to the motivation level of the local people. Around that time I met an elderly lady who said: "It doesn't matter if all the people move away from the island; that's just the nature of things. Someday people will come back again." Lessening the tension I’d been feeling, those few words relieved me hugely, and I was able to finally adjust. Since then, I've been involved in writing and editing magazines, and working in advertisement production, as well as doing a little bit of farming. I also spend time walking around Setouchi searching for the many, many voices out there.
> A guided tour, including teatime, where you can see the former “Koshien Hotel” – “Frank Lloyd Wright type” architecture by Arata Endo. / Koshien Hall at Mukogawa Women’s University (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo)
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