Showing posts with label gotsu honmachi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gotsu honmachi. Show all posts

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Gotsu Honmachi

Gotsu Honmachi

Gotsu Honmachi is the original town of Gotsu. In the latter half of the 20th century, embankments on the banks of the river mouth were constructed and seawalls erected, so the town spread to where it is now located.

Sheltered in a narrow valley and protected by a hill, the original town was on the Sanindo, the imperial highway that ran from Kyoto. At the top of the valley, a section of stone paving marks the original Sanindo route.

With its sheltered location, Gotsu became a Kitamaebune port, the next one west of Yunotsu, and some evidence of this merchant history still remains in what could be called the historical district.

The old clinic and doctors' house is one of the most well-known buildings in the old town, mainly because of its ochre-colored roof tiles rather than the traditional black or red.

I've seen a photo from 1917 that shows a bridge across the river at this point, probably the first Gotsu bridge, that must have replaced a ferry. The port was so important that it was incorporated into Iwami Ginzan, and controlled directly by the shogunate, whereas the rest of the land on this side of the river was Hamada domain.

Built in the Meiji period, the original Gotsu post office was a pseudo-western structure.

Built in 1926, the original Gotsu Town Hall..... used as such until 1962

Green Tea

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Second Fall colors walk


9 a.m. and the sun starts to burn off the mist that fills the valleys and blankets us all night long. It promises to be a fine day as I head across the river to catch the train downstream to Gotsu Honmachi where my mountain walk begins.

I head out of Honmachi by the ancient San'indo, the road that once connected the capital in Asuka with this region. Then I head up the slope of Star Mountain.


It takes less than an hour to reach the pass at 300 meters, and from then on its downhill all the way to the river at Kawahira.

I love these mountain roads. More like wide hiking paths as there are no vehicles.


The forest and vegetation is thick, and only rarely can I catch glimpes of a vista, so for Fall colors best to look up.


There are no villages up here in the mountains, nor hamlets, only the occasional isolated homestead. If 2 or 3 are in close proximity then for sure they are relatives. A different breed of people. More independent, more self-sufficient.

Maybe half the homesteads are now empty.


About halfway down there is a small shrine on the hillside across from a big Gingko tree. When I first walked this way some years ago I stopped in at the shrine, as is my habit, and found it fairly dilapidated, so I was surprised this time to hear the sound of hammering and power tools as it appears it is being renovated. I would guess there are about 6 families left in this area, so it is good to see that they still care about the shrine.


Getting lower in altitude the valley starts to widen a little and I reach the "suburbs" of Kawahira.

To be continued

Tuesday, June 23, 2009



I've passed this building hundreds of times, and with its walls of blue corrugated tin I've always presumed it to be some sort of workshop, though I often wondered why it was built in a narrow cleft in the mountainside. This time as I cycled by there were banners out and I realized it was in fact a temple.


On closer examination I was delighted to discover that the temple was built to take advantage of a waterfall cascading down the mountainside.


Underneath the fall was a space for practising misogi, a type of Shugyo (ascetic practise) using water for purification.


There were statues of Fudo Myoo, so in all likliehood this was a Shugendo site before Shugendo was outlawed in early Meiji. Now the temple belongs to one of the newer 20th Century Buddhist sects that have sprung up, many with roots in Nichiren.


Up the mountainside on either side of the falls were large carvings of Fudo Myoo, and the spray from the falls worked like an air conditioner. It was wonderful to discover a delightful place so close to home, and was a reminder to keep exploring!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tauebayashi (Rice-planting song & dance)

Yesterday was the Houranenya Matsuri in Gotsu Honmachi, the old town of Gotsu at the mouth of the Gonokawa.

Before the procession started a group from Kawahira, a village between Gotsu and my village, performed a folk dance, the Tauebayashi.


The gentleman with the cool hair-do was leading the dance. His mask appears to be a version of Hiotoko, but may be another character.


Both men and women performed the dance which accompanied rice-planting in earlier times. It's purpose was to strengthen the rice.