Ikegami-Sone Historic Park

14 02 2009

Open: 10:00AM to 5:00PM (Closes 4:00PM from Oct. to Apr.)

Closed: Monday

Admission: Free

Address: 213-1 Ikegami-cho, Izumi City

TEL/FAX: 0725-45-5544

What is the Ikegami-Sone Site?

Ikegami-Sone Site contains the excavated remains of a large and prosperous village built in the Yayoi period, about 2000 years ago. At that time, the area of the site was 600,000 square meters and the village surrounded by a circular moat. According to experts, the Ikegami-Sone Site was the capital village of the Southern Osaka coastal area. This is evidenced by the many remnants from a prominent building designed with a large raised roof, the remains of a dedicated well, and the many recovered relics, pottery pieces, stone implements, and wooden artifacts.

Ikegami-Sone Site Park consists of an outdoor re-construction zone that has recreated a village from that bygone era. The ‘Guidance Centre’  provides information about Ikegami-Sone (at the time of Yayoi Period) and the visitor can also experience the Yayoi Period at the ‘Ikegamisone Yayoi Cultural Workshop’. A wide range of study tools for studying the period is available. Furthermore the ‘Osaka Prefectural Museum of Yayoi Culture’ opened in 1991 on an adjacent site.

The Great Building and Large Well

The Great Building was excavated at the center of the site. The pillar foundations that once supported the original structure tell us that the Great Building must have measured an area of 19.2 meters by 6.9 meters with an interior space of 133 square meters. This must have been one of the largest structures of the Yayoi Period. There are 11 pillars in each of two parallel rows running east to west and in the center are four holes for pillars that supported the highest roof point. Two of these are positioned at each end of the building, and being situated outside the main space, permitted erection of ‘gable style’ features. Remains of the wood from the original pillars have been found in 17 of 26 pillar holes. Of those 17 pillars, 3 were made from the wood of Zelkova trees while the other 14 were made of Japanese Cypress. By studying the growth rings within the latter trees, it has been determined that they were felled in the year 52 B.C.

The Large Well was formed using a huge portion of Camphor tree. The tree was first cast into a giant cylinder with an interior diameter of two meters. Because camphor trees have a strong odor, archaeologists have suggested that local villagers of the time did not use the well to draw drinking water but instead used the water to purify themselves during sacred rituals.

A. About the Ikegami-Sone Information House: The entrance to Ikegami-Sone Historic Park serves as a visitor reception space and to provide guidance information.

B. Ikegamisone Yayoi Cultural Workshop: This facility recreates the time when the pillars and well were first discovered. From making things by themselves, visitors can gain direct experience of the Yayoi Period.

C. Osaka Prefectural Museum of Yayoi Culture: This is a unique facility for studying all about the Yayoi Period and its culture in Japan.

1. The Great Building at Izumi: This is a restoration of the original large raised-roof building.

2. The Large Yayoi Well: Resoration of the large well. This is one of the largest raised roofs covering a well from the Yayoi Period and likewise, one of the largest carved wells of the time.

3. Pillars: These two pillars were not part of any structure and were built separately. Archaeologists believe they may be religious objects.

4. Buried Sanukite Stones: This is a reconstruction of the ditch in which several sanukite stone implements, and an axe used for religious rituals, were buried.

5. Buried Earthenware: These bottom-less earthenware objects were buried.

6. Square Well: The structure of this well was bored in a sideways direction. This is the oldest known example excavated in Japan.

7. Small Yayoi Pit: Holes in the wall were small but deep and holes for the pillars relatively thick. This has been constructed with a soil-thatch.

8. Buried Octopus Pot: Many buried octopus pots have been excavated. It has been suggested they were buried together as part of a prayer for good fishing.

9. Small Structure: This small structure has been restored and may have been a workplace for making tools. It is shaped like a house with a ‘hipped’ roof and a gabled roof.

10. Yayoi Pit-Dwellings: These are Yayoi Period dwellings. A circle style and square style home have been restored to show how people lived in the year 50 B.C.

11. Circular Moat: The large moat surrounding the village has been restored. The space enclosed by the moat has a diameter of approximately 300 meters.


Ikegami-Sone Yayoi Cultural Work Shop

14 02 2009

Open: 10:00AM to 5:00PM (No admittance after 4:30PM)

Closed: Monday (If Monday is a public holiday, closed Tuesday)

Admission: Free

Address: 2-12-45 Tihara-cho, Izumiotsu City

TEL: 0725-20-1841

FAX: 0725-20-1866

Tōdai-ji Temple

14 02 2009

http://www.todaiji.or.jp/ (Japanese)



Tōdai-ji Temple was built in the Nara period (710 – 794 AD) at the behest of Emperor Shomu (r. 724 – 749). The temple was officially positioned as one of the many state-established provincial temples. However, since the chief object of worship of the temple is Vairocana Buddha (“Buddha that shines throughout the world like the sun”), a magnificent temple was built to reflect this importance.

Tōdai-ji Temple serves both as a place of prayer for peace and affluence on earth, as well as a center of Buddhist doctrinal research. Over the centuries, Tōdai-ji has produced many famous scholar priests.

Tōdai-ji Temple was founded by Bishop Roben, and is to this day the Head Temple of the Kegon Sect of Buddhism. The chief object of the worship is Vairocana Buddha, who is also the central Buddha in the Kegon Sutra. The statue of Vairocana Buddha is made from cast bronze, which was then plated with gold. The statue was consecrated in 752, but was damaged and repaired several times in the following centuries. The currant hands of the statue were made in the Momoyama period (1568 – 1615), and the head was made in the Edo period (1615 – 1867). The Great Buddha Hall was burned in the fires of war in 1180 and 1567, and the current building is actually the third generation structure, which was built in the Edo period. The width of the current building is approximately 33% smaller than that of the original structure, but it still ranks are the largest wooden structure in the world.

Great Buddha Hall

National Treasure 18thc.

Frontage: 57.01m 187.03 ft.

Depth: 50.48m 165.61ft.

Height: 48.74m 159.89ft.

Virocana Buddha

National Treasure 8thc.

Height of Body: 14.98m 48.91ft.

Length of Head: 5.41m 17.75ft.

Length of Eye: 1.02m 3.34ft.

Length of Ear: 2.54m 8.33ft.

Height of Lotus-petal: 3.05m 10.00ft.

Octagonal Lantern

National Treasure 8thc.

Height: 4.62m 15.15ft.

The Japanese Garden in Daisen Park

13 02 2009

The Symbol of Sakai – Traditional Tsukiyama Rinsen Kaiyu Style

The Japanese Garden in Daisen Park

HOURS: April to October 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (gates close at 4:30 pm)

November to March 9:30am to 4:30 pm (gates close at 4:00 pm)

CLOSED: Mondays (Tuesday when Monday is a holiday), and New Year’s holiday

ADMISSION: Adults 200 yen, Children 100 yen. Admission is free for children not yet attending elementary school and adults over 65.

TEL: 072-247-3670

FAX: 072-247-3671

A traditional Japanese garden is quite different from western style gardens. Even when rocks and stones are used it is not the same as a European rock garden. And if the Japanese garden has water in the design, it is very different from a western garden with a fountain.

Traditional Japanese landscape design and architecture have been uniquely developed from ancient times. The Tsukiyama Rinsen Kaiyu style garden is one of the best examples in the nation of a traditional Japanese garden.

Facilities like the meeting hall (rest house), express the tradition and culture of Sakai and Japan.


Total Area: 26,000 square meters (North to south 300m, east to west 30~130m, circumference 940m)

Style of garden: Tsukiyama Rinsen Kaiyu style (with mounds, trees and pond to be strolled around)

Designed by: Kinsaku Nakane, Osaka Geijutsu University

Path in the garden: Sand soil pavement, cobblestones and curbstones (width 1~1.3m, length 760m)

Stream: Bank protected by natural stones (width 1~3m, length 200m, water volume 3.1 tons/min.)

Plants: Tall trees (59 kinds, approx. 1,450), Short trees (33 kinds, approx. 15,700), Ground cover (27 kinds, approx. 85,600), Lawn (approx. 1,100 square meters)

Arbor: Sukiya style Shrine-like building (building area 376.07 square meters, 3 Japanese tatami rooms, unfloored part 181.7 square meters

Ponds and fountains: Protected by natural stones and hewn stones (4,300 square meters)

Togendai: Stone pavement and lawn (1,410 square meters including lawn 420 square meters), perimeter; Peony garden (390 square meters, approx. 1,560 roots)


Made of Japanese cypress and roofed with bronze sheets. Japanese gates are a symbol of the owner’s power and wealth.

1. Rest House

A rest house is a place where you stop your activity and relax. This rest house is made totally of Japanese cypress, and covered with a bronze roof. It is a replica of a 15th century typical meeting hall for financially powerful merchants in Sakai, who were called Nayashu or Egoshu. There are three Japanese rooms inside; they are utilized for cultural events such as koto concerts or poem recitals. Across the pond, which symbolizes the ocean, the scenes use a Chinese touch to recall the Chinese continent.

2. Chisen

3. Eihakyo Bridge

4. Ingetsukyo Bridge

5. Shun’enkyo

6. Ishizukei

7. Ryunhaitei (arbor)

8. Togendai (utopia hill)

Togendai is a flat area of the garden named for a hill in China. Togendai means utopia, and this is a small utopia. Togendai is based on Tokagenki (peach blossom story) by T’an Yuan-ming, a Chinese poet. In this story, there is an arbor called Ryuhaitei, where an elegant ancient game was played in which the guest has to write and recite a waka (traditional Japanese poem) before his drink, which is being carried by the stream, reaches him. Ryuhai means a drinking cup floating on water. The granite used to make the stream was a generous gift to Sakai from Lianyungang, Sakai’s friend city in China.

9. Torikei

This is a path of stepping stones. Its name, meaning a path of peaches and plums, originated from a proverb in the history book, Shiki, written in the Han dynasty during the 3rd century B.C.

10. Kin’ikyo

This is a stone bridge named after a phrase from the Song of Peony by Li Shang-yin, a poet in the T’ang dynasty during the 9th century. The sound of the water, resembling a mountain stream, will help to ease your mind.

11. Tojakuchi

Tojakuchi is a pond of irises, as its name shows, gorgeous irises bloom here in the early summer. By the pond there is an arbor called Seitaitei (moss arbor), and a path of stepping stones called Zankohi (path of lingering scent), letting you enjoy peace and quiet by the water.

12. Seitaitei

13. Zankohi

14. Kasatei (umbrella arbor)

This is an arbor, shaped like a Bangasa (Japanese oil-papered umbrella). You can enjoy a panoramic view of the garden from here.

15. Rozan

16. Kokei (tiger creek)

Kokei is a creek, forcefully running down against the rocks, as if a tiger were baring his fangs. Gathering water from this creek, Hiryubaku tumbles into powerful splashes.

17. Hiryubaku (tumbling water splashes)

18. Kansenden (sweet fountain palace)

Based on a legendary story of a sweet fountain at the foot of Mt. Kansen, in Shanxi, China, ar arbor, representing Kansenden (the palace), and a fountain shaped like a dragon were created.

Tsukiyama/Chisen/Ryusui (mounds/ponds/streams)

Coming through the gate made of Japanese cypress, you will find a rest house covered with a bronze roof. This is a replica of a typical meeting hall used among Nayashu (financially powerful merchants unique to Sakai) in the medieval period when Sakai was a very prosperous city. The chisen (pond) symbolizes the ocean, and the area across the pond represents the Chinese continent.

The suggested route will lead you to Eihayko (bridge of beautiful waves) and Ingetsukyo (bridge of the moon). Walking along the stream, you will come to Togendai (utopia hill) via Shun’enkyo (bridge of spring swallows) and Ishizukei (Ishizu creek). On Togendai, outdoor tea ceremonies, bonsai exhibts, and other cultural events are often held.

The arbor located on Togendai is called Chishuntei. When it includes a stream which goes around on the floor, it is called Ruhaitei. In ancient times, this stream was used to send drinks to guests, in an elegant part game, in which the guest had to recite a poem before his drink arrived in front of him.

The continuous route, marked with stepping stones, will take you to Kin’ikyo bridge, over Torikei creek, and on to Tojakuchi pond. By the pond and along the stream you will find Seitaitei arbor, Zankohi stepping stones, Kasatei arbor, and Rozan (a hill representing Mt. Lu in China).

Continue on to Kokei (tiger creek) where water cascades onto rocks, and to Hiryubaku (tumbling water splashes) at the bottom of the waterfall, then to Kansenden (sweet fountain palace). The artist in you could be awakened when you look down at the ponds and fountains, and at the rest house on the other side of the arbor.

All through the strolling route, seasonal flowers will entertain you, and behind their beauty, peaceful koto music will soothe your soul.

We really hope you will have a wonderfully relaxing time in this Japanese garden, overflowing with traditional lanscape design techniques.


10 02 2009

This webpage shows different courses for biking (or walking) through historical Asuka, Nara Prefecture.

At the bottom is a map, showing routes to points of interest.

Visit the website here.

Learn more about Asuka on Wikipedia.

Kansai Museums

10 02 2009

Here are some links to English websites about museums in the Kansai area.

Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art

Osaka Maritime Museum

Kyoto National Museum

Osaka Prefectural Sayamaike Museum

Modern Transportation Museum

The Museum of Kyoto

Itami City Museum of Art


10 02 2009

Swingcard makes and distributes discount cards for the Kansai region of Japan. The cards cover a wide range of aspects, from museums to food to transportation. You can find these cards around Kansai, but I got mine at the Kansai Airport.

Click here for the Swingcard main website (Japanese)

Click here to view all Swingcard products