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Trip to Yamagata

Elegant Trip to Visit Hina Dolls and Kyoto Culture (Murayama Area)

Elegant Trip to Visit Hina Dolls and Kyoto Culture (Murayama Area) 
The vestiges of wealthy merchants who prospered through the safflower and Kansai culture that can be seen in warehouses
The highly valued Safflower of Yamagata
In the era of Yoshimitsu Mogami, a daimyo during the warring states period, the castle town was built.
And then, during the Edo period, Yamagata-shi also became a city of Safflower merchants.

From the Edo period to early Meiji era, red dyes, lipsticks
and clothing materials were very rare and so the Safflower was highly valued.

Although it was being cultivated in various places through Tohoku,
the safflower (Mogami safflower) of the Murayama area was known for it's good quality
and high production quantity.

The safflower was transported on the Mogami River to the west until the Sea of Japan,
then all the way to Kyoto.
The city of safflower merchants, "the warehouses" remaining in Yamagata
Even now, the vestiges of the time the safflower merchants were prospering in Yamagata-shi
can be seen through the city just by taking a walk.

Those are the warehouses scattered in various places in Yamagata.

By the influence of the Kansai culture, many merchant shops and traditional Japanese rooms were built.
When you arrive and lay eyes on the town, you immediately see the deep charm of those buildings lining up.

The culture brought up by the Safflower strongly influenced the life style of the residents.
Also, in the various residences of wealthy merchants, traditional Japanese rooms exists.

"Safflower Museum" in Kahoku-cho,
the residence of the former richest merchant of the district Shirobee Horigome,
is one of the formal Japanese buildings that are being exhibited.

In addition, "Kashiwagura Kuzaemon's Residence house" in Nakayama-machi
The residence of a former striving merchant who was working for the village chief
under the rule of the Yamagata feudal clan in the middle of the Edo period may also be seen.

In house of also these business magnates
with the profits made from the safflower industry, bought many luxurious things.
Among those riches are the lovely hina dolls.
Samidare wo atsumete hayashi Mogami-gawa
The Mogami River was described through a poem like this by the poet Basho Matsuo.
It is one of Japan's three biggest streams with the Fuji River, the Kuma River.

It streams through the prefecture from Yonezawa to Sakata,
In the Edo era, after the ruler Yoshimitsu Mogami
opened the route from the upper stream to the mouth of the river,
It was immediately used as a main marine transport way.

The water of the river enriches the land of the basin,
and helped the industrial and agricultural sectors with its production of rice and fruits.

The fruit trees, textile, safflower and lacquer which were produced in various places
Were all carried through the Mogami River to Sakata,
It was put on a cargo ship, and then it was sold in distant places.

In the return ship,
Hina dolls, traditional clothes, Buddha statues, food culture were acquired,
As well as money, "the Mogami River carried culture"
These cultural objects had a big influence.
The hina dolls were one of these objects.

At that time, there were many ship guard stations along the Mogami River, and the towns prospered.
One of the main river ports was Oishida-machi.
Along the river, there used to be many transportation ships coming and going.
The warehouse walls along the river are a remainder of those days of prosperity.

Those beautiful white plaster walls being reflected along the river are one the highlights of the river.
With that scenery on it's side, the Mogami river heads toward Shonai.
Cafe "Obihachi"
Since the Meiji era, many warehouses were built. Nowadays, many shops use these old warehouses.
Safflower Museum
In Yachi, Kahoku-cho where the safflower is abundant, the Hina doll Festival is being held frequently.
Kashiwagura Kuzaemon's Residence house
One of the remaining warehouses with Kansai style appearance where one of the few remaining Buddhist altar room is being preserved.
Hina refuge, Jionji encampment
Hina dolls are being exhibited all year round at the Komichi museum. There also is a Japanese restaurant and an Italian cafe where you can rest a little.
Earthen wall of Mogami River
The earthen walls that were being built in those days, reminds us of a time of prosperity.
Private house Hina doll Festival
Depending on areas, Hina dolls can be seen in exhibition in common houses.


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