Aizu Mura park
Our next stop was at Aizu Mura park and amazing statue of Aizu Dai Jibo Kannon (Mother-like Kannon Buddha of Aizu).
A 57m (187ft) tall statue of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, represents Budha in his female form. She is holding a child in her arms while a small Budha is sitting on top of her head. A statue is located on top of a small hill on the edge of Aizu Mura park, containing a small pagoda, statue of resting Budha and azaleas and irises whom they are very proud of. I was told they are most beautiful in spring but I was there in winter so… maybe next time 😀
Placed on the west side of Tsuruga-jo castle, a Nisshinkan, Aizu clan school was important place for educating of young samurai.
Established in 1803. by Genko Tanaka, school was a place where 10 years old kids were taught about martial arts (archery, shooting, horse riding and swimming) as well as Confusianism, mathematics, astronomy and medicine – books were translated mostly from the Dutch. At least 5 traditional martial arts schools (ryu ha) were taught in Nisshinkan: Mizoguchi-ha Ryu (kenjutsu – swordsmanship), Itto Ryu (kenjutsu), Yasumitsu Ryu, Shin Ten Ryu (iai jutsu), Taishi Ryu (kyudo – archery) and Shinto Seibu Ryu. A little bragging from my side: there is a room where you can try yourself in Japanese archery. Targets are about 10-15m away, about 30cm in diameter and you have 4 arrows. I succeeded and one arrow hit the target. As far as I could notice, there were two of us who succeeded 😀
caligraphy class as it probably looked like in Nisshinkan
The policy of a clan was that children should learn the basic ideas of adulthood by playing with other children and talking to their elders. Astronomy was optional and students could learn about universe using terrestrial and celestial globe telescope. There were only two schools with astronomical observatories in Japan in that time (the other one was in Satsuma-Kagoshima). Also, there were swimming classes and kids were taught how to swim and how to swimm wearing yoroi, armour with helmet and sabre as well as moving through water on a horse.
And that was all. Next morning, while strong rain was all over Honshu island, a plane took me off from Narita International airport. I hope it was not my last visit 🙂
More photos here.