Kenji Miyazawa was a famous Japanese author of children’s literature and poet. Some of his famous works are ‘Night on the Galactic railroad and ‘Gauche and the Cellist’.
The park features a strange experience through surrealistic rooms and buildings, as well as small interwinding paths through the forests surrounding the park. The mysterious rooms at Kenji’s school each explore a new world, from a mirror room to a insect world where size is inverted.
Kenji’s classrooms are a row of wooden log houses each exhibiting a interesting way to learn about animals, plants, stars and rocks that appear in Kenji Miyazawa’s fairy tales.
Then don’t forget to pop into the last class to buy and take home a gift.
Constructed in 1893, Sankyo Rice Storehouse is comprised of 12 storehouses. This facility was only used for storing rice, and 9 of the storehouses are still in use today. The rest have been renovated into the Shonai Rice Museum and Sakata Yume no Kura.
The insulted double-tiered roof, the whitewashed plaster walls, and the soil floor containing magnesium chloride, were constructed to prevent humidity and maintain a low temperature to keep rice quality stable year round. The walls at the back of the storehouses are covered with the line of zelkova trees not only provides shade from the sun, but also protects all 12 buildings from the wind.
The rice used to be packed in rice bales made of straw. One bale was 60 kg, which is approx. 27 lb. A single storehouse can hold 20,000 bales (1,200 tons; approx. 550,000 lb. ) Given that there are 9 storehouses still used, a total of 180,000 bales ( 10,800 tons; approx. 5,000,000 lb.) are stored.
People in Sakata have admired and regarded Sankyo Rice Storehouse and the zelkova trees as a symbol of prosperity, and thus a symbol of the city.
The well-known TV drama Oshin was filmed in many places in Yamagata Prefecture, and one of the filming locations was here at Sankyo Rice Storehouse. The drama aired from 1983 to 1984, and after that was broadcast in many countries all over the world. The scene at the storehouse was rather short, but it moved the audience to tears. This memorable touching scene has made the location so famous that a lot of travelers visit every year.
(from Sankyo Soko Pamphlet )
We decided to take part in a kokeshi workshop in Yamagata city. The workshop was located in a shopping centre within a gallery space where there was a large collection of Kokeshi dolls. Many designed by the workshop teacher himself. The workshop consisted of planning the designs on paper first and then later painting with thick inks directly onto the prepared wooden dolls. The calligraphy paintbrushes are difficult tools to control especially if you are used to western paintbrushes. Everything was provided along with ink but to paint a kokeshi doll was a very difficult task, especially when it came to painting on the eyes. The last step was to rub wax onto the doll.
Overall the workshop was great and in a very calm atmosphere, the final dolls were photographed and then wrapped up to take home. In total the worksop lasted around an hour.
This museum displays the work of world famous photographer Ken Domon. Domon’s powerful masterpieces the “Pilgrimage to Old Temples” and “Hiroshima” series, and his other photographs are on view. The work of top artists, such as the beauty of this building that complements the natural surroundings, the gardens, sculptures and the work’s name plates, all combine to create the artistic space in this museum. (From the guidebook “Museums in Yamagata”)
About Ken Domon (1909 〜 1990)
A photographer, born in Sakata City, Ymagata Prefecture. He is a great master who established the realism in the photographic world. He was in a certain period called a demon for news photographic work and is now well known throughout the world.
” A Pilgrimage through Old Temples”, his lifework, is regarded as the pinnacle among his masterpieces and is followed by the similarly distinguished works, such as “Muroji Temple”, “Hiroshima”, “The Children in Chikuho”, “Bunraku Puppets”, “Features”, “Old Ceramics in Japan”, “Wanderings through Old Kilns”, “Lives of Japanese Master-hands” and many other works. Every work of these is famous respectively as a great monument.
The artistic value of Ken Domon is said to lie in his snappings at the beauties of Japan and minds of the Japanese. His achievements in photography are highly evaluated and he won not only the first Ars Photographic Culture Prize in 1943, but got many excellent prizes. He was decorated in 1972 with a Purple Ribbon Medal, and in 1980 with the Fourth Order of Merit with Minor Cordon of the Rising Sun.
(From a guidebook of Ken Domon Museum of Photography)
Keiji Mashimo (1914-1993) was a painter born in Yamagata prefecture who lived until the age of 79. With a painting career spanning 60 years, his works focused almost exclusively on Yamagata’s famed Mogami River. Unfazed by even harsh winter weather or heavy snowfall, he refused to do his painting work anywhere but on the banks of the Mogami River, and it was not unusual for him to paint similar scenes numerous times.
According to Mashimo, “The air and the light are always different, so a landscape is never the same. In this world, there is no such thing as a landscape that remains unchanged.” Flowing over 200 km from its headwaters to the Sea of Japan, the Mogami River is entirely contained within the borders of Yamagata prefecture, and Mashimo traveled from its upper to lower reaches in every season to document the many faces of this beloved river. (Takashi Nakamura )