Kamo aquarium is along the coast line of Tsuruoka city and is near a harbour. The aquarium itself is known for and has a large collection of jellyfish. It also has a small section where you can see the evolution of the jellyfish as it ages which is something quite amazing. There is a unusual selection sea life, local fishes, anemones and crabs and finally a sea lion show which is on multiple times throughout the day. The aquarium is quite popular and is busy during the weekends so it is better if you have the chance to go during the week. At the end, visit the gift shop and take a venture at tasting the unusual aquarium speciality, Jelly fish ice-cream.
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 )
During the Chinju Hie Shrine Festival in Sakata, called Sakata Sanno-sai (presently the Sakata Festival ), each neighborhood contributed a float the festival, Mitsuoka Honma, head of the third generation of the Honma Family, commissioned the Kame Kasa Hoko parade float to contribute splendor to the Sanno Festival and enliven the city. Taking a hint from the Kyoto Gion Festival, in 1765 he had the float built by a Kyoto puppeteer and brought by ship to Sakata.
A Kame Hoko ( turtle float )was chosen because the Kamegasaki Castle was a part of Sakata’s his tory. And turtles were thought to be messengers of the Sea God’s Palace and thus considered very auspicious.
In addition, the head of this turtle resembles the head of dragon. This is apparently connected to the fact that the Sintai god at Kamihie Shrine is dragon god.
For many years, each time the Sanno Festival was held the float was placed in front of the Honma Residence. It was also part of the parade procession and came to be known as “The Honma Family’s turtle.”
In February 2001, it was donated the city of Sakata and designated as a tangible folklore cultural asset. For the two years 2001 and 2002 it underwent repairs and the umbrella was newly restored.
Kamikasa Hoko has an intimate history connected with the Sakata Sanno Festival.
(Sakata Board of Education)