Thursday, March 17, 2011
This is the draincover for Miyoshi, a town in the mountains of Hiroshima, and upstream from us on the Gonokawa river. It depicts cormorants as ukai, the traditional method of river fishing using trained cormorants is still practised here in the summer.
I don't have any photos of the ukai, but I hope to see it later this year. I do have a few photos of wild cormorants though, this one was along the moat of Okayama castle.
In front of a house a few meters away from where I took the draincover photo I did find this rice-straw model of what I believe is a cormorant sitting on top of a turtle.
Miyoshi is not particularly famous, but like a lot of places off the beaten track it is possible to spend a day or two there and find enough to see. Miyoshi dolls are still produced here, made of clay, and there is a nice free museum with a big display and its alos possible to visit workshops where they are made.
Miyoshi also has a connection with the Chushingura, the story of the 47 Ronin. The wife of the Lord who was avenged by the ronin came from Miyoshi and after they committed ritual suicide she spent the rest of her life caring for the families of the 47. At her burial place in Miyoshi are statues of her and the 47 ronin as well as a cherry tree reputedly planted by the leader of the 47.
Previous posts on Miyoshi, mostly about the shrines, can be found here