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Dan-no-Ura Ancient Battlefield Ruin

The Mimosuso River park

Shimonoseki City in Yamaguchi prefecture is famous as the place of the Battle of Dan-no-Ura, known as the last battle between Minamoto and Taira clans. At first, the battle was dominated by the Taira but after the flow of the tide changed, the Minamoto began to dominate. Finally, the Minamoto won the battle and the Kamakura era had begun in Japan.

Today, it is called Mimosuso River Park, a city park from where you can get a great view of the Kanmon strait. There is a monument of the Dan-no-Ura Old battlefield site and some great information displays to learn about the battle. There are some handprints by some famous actors who played roles in “Yoshitsune”, the NHK TV drama which was broadcast in 2005.

Some chosyu cannons which are replicas are exhibited in the park. Chosyu is a former name of Yamaguchi prefecture a long time ago. The real cannons were used the the Battle of Shimonoseki between Chosyu and 4 other countries such as Britain and France in 1863. Shimonoseki has been a very important city throughout Japanese history and Yamaguchi prefecture, called Chosyu, was one of the strongest areas in the past.

There is also a shrine called Akama Jingu near the park. It is dedicated to Emperor Antoku who drowned in the ocean during the Battle of Dan-no-Ura. The shrine looks like a Ryugu castle, taken from an old Japanese fairytale. It is fantastic and worth a visit if you go to Shimonoseki city.

Hagi city is also a famous place for sightseeing. There is Hagi castle downtown which is registered as a part of the World Cultural Heritage. You can see the buildings of old Japanese style such as the “Kikuya Family residence” and the “birthplace of Takasugi Shinsaku”. If you like history and traditional architecture, I also recommend to go there!

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