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東の 野にかぎろひの 立つ見へて かへり見すれば 月かたぶきぬ

Himugashino Nonikagiroino Tatsumiete Kaerimisureba Tsukikatabukinu

(Facing the first light of the dawn in the east, behind the moon is setting.)


The time of Prince Karu is about to begin, as his father, Prince Kusakabe, has passed away. (Kakinomoto no Hitomaro: Manyō-shu 1-48)

At Yamato, Nara, Ōtomo no Iemochi edited Japan’s oldest book of poetry, Manyō-shu. The areas around Uda city appear in many of those poems.

This poem was written by Kakinomoto no Hitomaro, when he accompanied Prince Karu on a hunting trip to Akino, Uda-city in 692. Prince Karu must have chosen this place to remember his father, Prince Kusakabe. This is also the place where his grandfather, Emperor Tenmu, had passed through on his way from Yoshino to fight the Jinshinnoran war. Later, Prince Karu became Emperor Monmu (697-707), but he also died young at the age of 18. We might wonder what was in his mind when with Hitomaro he saw the first glimmer of dawn in the east as the moon set in the west.

1300 years later, we now live in the Japanese era of Reiwa, when seven billion people live on earth and we can travel to the other side of globe in one day. But the charm of ancient Okuyamato, beyond Yamato, is still alive. As Iemochi collected poems, we also want to collect and introduce our favourite places. We, the Okuyamato Travel Club, hope that you, from all corners of the world, will someday visit this charming gateway to Ancient Japan. Please enjoy!

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