“You know, there are stone steps below the ticket booth. They’re the remains of the pond’s embankment.” Mr. Hajime Kobayashi said that and the second field study (I’ve already written the first one: http://wp.me/p16bjt-j1 ) began. It was held on March 5th. It had been clear up at the first tour, but unfortunately it was raining that day.
What Mr. Kobayashi mentioned is that the stone stairways below the ticket office at Higashiyama Zoo is the remains of part of the embankment of a pond called Shin-ike, which is next to Chikusa Sports Center. Today there is a parking lot across from the pond, but it used to be a part of the pond, which was much bigger in the old days. The pond was reclaimed for building a wide and straight road after World War II. There’re some trees remaining by the parking lot still now. It is a relic of a garden of a house which used to be near the pond.
The participants of the class walked along the wide street named Hirokoji-dori and turned left and entered an alley before Hoshigaoka Station. The area is called Kameiri. “Kameiri” means upper water gate. There used to be a pond called Nigori-ike around here and to be connected to Shin-ike near the zoo. But there is nothing left of the pond now. What welcomed us at the end of the alley was an old-looking temple. It is Renge-ji Temple. It was moved from the temple town of Higashi-ku on account of the modernization of the city.
There is a hill around the station. We climbed up the slope and arrived at another temple. Unlike the former one, this Daijo-ji Temple looked very new and was quite big. I often come to Hoshigaoka area, but I didn’t know there is such a gorgeous temple nearby until the walking tour. The temple was built there about 60 years ago. Mr. Kobayashi said, “They were able to build such a big temple in this place because the cost of the land around here was very cheap at that time. I also might have bought a bit of land around here if I had known the subway station and the bus terminal and Mitsukoshi, the department store, were built…”
We went through the alley behind the station and came to a small shrine. It is Kobo-do. We saw two other similar ones in Kakuozan and Motoyama at the first class walk. You see two modern buildings behind the small shrine on the photo. One of the buildings is a part of Shukutoku University. I come to the university to take Tai Chi class on Tuesdays, but I had never noticed the shrine.
As I mentioned on my former article (http://wp.me/p16bjt-j1), Kobo-do is related to water. According to our teacher Mr. Kobayashi, there used to be a spring around there, and a villager had a business with the pure water in old days. It was nagashi somen: people catch and eat noodles with their chopsticks as the noodles run down stream water.
Suddenly a small park appeared before us while walking along the main street after leaving the shrine and the university. Actually this place used to be a part of the main road. It’s become a kind of rest place to prevent it be used a parking lot by drivers and to make the road straight.
After leaving the small park, we crossed the road and entered the alley. Actually the alley used to be the main street in the old era. The people of the past walked through this road to bring their renders to the castle town, the center of old Nagoya, and to come back to their village. Today the area looks very modern and tall apartment or business buildings are standing along the alley. But the place used to be hills and mountains and had a narrow unpaved path and rice fields.
I was able to learn many things about my area I hadn’t known through this course of Nagoya Study this time. It’s become an eye-opener for me. There are many things remaining I don’t know in the field. After the disaster last year, many people have become interested in the history of their places and whose old names. Many of the devastated places have names which tell historical disasters such as earthquakes and tsunami, or tell what used to be those places in the old days. It’s a good thing to study about your place not only for fulfilling your intellectual curiosity but also for disaster prevention.