Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645), the legedendary Japanese swordsman and author of The Book of Five Rings fought one of his most famous duels in Kyoto near the Shisendo Temple in the north east of Kyoto.
The area now known as Ichijoji-sagarimatsu-cho has a stone memorial to the duel and the Hachidai Shrine, next door to Shisendo, has a statue of Miyamoto Musashi.
Supposedly Musashi challenged the head of the Yoshioka School of swordsmanship and after defeating him and his brother in Kyoto in separate duels was to fight the young heir to the school, Yoshioka Matashichiro, at the "spreading pine" (sagarimatsu) in Ichijoji. Taking no chances the boy turned up with a small force to ambush Musashi, but the master swordsman, killed the young Yoshioka and a number of the men sent to ambush him and escaped.
Musashi continued his life as a wandering swordsman before retiring to write The Book of Five Rings and to paint.
To get to Hachidai Shrine take a number #5 bus to Ichijoji-sagarimatsu-cho from Kyoto Station and walk up the hill or take an Eiden train from Demachi Yanagi Station to Ichijoji and walk east.
Friday, July 04, 2008
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