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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Matsudaira-go

松平郷

Matsudaira-go is an area of historic interest and natural beauty not far from the city of Toyota in central Japan. It was in this place that the Matsudaira clan had its base and it was Matsudaira Takechiyo, who later changed his name to Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was to become the supreme leader of Japan in 1603 and begin the Tokugawa shogunate that was to rule Japan until 1867.

Matsudaira-go, Aichi


This history of the Matsudaira clan is celebrated in a procession of participants in Edo Period costume during the Matsudaira matsuri that takes place on the weekend before April 17 each year. Visitors to the area can take in Kogetsuin Temple, the family temple of the Matsudaira clan, Matsudaira Toshogu Shrine, which is dedicated to the shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, a statue of the 14th century founder of the Matsudaira clan - Matsudaira Chikauji and the Matsudaira-go Historical Museum. Near to the museum is a well, water from which was used for Matsudaira Takechiyo's (aka Tokugawa Ieyasu) first bath following his birth in Okazaki Castle.

Another festival of note in Matsudaira-go is a Hadaka (Naked) Festival, known as Tenkasai that takes place on the second Sunday in February at Matsudaira Toshogu Shrine when males over 16 wearing loincloths take part in a purification ritual. The festival, which is believed to be ancient in origin, was discontinued in the Meiji Period (1868-1912) but was revived in 1988. Men aged 42, which is considered yakudoshi or an unlucky age, compete to touch a ball that has been soaked in holy water the night before.

Matsudaira-go, near Toyota
Matsudaira Chikauji statue


Matsudaira-go Access

There are Meitetsu buses to the area from Shin Toyota Station and Higashi Okazaki Station that take about 40 minutes to reach Matsudaira-go, but a car would be better to travel to the various places of interest here unless you are coming to hike or cycle. Matsudaira-go is located about 10km east of Toyota city on National Highway 301. Take the Tsurumai Line of the Nagoya subway to get to Toyota via Akaike Station.

Matsudaira-go, Aichi


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