Noji

Noji, a place now is called Kusatsu (草津市) in the Shiga Prefecture (滋賀県).

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It is a rural area where the population is only about 137,000.

Noji has been mentioned in “Diary of the Sixteenth Night written by Nun Abutsu (1222-1283) and here is what she wrote:

“At a place called Noji, I could see no one coming or going. The sun was beginning to set and just as I was feeling most saddened, a light rain began to fall.” (Laffin, 859)

It was the first city that she had been to after she crossed the Osaka Barrier which is the barrier between Yamashiro and Omi Provinces.

During the Edo period, this place was an important Shukuba; it was a post station where travelers could take a rest on their journey on the Nakasendo Road and Tokaido Road. In the modern days, this place is still an important terminal for railway trains. It is a junction that connects Biwako Line, Kusatsu Line, Meishin Expressway, Shin-Meishin Expressway, Japan National Route 1, and Japan National Route 8.

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Even for Japanese, this place, Kusatsu, is easily mixed up with the one in Gunma (群馬県) which is famous for onsen (hot spring).

For tourists, there are several sites where people can enjoy:

The Shiga Matsuri

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Lake Biwa Museum

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Mizunomori Water Botanical Garden

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References:

Christina Laffin, trans., “Diary of the Sixteenth Night,” in Classical Japanese Literature: An Anthology, ed. Haruo Shirane (New York: Columbia University Press, forthcoming).

“Kusatsu City, Shiga.” Kusatsu City, Shiga, Japan. City Population, n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2016.

“Kusatsu, Shiga.” Kusatsu, Shiga. PHOTOGUIDE.JP, n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2016.

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