ODA NOBUNAGA TOUR/ Kiyosu, Komaki + Gifu

So, this was my third Nobunaga Tour, and since I managed to get a few precious days off from work in summer (later-- Late spring, but it's the same in my line of work), I decided to dedicate them to events and festival dedicated to Nobunaga.

I didn't manage to get as many required days so see all the matsuri that fill my "to-attend list", but I still managed to get a few interesting bits out of them. I hope you'll have to follow me in these 3-days marathon dedicated to Nobunaga, then :)

Since I struggled to squeeze my tour during the "Nobunaga Year" of Gifu, I decided that a good way to celebrate him would be another attempt to finish the "Nobunaga Dream Highway" Stamp Rally, that this year featured the golden statue of Gifu on its pamphlet.

Another event that I wanted to see was the Memorial Ceremony at Sokenji in Nagoya. I read somewhere that the temple was open to the public in this occasion-- But it wasn't actually true. Visits are allowed provided a recommendation, and the same applied for the attendance of the ceremony. In the end I couldn't manage to get a spot, so I dropped Nagoya as part of my Nobu tour.
Fortunately, while browsing the website of Kiyosu castle (清洲城) to organize my visit there, I got to know that another memorial ceremony, this one open to the public and located to Kiyosu Park, was scheduled for June 2, and that for the occasion the entrance to the castle museum was free! It was like killing two birds with one stone, and it greatly increased my spirit.

So, I was up at a good hour to visit the museum and get my first stamp there.
I noticed a few things changing compared to my last visit five years earlier.
Now in the whole area is prohibited to take pictures, and the general exhibition at the second floor turned into something that reminded me of Gifu museum depiction of a "rakuichi rakuza" thing... As much as I find the outfitting of Kiyosu castle quite informative, I think that it goes a bit overboard with its role: what's the point of talking about Nagashino and the rakuichi rakuza there...?
At the same time, it struggles to focus on what comes after Nobunaga, the infamous "Kiyosu Conference", expecially after the contributions of TV dramas and movies.
In this sense, the exhibition was interesting, but maybe a little much catered to youngsters, with all thos fancy pictures and the like. I liked the generic exhibition at the first floor, instead.
My visit wasn't very exciting, expecially because, since it was a "free entrance day", the staff wasn't much keen on action: for example, that "samurai dress up thing" was not active. Not that I cared, I got my huge fill of pictures in armour years before, but it was a bit depressing seeing the area pretty much abandoned... Oh, well!

I took a little stroll around the garden and then headed to the park to see the statues of Nobunaga and Nohime:

These statues are supposed to depict Nobunaga right before his departure to the battle of Okehazama.
The expression of Nouhime is kinda endearing and "cute", don't you think so?

After this it was the time for the ceremony. It was quite suggestive.
The ritual was celebrated by a shinto priestess and it consisted in offerings to the spirit of Nobu, that on June 2, 1582 (actually, it was on the "second day of the sixth month"... So June 21 according to certain calculations on the Western calendar, but in Japan they prefer to adher to the symbolical date) met his end at Honnoji.

Some big shots of Kiyosu city offered their contribution to the memory of Nobunaga with a short speech, and then it was the time of the ritual dances and exhibitions; it was all about taiko, Atsumori and the like.

I took a video of the Atsumori dance, you can check it out on my Facebook account.

Refueled with passion, I decided to follow Nobunaga steps, so after Kiyosu it was the time to deal with Komaki.
Nobunaga built the castle of Komaki (小牧城) during his hostilities with Tatsuoki Saito, located in Gifu.
It was my second stop of the stamp rally :D

Komaki was considered, rather than a castle, a little fort and provisional residence, but recent excavations showed that it was actually planned and built as a proper mountain-top castle.
The reconstruction that graces Mount Komaki is pretty much fictional and it's based on Hiunkaku Pavilion of Nishi Honganji Temple in Kyoto. It was donated by Shigeru Hiramatsu on 1968 who shared his personal collection of archaelogical finds with the city.
I was a bit skeptical about this spot, but the museum is really worth a visit. It's probably the nicer reconstruction I saw 'til now, with all its wooden interior.
On the outside you can explore the archaelogical excavations of the ancient castle ruins, now part of the park.
Two Komaki castles were built here during Sengoku time: the first version by Nobunaga, who used this spot to reach Inuyama Castle and from there attack Tatsuoki's Gifu (Inabayama), and the second was by Ieyasu Tokugawa, during the Komaki-Nagakute Battle, that sprouted after Nobunaga's death and saw Hideyoshi's forces against Ieyasu and Nobukatsu's. It was 1584.

From the top of the castle museum you can get a nice view of the surrounding area.
Our next step is there-- Gifu!

I reached Gifu in the afternoon, and I was so happy to join the festive mood for the 450th Anniversary of the city!! It was all Nobunaga-themed... It was awesome!

Being a weekday there wasn't any scheduled event for the day, but still, I managed to keep myself busy.
First of all, a visit to Gifu Castle to get my stamp!

While reaching the top of Mount Kinka, I managed to get a good view of the recent excavations of what is considered as Nobunaga's residence.

...I wonder how they could be so sure that it was Nobu's house... What if it was Nobutada's, instead..? Anyway the matter is taken quite seriously here, and the efforts are showing.

I always enjoy a visit to the tiny Gifu castle museum, even if it's filled with reproductions.
The exhibition about all the lords of the castle is quite suggestive, and I greatly appreciate the informations in English. There was also an interesting part about Luis Frois and his first visit to Nobunaga, exactly in Gifu.

In the tiny museum next to the reconstructed castle there was a tiny exhibition of Nobunaga in manga art.
It wasn't allowed to take pictures, but here's my precious chirashi about it XD
The masterpiece around which the whole thing was build was a piece of Tsuyoshi Nagano, an artist of KOEI that dealt with Nobunaga no Yabou videogame's artworks, plus some original pages of the manga Nobunaga no Chef by Mitsuru Nishimura with the scenes set in Gifu.
It was quite interesting!
The exhibition is scheduled to last 'til December and on July more artworks of Nagano-sensei should be exposed, if I decyphered the chirashi well...

I took my time in the shopping area of Mount Kinka ropeway to look for appropriate souvenirs :D
Besides the usual omiyage the choice was quite stunning...

They even got gunplas!

In the end I got back with a few thinglets. The bottle dedicated to Sengoku Musou, a substantial increase in my collection of Nobunaga's badges and well, I tried my luck with those gashapon thingies--

...Guess what?
So there's space for some little joy in this life of mine!

On the way back I made sure to take a few pictures of the statue of Nobunaga by the entrance to the park:

The reference of this peculiar equestrian statue is that of the horse riding ground in the precints of the castle.
Even when no longer in his prime, Nobunaga is described as the sporty type who enjoyed hunting and yabusame, activities inherited by his son Nobutada, who bacame lord of Gifu after his father retired and moved to Azuchi.

On my way back I spotted this temple; it's Entokuji (円徳寺):
This is were Nobunaga inaugurated the rakuichi rakuza, enstablishing the nighttime market in the temple grounds.
This place has a long story with the Oda. On 1547, the Oda victims of the battle of Kanouguchi were buried here. The "Oda Mound" is still preserved in the temple precints.
Besides, when Hidenobu, the son of Nobutada and heir to the Oda Clan after Hideyoshi's scheming, lost Gifu castle after battling against Ikeda Terumasa and Fukushima Masanori, he was forced to become a monk right here.

Anyway, I managed to entertain myself on my way back to the station with another stamp rally, this time dedicated to Sengoku Musou (again!):
It was a stamp rally dedicated to improve the shops of the area, it included conbini, hobby shops, restaurants and hotels... It was quite the fun research!
unfortunately it was already late when I started, so many shops were closed already, making it impossible for me to end my collection and get a cute strap as a souvenir XD But I still tried to get the stamps of my favourite characters:

--Those things were full of ink, though D': They stained and smudged everywheeere!
Also, I misread the kanji and mistook Maeda Kenji for Maeda Toshiie-- UMPHF ): !

When I got home I was exhausted and my feet were blistering already--! But the satisfaction was great :)