[Feature] Beni-no-Kura! Town Information Center
The Town Information Center in Beni-no-Kura provides tourist information about Yamagata.
You can also get info on sightseeing and events held in the whole area of Yamagata city, as well as details on the downtown area of Nanokamachi and Tokamachi.
Not only tourists but also residents of Yamagata city may find unexpected information…
Please drop in for info on what to do when walking around the city.
◆ A lot of Yamagata city information
Beni-no-Kura was opened in 2009 after renovating the warehouses of the Marutani Hasegawa family, which made a fortune as a safflower merchants during the Edo period.
The five warehouses on the site are used as restaurants, shops and information facilities.
The exterior full of romance is now a symbol of Tokamachi and has been selected for the Yamagata Landscape Award.
The Town Information Center in Beni-no-Kura provides various information to those who want to visit Yamagata.
◆ Characteristics of the safflower exhibition
The Town Information Center also serves as a venue to various exhibitions, including the current “Safflower Exhibition.”
*Period: June 6 (Sat.) to July 19 (Sun.), 2020
Safflower was an indispensable part of the development of Yamagata and the glory of the Marutani Hasegawa family.
There are several types of safflower, and the most standard one we often see in Yamagata is “Mogami Benibana.”
It is used not only as a dye, but also for traditional Chinese medicine and dishes too.
Maruha Benibana and Natsu-Matsuri safflowers are improved varieties made for flower viewing.
Maruha Benibana has fewer thorns than Mogami benibana, and has a rounded shape.
Natsu-Matsuri is a cute type with small flowers.
In addition, dolls made of washi (Japanese paper) that reproduce the process of making Beni-mochi are also on display.
Benimochi is a dye material made through a process that starts with the harvesting of the safflower, described here through the washi dolls.
Please take a closer look at the details.
The Benibana folding screen by Eisaku Aoyama (reproduction) is a prefectural tangible cultural property.
This work depicts a series of scenes from the cultivation of safflowers to processing and distribution. It has earned an extremely high reputation as a work of art.
There are explanations of each scene under the screen, so please read them carefully.
*For more information on the safflower exhibition, please see “Details” at the end of the article.
◆ Blooming soon! Safflower will color Beni-no-Kura
When I went outside, there were many potted plants lined up under the sun.
These are actual safflower plants.
Every year, an event called “Safflower Sodadetai” is held so that people can experience growing safflower from seed planting to cutting.
Unfortunately, this year it was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Since the staff members are lovingly raising them, they have a wonderful appearance!
Flowering is expected around early July, but it may be earlier than usual because warm days continue this year.
I can’t wait to see the bright yellow flowers.
◆ First-come-first-served gifts! Stamp rally
In addition, the “Castle Town Yamagata Shichifukujin Walk” stamp rally is currently being held in the center of Yamagata City.
After visiting Ebisu in Hatagomachi, Daikokuten in Nanokamachi, Bishamonten in Beni-no-Kura and four other deities in other locations, you will receive an amulet on a first-come-first-served basis if you collected all the red stamps!
This amulet has a design that makes you smile with the Seven Lucky Gods and looks to be very promising. It comes in five different colors!
Why don’t you take part in this walk to help with recent lack of exercise following the long self-isolation period?
◆ Gorgeous, gorgeous! And so are other items too...
When you leave the Town Information Center and head for the garden with the shrine is you will see a notice board.
When you follow the narrow alley next to the restroom, you can see a zushi (miniature shrine) that shines golden.
A zushi is a miniature shrine in which Buddhist statues, stupa, sutras,or tiles are kept. It is a very precious object that the heads of the Marutani Hasegawa family once sought from Kyoto.
Bishamonten is enshrined in the zushi for prosperous business and safe navigation.
It is also famous as Uesugi Kenshin, who is very close to Yamagata, believed in it too.
◆ Watch the details carefully
First of all, the majestic appearance is overwhelming, but the decorations are also very elaborate.
Red, blue, and vivid colors give off a beautiful light that is second to none.
Entry is free so please take a look.
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