UGO INFORMATION


LOCATION

Ugo-machi is located in the southeast of Akita prefecture and very close to Yamagata prefecture. Because of the location between the big cities of Yokote and Yurihonjo it grew as a important town in the valley. Two thirds of the area is mountainous district which is part of the Dewa hilly district.The level ground belonged to the Yokote basin and it is a rich agricultural area.


HISTORY
Evidence shows that this area had been populated for two millions years. Some stone implements of the Old Stone Age were found around the Gowade and Tarada ruins and there are many Jomon ruins around this town. About B.C.200~300, eastern advanced culture was introduced. 
Ogachi castle was built in 759 and it was the first place of development inland of this prefecture.
Nishimonai military base was formed and it became an important area for the prefecture in 1667 and the beginning of urbanization. In 1890, 28 areas connected to 7 areas. This later became 1 big area and 6 smaller areas in 1955. Ugo-machi didn’t join the government’s policy in 2002. This policy was to connect surrounding smaller towns with the city. Ugo-machi decided to be self supporting.


BUSANHIN (PRODUCTS)
 
TRADITIONAL CRAFT
TRADITIONAL CRAFT
Many kinds of merchandise can be purchased in connection with the elegant Nishimonai Bon dance.
Photographs of the dancers, cloth dolls, ai-dyed (blue dye) scarves and postcards….etc.
 
 
SOBAMANJU
SOBAMANJU
This is a Japanese cake using soba flour and bean paste. The outside is made from the soba flour and is a thin sponge cake. The center is a deliciously sweet bean paste.
The two ingredients match each other for a simple taste.


UGO-GYU (UGO-BEEF)
UGO-GYU (UGO-BEEF)

Best quality beef from the Japanese black cow


KISOBA
KISOBA
Handmade soba following the old style. The soba flavor and soup are a great combination.

 

WATERMELON and MELON
WATERMELON and MELON
In this area the difference in temperatures of a day can produce sweet watermelon and melon.
 
 
FESTIVALS and EVENTS
 
NISHIMONAI BON ODORI   click here
 
AI and HANUI MATSURI
AI and HANUI MATSURI
This festival is held on every first Sunday in August. The downtown promotion committee promoted the event letting people know the charm of the Nishimonai Bon dance, its history and beauty of the dancing clothes (odori kimono). There are two main kimonos for the dance. One is the Ai dyed kimono which is dyed from the Ai natural plant. You can see the beauty of stitch work on them. The other is the Hanui kimono. It is like a patchwork quilt . Some of these are 400 years old. On the day each house shows their own kimono and it seems the street is like a museum.


GORINZAKA HANABI TAIKAI ( FIRE WORKS )
GORINZAKA HANABI TAIKAI ( FIRE WORKS )
It is held every August 15th. It started in 1980 at the nursring home (Shokyoen) to make the elderly people happy. In 1997 it became bigger scale as a memorial event for the public institutions around the area. You can enjoy about a thousand big flower fireworks.


UGO BEKO MATSURI ( UGO BEEF FESTIVAL )
UGO BEKO MATSURI ( UGO BEEF FESTIVAL )
It is held on every first Sunday of September. You can enjoy the BBQ with Japanese black cow from this town which is rated high by central livestock market.  There is also a fishing competition , and slipper throwing competition during this festival.


MITAKE JINJA SAITEN ( MITAKE SHRINE FESTIVAL )
MITAKE JINJA SAITEN ( MITAKE SHRINE FESTIVAL )
It is held on every third Sunday in September in Nishimonai. This is the autumn festival of Thanksgiving.
The traditional costumed people parade with a portable shrine. At the end of the parade is a band called SAISAI with the fue (Japanese flute) and the taiko (Japanese drum). And each of the communities Dashi (floats) will follow the parade. The night before, Yomiya, which is food and game kiosks is held on the street. From the night before, each house hangs a paper lantern outside. It has a dreamy fantasy aura.


YUKITOPIA NANAMAGARI
YUKITOPIA NANAMAGARI
On every last Saturday in January since 1986 this festival has taken place. It is a show of the traditional wedding parade in winter. A horse pulls the marriage couple’s wagon and passes the Nanamagari mountain. The way is lit up with candle light and is so dreamy.


MIWA JINJA HONDEN ( MIWA SHRINE )
[JAPANESE INPORTANT  MATERIAL CULTURAL TREASURE ]
MIWA JINJA HONDEN ( MIWA SHRINE )
It has been told that this shrine was built to welcome and deify the soul of the Inugami shrine in Yamato. The main shrine escaped the big fire in 1562. It is presumed that this main shrine was built at end of the Muromachi age(1392~1573) from the records and building technique. This same technique is only in certain places like Shiga prefecture. The Miwa main shrine is the only one in the northeast of Japan.
The feudal lord believed deeply and offered many things. The portable shrine which you can see during the religious rites in May is from the second lord,Lord Satake’s wife Kosyuin.


SENDOU BANGAKU 
[ PREFECTURAL INTANGIBLE CULTURAL ASSET ]  
SENDOU BANGAKU
There were two views for the origin of the Sendo Bangaku. One was in the Keicho age (1596~1615), a Buddhist ascetic from Kyoto founded a shrine on the Houei mountain in Kamisendou and spread the sacred music and dancing (kagura) of the mountain priest. The other was about 400 years ago, a mountain priest performed kagura dance and shishi dance ( covering the face with a wooden mask which is called(shishigashira) in the area and it was spread around.
The performance starts in April (makubiraki) and keep performing for the shrine festivals, which includes giving thanks festival, building new houses, memorial service for dead…etc. It closes after the autumn festival before the mountain is covered with snow (makuosame ).
On November 17th in 1964, it became a prefectural intangible cultural asset.


SARUKURA NINGYOU SIBAI ( SARUKURA PAPET SHOW )
[ PREFECTURAL  INTANGIBLE CULTURAL  ASSET ]
SARUKURA NINGYOU SIBAI ( SARUKURA PAPET SHOW )
Ikeda Yohachi from Chyoukai machi (Yurihonjou city) completed this Bangaku with his pupils
Masaka Toukichi and Maruta Kesazo in around 1890. Sarukura is a name of the area that Toukichi was born. The name,Sarukura Ningyou Shibai is well known in Japan.
Toukichi was working with the stage name Yoshida Katsuwaka. After he was adopted he moved to Nonaka in Ugo machi, He started the Nonaka Ningyou Sibai group.
Sarukura Ningyou Sibai could perform anywhere and it was welcomed by the masses. It flourished during the Taishyou age(1912~1926) There were and still are three programs during the one performance. They were (koujou (verbal massage))and(sanbansou (humorous dance),(gekimono (drama)), (kantestuosyou no teodori (a bonze Kantetsu’s hand dance)). The performance is so much fun and it gives all generations a lot of enjoyment. It became a prefectural intangible cultural asset on October 12th in 1974. And on November 28th, 1996 the government decided to make it anational intangible cultural asset to keep a record of this history.


MOTOKI SHISHIMAI  ( motoki area lion dance)
[ TOWN  INTANGIBLE CULTURAL ASSET ]
MOTOKI SHISHIMAI  ( motoki area lion dance)
This shishimai spread to the Horimawari area in Nishimonai. There is a record that it was performed around the Nishimonai castle and the lord’s family temple ( Saizoji ). On the costume, there is an emblem which is the same as lord Onodera. With these facts, it is deeply related with Onodera. Motoki shishimai is showing yamabushi・ bangaku kagura. There are five programs「shinzen no mai 」「shishimai 」「shinobu dayuu 」「torimai 」「gojoushi 」. 「shinzen no mai 」is to purify the stage. The others are wishing for blessing for children and family, taking away bad spirits and sickness and for a good harvest. 
Originally it was offered for religious rites of Motoki shinmyousha and give wishes for each family in the area during Obon ( August 14~16). Each community had an inn and they offered sake, rice, fruits, salt,and water on their altar. In there they performed all the programs.


NOTED PLACES / SIGHTS
 
GARIMEKI SISTUGEN ( GARIMEKI WETPLACE )
[ PREFECTURL  NATURE CONSERVATION  AREA ]
GARIMEKI SISTUGEN ( GARIMEKI WETPLACE )
It is located in the Akedouri mountain in the Tashiro area. Swamp plants in this area were discovered in 1973. There are 4 ponds by the stream in a valley by Nashinoki pass . It is a typical low-rise wetland and the feature is swamp plants and mountain plants growing together . There are 64 kinds of wild plants there. Very valuable botanical plants are growing wild like Oze wetland.
Two ponds upstream and around them became an Akita Natural conservation area in March 1976.
In spring beautiful symplocarpus will bloom and lots of menyanthes, inula ciliaris, pogonia japonica, chiloglottis, start blooming one after another. In autumn, lobelia sessilifolia, gentian, prenanthes tanakae and eripcaulon tutidae which were discovered in Garimegi wetland start blooming.
Till the beginning of winter many flowers are in full glory in this nature paradise.


ISHIMAKKO ( stone horse )
ISHIMAKKO ( stone horse )
Mitake shrine was opened in 704. On the way there, there are two stone horses instead of stone guardian dogs of the regular shrines. A stone mason in Yuzawa city made them and offered them to the shrine in 1870. Since then people call them「Ishimakko 」and commune with them.
Ishimakko is a carved typical Japanese horse. The male one is called 「Ah 」and it is opening the mouth. The other is female and is called 「UN 」.It is closing the mouth. Tradition says that if you let your child crawl under the horse, the measles of the child will be light. So many people came with their child to worship. Now not many people visit there like then, but the two stone horses always welcome you under the big ginkgo tree.


SIGHT FROM TAIHEIZAN ( TAIHEI MOUNTAIN )    
SIGHT FROM TAIHEIZAN ( TAIHEI MOUNTAIN )
Taiheizan is in the middle of Ugomachi. It is 474 meters high. The sights from the rest house ( Miharasisou ) in the middle of the mountain and kemurigaoka shrine on the top of the mountain are wonderful. We can see the Mt Chokai in west. The Yokote basin is in the east .You can see Yuzawa Ogachi, Yokote Hiraka, and Senboku. When it is a nice day, you can see the Sea of Japan too. Also the night view is beautiful. 「Ikoi no mori 」( the forest for rest ) there is a rest house, an arbor, trail ,parking, and washroom. You can enjoy the songs of pretty birds in the forest. Thanks to many kinds of trees and wild animals like squirrels, raccoon dogs and Japanese deer, you can feel the nature of four different seasons.


TARADA ZUSTUMI (TARADA BANK )
TARADA ZUSTUMI (TARADA BANK )
This bank is by Alcadea park in the Ninari tarada area. This has a long history. The lords Motegi and Ooyama fixed the bank to hold more water for irrigation in 1652. It was very connecting to the lives of the inhabitants while giving many kinds of fish and Junsai (eatable plant). Till around 1975 there was also a stocked it with carp. In autumn they drained the water and the carp were caught. In the past 20 years, because of the black bass, traditional Japanese fish are becoming less and people are trying to exterminate the black bass.
Now many people visit the bank to fish from spring to autumn. There is a fishing competition held in September. In the winter it will change to a paradise for swans.


OGACHISEN DENSHAKO ( OGACHI LINE TRAIN GARAGE )
OGACHISEN DENSHAKO ( OGACHI LINE TRAIN GARAGE )
Ogachi line between Ugo town and Yuzawa city was used from 1928 to1973. It was used for transfer and carriage,
The wooden train 「デハ3」( De Ha 3 ) was restored and is in storage for display. You can see this from Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

INFO : Ugomach town office, commerce and industry department ( 0183 – 62 – 2111 extension 223 )

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