“Shukunegi, the Venue for ‘Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island’” by Michiko Chida
“Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2014 – Spring” started on April 27th. Right from the opening performance, we have welcomed so many audience members from around Sado Island and from offshore. Thank you very much for coming!
These performances are being held in Shukunegi. This village has a wonderful atmosphere, so I would like to introduce it further to you.
Shukunegi flourished in the Edo era due to trade by sengoku-bune (large junks/wooden sailing ships) and there about 100 houses in the village, nestled in this small valley. Many of the houses were constructed by shipbuilders and built using their own special techniques to suit the small plots of land. The exteriors are very simple, but the interiors are gorgeous. Some of the houses even feature beautifully laquered pillars, ceilings and beams on the interior.
There is a bamboo fence at the entrance to the village. Stones and three horizontal wooden boards are stacked up at the bottom of it. The bamboo fencing behind is so long and thin. We are allowed to put our poster on this beautiful structure only during this performance period. When you walk through the central gate, it feels like you have wandered into another world.
This stone pavement is called Yosute Koji, which means “Street to the Netherworld.” People coming and going have worn out the middle of the path. These stones were brought here from Fukui Prefecture. The stone bridge in front of the Shukunegi Community Hall and torii (gateway) to Hakusan Shrine were brought here from Hiroshima Prefecture. These stone pieces were shipped here on the trade junks, on the return leg of their voyages. We can assume that people who used stones in this way back then were very rich. It is said that during this era one third of the wealth on Sado Island was situated here in Shukunegi.
Another beauty found in Shukunegi is the shingle roofing with stones. Thin cedar boards are laid on the roofs and stones are placed on them with great care to hold them down. I recommend going up the hill and looking down on the roofs of Shukunegi from above.
In Shukunegi, there are some restored private houses that are open to the public and there are some good restaurants, too. If you visit Shokoji Temple, you’ll also see the colorful flowers that adorn the gravestones out front. You’ll find Sado Island’s Ogi Folk Museum and Sengoku-bune Exhibition Hall just up the hill. There are more nooks and crannies to explore, too! When you come along to the “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” please allow plenty of time to look around Shukunegi.