Matsuo Basho, 1644-1694, left Edo on his famous journey to oku-no-hosomichi in 1689. He wrote in his travel diary:
[From The Essential Basho by Sam Hamill, Shambhala, 1998, pp 14-15]
‘At Taga Castle, we found the most ancient monument Tsubo-no-ishibumi, in Ichikawa Village. It’s about six feet high and three feet wide. We struggled to read the inscription under heavy moss:
This Castle Was Built by Shogun Ono-no-Azumabito in 724. In 762, His Majesty’s Commanding General Emi-no-Asakari Supervised Repairs.
‘Dated from the time of Emperor Shomu, Tsubo-no-ishibumi inspired many a poet. Floods and landslides buried trails and markers, trees have grown and died, making this monument very difficult to find. The past remains hidden in clouds of memory. Still it returned us to memories from a thousand years before. Such a moment is the reason for a pilgrimage: infirmities forgotten, the ancients remembered, joyous tears trembled in my eyes.’
Note: Emperor Shomu [聖武天皇, Shōmu-tennō, 701 – June 4, 756]
Photos taken at Tagajo, seat of ancient government, outside of Sendai, on October 12, 2010 below.
From Hotsuma Tsutae, Aya 4 as posted in http://www.hotsuma.gr.jp/aya/aya04-e.html, we read that about the Toyoke’s palace at Tagajo:
‘Followed in turn by their retainers and servants, they [Toyoke, Isanami, Isanagi, and Amateru] now slowly moved on their way to Hitakami, Land of the Rising Sun. There, they all arrived safely at the Palace of Yamate (Sendai), the Ketatsubo government seat. As they arrived, the person of the Prince let out a dazzling radiance that shone out in all directions. Golden flowers blossomed all around, and the sand and fish in the sea, the trees and plants on the mountains, all shone with a golden yellow. Toyoke, moved by this sight, now bestowed on the Prince the imina or personal name of “Wakahito”, the Prince of Light. … Having thus entered the Palace of Yamate in the Land of Hitakami, the Prince now threw himself into earnest study of the Amenaru-Michi (“Way of Heaven”, the ways of sovereign government) at the new Amatsu Palace (“Palace of Heaven”). ‘
According to Mr. Takabatake of Japan Translation Center, Ketatsubo no hi (Tsubo no Ishibumi) at Tagajo may be the monument to commemorate Toyoke entering Taga palace on the ketatsubo palanquin. This monument is one of the oldest three important tsubos in Japan. [A tsubo is marks a special, often sacred, spot.]
From the display regarding the tsubo-no-ishibumi monument at the Tohoku History Museum display:
‘The two-meter high stone monument stands near the south gate of Tagajo. It was erected in 762 when Tagajo was rebuilt. The carved text refers to the location of Tagajo and its original construction in 724.’
Above is photo of the monument displayed in the museum. The image has been enhanced to enable reading of the inscription. The actual engraving is quite illegible as my Tagajo photo shows.