Kishu Ken (紀州犬)
Just visited some Kishu history
Hi all, have not posted in a long while. It's been a bit more than a year since Tomoe (from Carleen's kennel) and I joined th wife in Japan. (It's great, my Japanese still sucks, Tomoe does really really well as an apartment dog but it helps that I work from home). We've just returned from a five-stop road trip vacation which was focused on Kishu, the place.
Its a little tough for me to pin down exactly where Kishu is/was. It was originally a domain of a branch family of the Tokugawa, but apparently it picked up Tanabe and Shingu. My guess is, its an area that includes present-day Tanabe, Nishimuro, Kumano. Shingu, Kitayama, and parts between. So chunks of Wakayama and Mie prefecture.
That's gorgeous country down there. It's warm, citrus fruit grow year round. Its really quiet and pretty empty of people, quite a relief from the bustle of the Tokyo, Osaka, or Nagoya areas. The mountains that you may have read that Kishu Inus were developed to hunt boar around are lower. rounder. and softer than the mountains you get around Tokyo, Saitama, etc. We drove from Shirahama on the west coast of Wakayama prefecture over to Kumano on the east, from there up to Ise, and there was fluffy snow coming down and speckling the trees and old houses on the hills.
The place we wanted to stop was this tunnel on route 311 which has a modest mural of a Kishu painted on it:
Tunnel is here in case you are wondering:
We saw a sign pointing off this road, with a Kishu inu on top of it, on the way to the tunnel, and after our stop we circled back to check it out. It pointed the way to Sakamoto, which is allegedly the birthplace of the Kishu Inu breed:
Sakamoto is here:
And honestly, you would be forgiven for being quite disappointed. There were no white doggies to be seen. In fact there were a couple of cats wandering around - a sure sign that there is not a significant Kishu presence! There were hardly any people around in the valley. It was very quiet, and it felt like we slipped into a pocket universe where time flowed differently.
A tiny shrine, which is no doubt kept as clean and tidy as its attendants can possibly manage, stands in the corner of the valley, at the head of a trail that goes up the mountain.
This shrine has a stone plaque that tells the origin story of the Kishu breed, and has some other information posted:
We hung around for about half an hour and then got in our car and got back on the road. Maybe it was just that we stumbled upon the place at about 11:30 on a sunny day, but I was utterly enchanted by that little valley. Did not want to leave.
And that's about it for Kishu Inu history. I don't know if there are breeders down there or anything annual that involves the breed.
P.S. We kept our eyes peeled for Kishu Inu related merch when we were in Wakayama and Mie, and apparently the breed has unfortunately not been embraced as a mascot of the area. So no mugs or pencil cases.
One thing I was able to find is a shop in Ise, right on the main street of shops near the entrance to the Naiku of the grand shrine, that sells sugar cookies in the shape of a white dog.
Post edited by Kenshi at 2017-01-29 13:48:52
hmmm not sure why my photos aren;t showing up...
Looks like your photos aren't the .jpg or .png form of the link, so they aren't showing up because they don't know to render it as a photo.
Very cool that you got to visit all of those places! I know there are a few breeders down in that area, including a couple "famous" ones. I'd love to make it there, some day! Nami, my sesame Kishu, was born at a kennel a bit further north-westish in Osaka, using old lines from that area, as far as I know.
I believe it was a police station in Wakayama that has a Kishu Ken as its mascot!
Akiyama no Roushya
|| 秋山の狼室 || www.kishu-ken.org
Post edited by Crispy at 2017-01-28 16:02:44
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