Gesshoji was originally designated as the burial ground for the Matsudaira Clan of Matsue, in 1664. The remains of nine of the ten Matsudaira rulers of Matue are there. The tenth ruler went to work in Tokyo and was not interred in Gesshoji.


When I first visited Matsue in 1959, there were no cars, buses or other dangerous vehicles in here. I fell in love with the calm, peaceful and quaint city of that period. In those days, I visited many places by train or boat. It was also necessary to go on foot to many places. One of the first places I visited was Gesshoji. It will be a great surprise to many people to know that Gesshoji was not beautiful then, as it is now. In fact, it was rather rundown. Some of the tombs were very, very small and not even made of stone, as they are today.


At that time I felt the sadness of the family that had to bury its’ honored leader in such a shabby way. The Matsudaira family was always thought of as “rich”. In Tokyo, this was true, but the Shogun of that time taxed all the provinces heavily to prevent uprisings and wars against himself.


We must try to understand the thinking of the rulers of those days. They had power and didn’t want to lose it and one of the weapons for keeping the opposition weak, was taxation, which they used a lot. Also, many hostages were taken to Tokyo as “guests” of the government. These guests were further protection against efforts to take over the government of the country by force. It is an old custom and is still used in some parts of the world.

私達は当時の為政者の発想について考えてみる必要があります。彼らは自分達に与えられた権力を失いたくはありませんでした。そこで敵を脆弱なままにしておく方策の一つとして、重税を課すという手段を頻繁に用いたのです。 また、幕府は各藩主の家族や親戚を客人として江戸に迎え入れましたが、実は彼らは人質だったのです。これも、幕府の転覆を図る勢力を押さえつけておく目的で用いられました。現在でも一部の国に存続します。

Gesshoji, today, is lovely tourist attraction and full of beautiful hydrangea, irises and other beautiful flowers. It is in really superb condition with its’ own museum, shops and even a restaurant. There is a lovely little pond there with turtles in it, which delight children. There is an old legend that a large turtle statue in Gesshoji, used to roam the streets at night and frighten the people. Therefore, a huge stone was placed on its’ back to keep it from moving. I really like the old stories, don’t you?

今日、月照寺には沢山の観光客が訪れ、アジサイやアヤメを始めとする美しい花が咲き乱れています。資料館や売店、さらには食堂まであり、とても魅力的な観光地です。 亀の住む小さな池もあり、子供達の人気の的です。ここには、大きな亀の像が夜な夜な町を歩き回り、人々を恐がらせるので、動けないように大きな石を甲羅の上に乗せたという伝説が残っています。私はこうした古い民話が大好きです。皆さんはいかがですか?。

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