I’ve been curious for a while about a place near Nishinasuno station that is set back in the trees and has a pathway that leads to it, that is absolutely beautiful in autumn and then some woods beyond it that are clearly leading to something significant?
The pathway is flamboyant and stunningly beautiful then you cross the road and it becomes quiet, restful and somewhat secretive.
I had found out from a colleague that it is the grave of Oyama Gensui, or Marshall Oyama, Marshall being the highest rank of the Imperial Japanese army at that time.
A bit more research turned up that Ōyama Iwao was born in October 1842 and died in December 1916, although I couldn’t find out why he was buried here.
He served in the army from 1871 – 1914, including the Boshin War; Satsuma Rebellion of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) and the Russo-Japanese War. He held significant government posts and had many other high level functions (Privy Council of the Emperor, Minister of War; Guardian of the Privy seal)
The grave area looks quite big on Google earth and is walled all around, every time I go past the gates are closed and so I haven’t ventured down there.
Anyway today I did, and I walked around to the back and as it turned out it is not currently walled all around, because the wall was damaged in the 2011 earthquake.
So I got to take some photos and ended up talking to a man from the local historical society who is working with other locals to repair the area. Hopefully this year, a lot of work has been done inside, but now the walls need to be repaired to finish it off.
The reason the grave is here is that he owned significant farmlands in this area, Oyama farm was big back then, although he died and had a memorial service in Tokyo he was buried in this restful place on his lands, in the middle of the forest.
Serendipity – an accidental happenstance, that I chose today to go see what I could investigate, as the guy from the historical society (who spoke great English!) came to get photos of the current state of the walls. As it turns out he also works at the Shiobara onsen guide centre in Shiobara, so I was doubly pleased to meet him.