At the Aso Shrine in Aso City, Kumamoto Prefecture, which was damaged by the Kumamoto Earthquake, a ceremony was held on the 7th to celebrate the completion of the restoration work of the "Lou Gate," which has been designated as an important cultural property of Japan and has become a symbol of the shrine.

Seven years ago, the Kumamoto Earthquake designated the Aso Shrine in Aso City as an important cultural property of Japan, and the symbol of the shrine, the "Lou Gate," collapsed, and restoration work has continued.

The construction was completed earlier this month, and on the 7th, a ceremony was held in front of the tower gate to celebrate the completion of the building, attended by about 300 people, including those involved in the shrine and construction.

With the locals watching, the priest reported the completion of the construction to the "priest" and opened the gate.

After this, the local preservation society dedicated a celebratory song sung at the shrine festival. This was followed by the ritual of "the beginning of the passage," and it was possible to pass through the gate for the first time in about 7 years and 8 months since the earthquake.

Following the Shinto priests, the locals passed through the tower gate one after another, and many people looked up at the tower gate and looked at it with deep emotion.

"Thanks to everyone's support, we were able to restore the majestic and dignified tower gate," said Miyaji Aso of Aso Shrine, "I would like to express my gratitude for the thoughtfulness of those who said 'the shrine took their place' immediately after the earthquake, and I would like to serve with all my heart as a shrine that will be a source of inspiration for everyone."

Joiners and carpenters involved in the restoration work

One of the people who has been involved in the restoration work of the Aso Shrine, Tetsuo Axismaru (1), a veteran joiner in Aso City, held concerts inviting jazz artists in front of the tower gate until it was damaged by the earthquake.

Looking back on the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, he said, "I remembered holding a concert on a gorgeous stage, and I was sad that the vestiges of that were gone."

Mr. Axismaru wanted to hold a concert at Loumon again. Knowing this thought, Kazuo Shimomura (71), a carpenter from Aso City, approached him. Mr. Shimomura was one of those who was greatly shocked by the collapse of the tower gate.

As a local carpenter, I wanted to be involved in the restoration of the shrine, and as a result of many calls to the person in charge of the construction site, I was allowed to enter the site. After that, I was involved in the restoration of the tower gate until Ototoshi with Mr. Axismaru and others.

Even after leaving the site, Mr. Shimomura continued to visit the Aso Shrine almost every day, hoping that the tower gate would be completed safely.

Then, on December 73th, just before completion. The last work of restoration work has been carried out.
This is the installation of a member called "kannuki" to close the door.

The people in charge were Mr. Axismaru and Mr. Shimomura. We carefully checked each one and did the final work for about three hours.

Before being able to walk through the gate for the first time in seven years, Mr. Shimomura said, "I don't know if I will be able to walk properly because I will remember the faces and feelings of the people I worked with.

"I couldn't imagine that after seeing the collapse the day after the earthquake, I couldn't imagine that it would return to its original state. I've been a craftsman for almost 1 years, but I never thought I'd be able to do this kind of work, and I think it's a reward for my craftsmanship."

Visitors: "Very happy" and "Overwhelmed"

A woman in her 50s from Aso City, who visited with her son, said, "The shrine is a place of my heart, and I am very happy to see so many people coming today.

A man in his 70s from Aso City said, "I am overwhelmed with emotion to be able to go through the gate again, where I have been playing since I was a child.