Ano is a valley along the lower Nyu-gawa River and is located in Gojo-shi City (former Nishi-yoshino Village in Yoshino District), Nara Prefecture. It was a part of the area which became the capital of Japan under the Southern Court (Yoshino Court) during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts (Yoshino-cho period).
Originally it was written as '穴太' (read as "Anafu"); however, when the Emperor Gomurakami moved the Imperial Palace from Yoshino to this place, he changed the characters to 名生 (read as "Kanau", which in Japanese means "wish coming true") with the hope for unification by the Southern Court, and once the unification was realized in 1351 (Shohei Itto [temporal unification of the Northern and Southern Courts]), he changed the name to '賀名生' (read as "Kanau"). In the Meiji period, the reading of 賀名生 was changed from "Kanau" back to "Ano," which was closer to the original sound.
In December of 1336, which was earlier than the departure of the Emperor Gomurakami from the capital in 1336, the Emperor Godaigo escaped from Kazan-in in Kyoto and reached Anafu, but since there was no place suitable for the Imperial Palace, he went to Yoshino.
In the New Year in 1347, after the death of Masatsura KUSUNOKI in the Battle of Shijonawate, the Southern Court, realizing that it could not keep off the attack by the Northern Court side (Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), the Ashikaga army), moved to Anafu (the Imperial Palace is said to be Sofuku-ji Temple) by giving up Yoshio. In 1348, the Ashikaga army led by KO no Moronao attacked Yoshino and burned down the Imperial Palace and temples and shrines, etc. before leaving.
In 1351, due to an internal conflict of Muromachi bakufu (Kanno Disturbance), Takauji ASHIKAGA temporarily surrendered to the Southern Court and the two courts were once unified by the Southern Court (Shohei Itto). However, the specific conditions for reconciliation were not met.
In 1352, the Emperor Gomurakami established Hokusei-gun (an army heading north), and once moved from Sumiyoshi to Otoko-yama Mountain in Yamashiro Province (Yawata City, Kyoto Prefecture). Yoshiakira ASHIKAGA, who was a son of Takauji and the second shogun of Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), revoked Shohei Itto and backed up the Northern Court again. In May, Hokusei-gun which failed to recover Kyoto returned to Ano; at this time, they abducted some royalties of the Northern Court side (the Emperor Kogen, Emperor Suko, and Imperial Prince Naohito) and furthermore confiscated the Three Sacred Treasures of the Imperial Family of the Northern Court (which the Southern Court claimed were fake). The Northern Court side made Imperial Prince Iyahito, who was planning to become a priest, to ascend the throne as the Emperor Gokogon.
In October of 1354, the Emperor Gomurakami moved to Amano-san Kongo-ji Temple in Kawachi (Kawachinagano City) (Kawachinagano City, Osaka Prefecture), and six years later in 1359, to Kanshin-ji Temple in Kawachi (Kawachinagano City), and furthermore in the following year he moved to Sumiyoshi to make the residence of the Hokoramiya (Shinto priest) Tsumori clan, known as the Sumiyoshi-angu (temporary lodging built to accommodate an Imperial visit in Sumiyoshi), the Imperial Palace, where he died in 1368.
Later, the Emperor Gokameyama ascended the throne after the Emperor Chokei, and in August of 1373 the Imperial Palace was once again situated in Ano; for twenty years until returning to Kyoto in 1392 and the Three Sacred Treasures of the Imperial Family were given to Emperor Gokomatsu, Ano was the place where the Imperial Palace of the Southern Court was located.
During the Edo period, Ano was originally the land of Yamato Gojo Domain of the Matsukura clan, and later became the shogunal demesne (land directly controlled by Edo bakufu). At the end of the Edo period, Torataro YOSHIMURA of Tenchu-gumi (Heavenly Avenging Force) visited this place and wrote a tablet of 'Ano Imperial Palace' at the Ano Imperial Palace remains.
After the Meiji period, Ano belonged to Nishi-yoshino Village. There was a plan according to which Goshin Line of Japan National Railways was to run through Ano, and the construction was underway up to a place called Sakamoto; however, the plan was cancelled and a part of the site was used for a bus lane instead. On September 25, 2005, Ano became a part of Gojo City as the result of a municipal merger.
A part of the Imperial Palace in Ano where attendants lived still exists today.
Since the residence was provided by Nobumasu HORI (and still owned by his descendants today), it is called 'Residence of the Hori clan Ano Imperial Palace remains.'
In 1998 the residence was torn down and repaired. On January 18, 2003, the oldest national flag of Japan (although it was not a national flag at the time) remaining today, which was granted as an Imperial gift by the Emperor Godaigo, and yosegaki (a card on which people write a few lines each) by Tenchu-gumi, and other items were stolen. Today, the residence is designated as a national important cultural asset. It is opened to the general public for a fee in Spring and Fall, by advance reservation.
Ano bairin (the forest of Japanese plums in Gojo City in Nara Prefecture) was famous ever since the period of the Northern and Southern Courts; after the Meiji period, plum trees were planted for harvesting plums. Furthermore in 1923, five thousand plum trees were planted to celebrate the marriage of the Crown Prince (later the Emperor Showa). Today, production of Japanese persimmons is also active.
If using Gojo Nishi-yoshino Line (site of Goshin Line) of Nara Kotsu Bus Lines Co. Ltd., get off at Ano Bus Stop; or if using Yagi-Shingu Route (Totsu-kawa River/Motomiya Ideyu Line) of Nanki Office, Nara Kotsu Bus Lines Co., Ltd., get off at Ano Wada North Exit Bus Stop.