Awamori is an alcoholic beverage indigenous to and unique to Okinawa, Japan. It is made from long grain indica rice. It is not a direct product of brewing like sake, but of distillation like shōchū. It is 25–60% alcohol. Okinawan people usually drink Awamori that is one of the Ryukyuan culutures.
Prefectural capital:Naha City
In Okinawa Prefecture travel industry flourishes. There ara many resort hotels and beaches. Among them, Miyakojima and Ishigaki islands are very famous as the diving spot in the coral reef.
From the 15th century, the Ryūkyū Kingdom had ruled this region. It had maintained close cultural exchange and overseas trade with China, Korea and Southeast Asian countries. Shuri Castle, the palace of the Ryūkyū Kingdom was strongly influenced by the Chinese architectural style. In 2000, along with other gusuku and related sites, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Okinawa’s food culture is also unique. There are Sōki soba, a pork belly dish called Rafute, Goya chanpuru, awamori and brown sugar confectionery.
Prefectural capital:Kagoshima City
In Edo Period, Kagoshima Prefecture was called Satsuma domain. The domain was founded by Shimazu clan. In Bakumatsu (the final years of the Edo period) royalists such as Saigou Takamori and Ookubo Toshimichi took part in the anti-Shogunate movement. And Saigou had strengthened cooperation with Chōshū domain (Satsuma- Chōshū Alliance). Finally Tokugawa shogunate was successfully overthrown, and the New Meiji government was established by Chōshū and Satsuma domains.
Sakurajima is an active composite volcano and the symbol of Kagoshima. There are also many hot springs. Kagoshima Prefecture is one of the major crop producing regions in Japan, being the top domestic producer of sweet potato called “Satuma-imo” and sweet potato shochu.
In addition, Yakushima of the World Heritage Site is very popular. There are many tourists that visit Jōmon Sugi that is oldest and largest trees. Estimated tree’s age is between 4000 years and 6000 years old.
“Basilisk: The Kōga Ninja Scrolls” is a Japanese manga series illustrated by Masaki Segawa in 2003. It was based on the novel The Kōga Ninja Scrolls by Futaro Yamada published in 1958.
The story takes place in the early Edo period. Two ninja clans, Iga and Kōga, battle each other to determine which grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu will become the next shogun. The deadly competition between 10 elite ninja from each clan unleashes a centuries-old hatred.
“Seven Samurai” is Japanese Jidaigeki adventure film in 1954, co-written and directed by Akira Kurosawa, starring Toshiro Mifune. The story takes place in the Sengoku Period of Japan. It follows the story of a village of farmers that hire seven samurai to combat bandits who will return after the harvest to steal their crops.
Since its release, Seven Samurai has remained highly influential, often seen as one of the most “remade, reworked, referenced” films in cinema. There are many influenced works such as an American western film “The Magnificent Seven” (1960).
Miyazaki Prefecture’s humidity is low in both summer and winter. The climate is mild due to the Black Current (Kuroshio), it’s the best place to play sports. If you want to play golf, and to go surfing, should visit Miyazaki. It is also very popular as campground of professional sports such as baseball and football.
In addition, Miyazaki is one of the major crop producing regions in Japan, being the top domestic producer of radish, cucumber and green pepper.
In 1953, Osamu Tezuka moved into Tokiwa-sō apartment in Toshima ward, Tokyo. Because Tezuka had already succeeded as hottest manga artist, nameless young manga artists also had moved into Tokiwa-sō to follow Tezuka. Tezuka advised them to watch many movies for making works.
Although Tezuka moved out Tokiwa-sō after about one year, young manga artists improved themselves through friendly rivalry. Residents included Fujiko F. Fujio (Hiroshi Fujimoto), Fujiko Fujio A（Motoo Abiko), Shotaro Ishinomori, Fujio Akatsuka and so on. After that they had led Japanese manga industry. Tokiwa-sō was certainly the sacred ground of Japanese manga.
Unfortunately, Tokiwa-sō was demolished because of aging in 1982. However, in order to pass down the significance of Tokiwa-sō to future generations, it was planned that the local residents played a central role in the restoration. The two-storied wooden apartment was restored and opened as a museum in 2020. In addition to exhibiting valuable materials, the interior of the tatami room, shared kitchen and toilet has been restored in detail, and you can learn about the Japanese lifestyle of the past.
In Japan, there are many the tokusatsu superhero TV series such as Kamen Rider series and Super Sentai series. Shotaro Ishinomori (1938 – 1998) was the original author of most of the tokusatsu series.
Ishinomori was also one of manga artists in Tokiwa-so apartment. He had acquired a rapid and high-quality drawing technique since he was young and nameless. He was the first SF manga artist, Cyborg 009 was especially his representative works. Furthermore, his imagination didn’t know where to stop, his works spread over various genres such as education, history, literature, economy and business. Even Osamu Tezuka was jealous of Ishinomori’s talent.
Cyborg 009 is a Japanese manga created by Shotaro Ishinomori. It is an initial SF battle manga that started in 1964. Even after Ishinomori’s death, it has been remade many times.
Including the main character Joe Shimamura, nine regular humans are kidnapped by the evil Black Ghost organization to undergo human experiments which resulted in nine cyborgs with each one having super human powers. The nine cyborgs band together to fight for their freedom and to stop Black Ghost.
Doraemon is one of the most famous Japanese mangas in the world. The author of Doraemon, Fujiko Fujio was a pen name of Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko. They were both from Toyama Prefecture that were friends of primary school age. They moved to Tokyo after graduating from high school, and moved into Tokiwa-so apartment where they improved themselves through friendly rivalry with nameless young manga artists. Doraemon was created in 1970 and immediately surged in popularity with children in Japan. Anime series also started in 1979, it became a mega hit.
In 1987 Fujimoto and Abiko ended their long partnership to concentrate on solo projects. They started releasing individual works under different names, Fujimoto as Fujiko F. Fujio, and Abiko as Fujiko Fujio A.
Fujiko F. Fujio (Hiroshi Fujimoto, 1933-1996) / There are many works for children.
Fujiko Fujio A（Motoo Abiko, 1934-） / There are many Gekiga taste works.
*Pro Golfer Saru
*Matarō ga Kuru!!
Ninja Hattori-kun is a manga series created by Fujiko Fujio A (Motoo Abiko). It is an initial ninja manga that started in 1964. By the way, the name of Hattori is inspired by Hattori Hanzo.
A main character, Ken’ichi Mitsuba that is a primary school children is bad both exercise and study. Meanwhile, a little ninja named Hattori Kanzo befriends Ken’ichi. Hattori helps Ken’ichi with his problems as a good friend.
Prefectural capital:Kumamoto City
Kumamoto Prefecture is one of the major crop producing regions in Japan, being the top domestic producer of tomato, soft rush, leaf tobacco, baby’s breath and watermelon.
In tourism, you should visit Kumamoto Castle which was built about 400 years ago. The curved stone walls, known as musha-gaeshi was designed to prevent attackers from penetrating the castle. Apart from that, Mount Aso that is active volcano, has the huge calderas is the symbol of Kumamoto.
Because Japan in Edo period was under Sakoku (the self-imposed isolationist policy) , it had been prohibited to trade with foreign countries. Still, Dejima in Nagasaki only had been permitted to trade, various cultures had been introduced from Europe and China. From this historical background, many Western style building such as Ōura Church that is the oldest Roman Catholic church in Japan, and Glover Garden that built for a Scottish merchant, Thomas Blake Glover remain in Nagasaki Prefecture. In addition, there is Nagasaki Chinatown that is one of three designated Chinatowns (Yokohama, Kobe and Nagasaki) in Japan.
On August 9 1945, the United States Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, which extensively damaged the major part of the city. Now, many people that pray for world peace have visited Nagasaki Peace Park and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.
Prefectural capital:Ōita City
The nickname of Ōita Prefecture is the “Onsen Ōita”. In the both the number of hot springs and the volume of hot water produced, Ōita Prefecture is the number one in Japan. In particular Beppu and Yufuin Onsen are famous hot spring areas. There are more than 100 public hot springs in Beppu Onsen that is full of life as hot spring resorts.
Smokes in the photo are not the fire, are steams rising from hot springs. A town surrounded by steams is like Shangri-La. If you walk around wearing a yukata, it will be a great memory.
Prefectural capital:Saga City
The Yoshinogari Site is large and complex archaeological site of Yayoi period (between the 3rd century BC and the 3rd century AD) in Saga Prefecture. You can know Japanese life of Yayoi period.
In addition, you shuold visit one of the famous festivals, Karatsu Kunchi which has been held every year in early November. Massive floats in the form of samurai helmets, sea breams and dragons make their way through the streets of Karatsu. Arita, Imari and Karatsu are also famous for the beautiful porcelain that is created there.
Prefectural capital:Fukuoka City
Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture is the largest city in Kyushu. Economy, culture and transportation of Fukuoka have highly developed. One of the famous festival, The Hakata Dontaku has been held every year during Golden Week, from 3 to 4 May, attracting over 2 million tourists. And local foods such as motsunabe, mentaiko and Hakata ramen are very popular.
The Yawata Steel Works in Kitakyūshū City was built in the Meiji period, had led the Japanese heavy industry. It was formally approved as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015, as part of “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining”. In addition, historic sites such as Dazaifu Tenman-gū, Fukuoka Castle Ruins and Kokura Castle are also popular.
Prefectural capital:Matsuyama City
Ehime Prefecture is one of the major citrus fruits such as mikan (Japanese citrus), Iyokan and Ponkan producing regions in Japan. It features the cultivation using mountain slopes. And processed citrus fruits products such as juice and jelly have been increasing.
Ehime’s tourist spots are concentrated in Matsuyama City. The Matsuyama Castle’s scale is large, and its preservation state is also good. In addition, one of The Three Ancient Springs, Dōgo Onsen with a history over 3,000 years is very popular. The springs are mentioned in the Man’yōshū (written c. 759). And Natsume Sōseki, Japanese famous novelist of Meiji period described Dōgo Onsen in his popular novel “Botchan”.
Hattori Hanzō (1542–1596), also known as Hattori Masanari, was a famous samurai and ninja of the Sengoku period, was one of the great generals of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Although his ancestors ware Iga ninja, he became status of a samurai. He had lead ninja clans using a distinctive network.
Today, he is often a subject of varied portrayal in modern popular culture. As a great leader of ninja, Hattori Hanzō is very popular in Japan and overseas.
Prefectural capital:Kōchi City
In Edo Period, Kōchi Prefecture was called Tosa domain. The domain was founded by Yamauchi clan. In Bakumatsu (the final years of the Edo period) an important person in Japanese history, Sakamoto Ryōma appeared. Although his family was goshi which was the lowest rank in the samurai hierarchy, Ryōma got a chance to practice in Edo because of excellent Kenjutsu skill. When he had lived in Edo, he had seen Western powers threat and advanced Western civilization. After he threw himself into the movement to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate. He accomplished the negotiation of peace between Chōshū and Satsuma, two powerful domains that had long been hostile to each other. And he played a crucial role in Taisei Hokan that led to the voluntary resignation of the Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu, thus bringing about the Meiji Restoration. But he was assassinated by someone without greeting the Meiji period.
Ryōma’s upheaval life has been taken up many times by novels, TV dramas and movies. That’s why he has been loved by many Japanese people. When you travel to Kochi Prefecture, should visit Sakamoto Ryōma Memorial Museum.
Prefectural capital:Takamatsu City
Sanuki udon (a type of udon noodle) is a famous local food in Kagawa Prefecture. The characteristic of Sanuki udon is its strong elasticity and smooth texture. Recent years have seen an interest in Sanuki udon across Japan, and many Japanese and foreign tourists now take trips to taste the many Sanuki udon restaurants in Kagawa.
In addition, Shōdo Island which is known for its olives, soy sauce, sōmen and tsukudani is also a popular destination.
Naruto is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. It tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, an adolescent ninja who constantly dreams to become the Hokage, the ninja in his village who is acknowledged as the leader and the strongest of all.
Naruto has received acclaim, primarily for its characterization, humor and powerful fighting scenes. It has been very successful in various countries of the world. As of September 2014, the manga has over 200 million volumes in Japan and overseas.
Prefectural capital:Tokushima City From the Edo Period to the early Meiji Period, Tokushima Prefecture had been a major producer of Japanese indigo which had been used to dye. In modern days, it has grown various vegetables such as sweet potato called “Naruto kintoki”, sudachi, lotus root and strawberry.
The Naruto whirlpools in the Naruto Strait are very famous visitor attractions of Tokushima Prefecture. When the tide dynamically moves, and the whirlpools occur, tourists cheer. In addition, the Awa Dance Festival which is held from 12 to 15 August in Tokushima City is the largest dance festival in Japan, attracting over 1.3 million tourists every year. The origin of Awa Dance (Awa Odori) had begun in the late 16th century in Awa Province (old Tokushima). In modern times, Awa dance is popular throughout Japan.
“JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure” is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hirohiko Araki. It has lasted about 30 years from 1986.The manga is split up into 8 unique parts, tells the story of the Joestar family, a family whose various members discover they are destined to take down supernatural foes using unique powers that they find they possess.
Araki uses ardent lines, unique onomatopoeia and poses in the series. The poses, which are known in Japan as JoJo-dachi, are iconic on his book covers and panels.
Final Fantasy VII is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation platform. Released in 1997, is the seventh installment in the Final Fantasy series and the game is the first in the series to use 3D computer graphics.
Final Fantasy VII follows protagonist Cloud Strife, a mercenary who initially joins the eco-terrorist rebel organization to stop the world-controlling megacorporation Shinra from draining the life of the planet for use as an energy source.
This game is very popular and stands out among other Final Fantasy series. Various titles have been released. A high definition Final Fantasy VII remake was announced at The Electronic Entertainment Expo 2015 for the PlayStation 4, with other platforms to follow.
Prefectural capital:Yamaguchi City
In Edo Period, Yamaguchi Prefecture was called Chōshū domain. The domain was founded by Mōri clan. Chōshū domain’s kokudaka (income) was reduced by Tokugawa shogunate (Edo Bakuhu) and had been a long time poor due to their having fought against Tokugawa Ieyasu at Decisive battle, the Battle of Sekigahara. In this background, Chōshū became a hotbed of anti-Tokugawa activities.
In Bakumatsu (the final years of the Edo period) a great thinker Yoshida Shōin appeared. He presided over tiny private school, Shoka Sonjuku, gave advanced international education. Excellent young people such as Takasugi Shinsaku, Kusaka Genzui, Ito Hirobumi (the first Prime Minister of Japan) and Yamagata Aritomo gathered at the Shoka Sonjuku. Later years the Chōshū Five including Ito Hirobumi (*Fig.) studied in England, were surprised by advanced Western civilization. In addition, Kido Takayoshi known as Katsura Kogorō had strengthened cooperation with Satsuma domain (Satsuma-Chōshū Alliance). Finally Tokugawa shogunate was successfully overthrown, and the New Meiji government was established by Chōshū and Satsuma domains. Thereafter Yamaguchi Prefecture has produced many politicians. The current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s family is also originally from Yamaguchi Prefecture.
When you travel in Yamaguchi Prefecture, should visit the places associated with the Meiji Restoration such as Shoka Sonjuku and Hagi museum.
“Attack on Titan” is a Japanese dark fantasy manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. It is set in a world where humanity lives inside cities surrounded by enormous walls as a defense against the Titans, gigantic humanoid creatures that eat humans seemingly without reason. Ellen Yeager, main character whose mother was killed eaten by a Titan decides to drive off the Titans.
What are the Titans? The story is full of mysteries. Battle scenes with the Titans are spectacular! The series has gained popularity in Japan and neighboring Asian countries. It is one of the leading Japanese mangas.
Kakigōri is a Japanese shaved ice dessert flavored with syrup. Popular flavors include strawberry, cherry, lemon, green tea, grape and melon syrup. During the hot summer months, kakigōri is sold virtually everywhere in Japan.
Kakigōri which is cold and delicious is also effective in the prevention of heat stroke. It is popular with everyone from children to adults.
Uchimizu refers to the sprinkling of water in Japanese gardens and streets. In streets in summer, it serves to cool the immediate area, keep down dust and also please neighbors. In Japan, uchimizu had been done to purify the place from ancient times.
In recent years, the Japanese government has also encouraged the uchimizu to reduce global warming. Uchimizu ceremonies have increased in which people wearing yukata sprinkle water in Japanese traditional style.
Prefectural capital:Matsue City
Izumo Taisha is one of most ancient and important Shinto shrines in Japan, located in Shimane Prefecture. There are records of Izumo Taisha in oldest ancient chronicles of Japan, the Kojiki, Nihon Shoki and Fudoki. It is dedicated to the god Ōkuninushi (Ōkuninushi-no-mikoto), famous as the Shinto deity of marriage. For this reason, it has attracted many women and couples. The Kagura-den features the largest shimenawa (sacred straw rope) in Japan; it is 13 meters long and weighs around 5 tons. The rope is one of the most easily recognized and distinctive features of Izumo-taisha.
In addition, you should visit Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine which was added to the World Heritage List in 2007. It was the largest silver mine in Japanese history, since the late Sengoku period until the early Edo period were the heyday. Although it has closed, you can see vestiges of those days.
One Piece is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda. It has been serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine since 1997. It follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy, a young man whose body gains the properties of rubber after unintentionally eating a Devil Fruit. With his diverse crew of pirates, named the Straw Hat Pirates, Luffy explores the ocean in search of the world’s ultimate treasure known as “One Piece” in order to become the next Pirate King.
One Piece has received widespread critical acclaim, primarily for its art, characterization and humor. Several volumes of the manga have broken publishing records in Japan. The series has over 320 million volumes in circulation worldwide, making it the best-selling manga series in history. In June 2015, it was announced that Eiichiro Oda and One Piece had set the Guinness World Record for “The most copies published for the same comic book series by a single author.”
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a Japanese animated television series directed by Hideaki Anno. It is an apocalyptic anime in the mecha genre. The series is set in the futuristic city of Tokyo-3 after a worldwide cataclysm called the second impact. The story centers on Shinji Ikari, a teenage boy who is recruited by the shadowy organization NERV to pilot a giant bio-machine called an Evangelion in combat against monstrous beings known as Angels.
It became very popular in the charming characters and exciting story. Conversely, the details of story is too difficult, and It failed to complete the series. For this reason, it received mixed reviews. Nevertheless, it is one of the most successful anime television series of the 1990s. Subsequent film, manga and other products have achieved record sales in Japan and overseas markets, with revenues grossing over $2 billion (150 billion yen).
The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 (sometimes known simply as "the Choral"), is the final complete symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827). Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best-known works of the repertoire of classical music.
This "the Choral" is used inthe climactic scene of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Prefectural capital:Tottori City
Tottori Prefecture is home to the Tottori Sand Dunes, Japan’s only large dune system. And the nashi pear is Tottori’s famous product. Fishery is also thriving, horse mackerel, mackerel, sardine, Japanese common squid and red snow crab are abundantly caught.
Sakaiminato city is famous manga artist, Shigeru Mizuki’s hometown which has invigorated local economies with his masterpiece, “GeGeGe no Kitaro”. There are statues of Kitaro manga characters in Kitarō Road. Many tourists have visited this place. In addition, Gosyo Aoyama which is manga artist of “Case Closed: Detective Conan” was also born in Tottori Prefecture. For that reason, Tottori Airport has been nicknamed “Tottori Sakyu Conan Airport” now. You can also say Tottori is “Manga County”.
Prefectural capital:Hiroshima City
There are two World Heritage sites in Hiroshima Prefecture. The first is Itsukushima Shrine which had been worshipped by Heike (Taira clan) in the late Heian period. Leader of the Heike, Taira no Kiyomori had renovated Itsukushima Shrine to today’s scale. The dramatic gate or torii of Itsukushima Shrine is one of Japan’s most popular tourist attractions. The torii appears to be floating only at high tide. This beautiful view is classified as one of the Three Views of Japan (along with the sand bar Amanohashidate, and Matsushima Bay).
The second World Heritage site is Hiroshima Peace Memorial commonly called the Atomic Bomb Dome. The ruin serves as a memorial to the people who were killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima by the United States Army Air Forces on 6 August 1945. This is part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Many people which pray for world peace have visited this park.
Prefectural capital:Okayama City
You shuold visit Kōraku-en in Okayama, Okayama Prefecture. Kōraku-en which was built by the Okayama Domain in Edo period is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. The lawns, ponds, hills and cabins in this garden are tastefully placed. Okayama Castle adjoining Kōraku-en is also beautiful. Okayama Domain was very eager in education. It established the oldest han school and the oldest school for the common people, Shizutani School.
Kibitsu Shrine in Okayama City is also important. It has a connection in the well-known Japanese fairy tale "Momotaro". Momotaro gave his servant dog, monkey and pheasant millet dumplings (kibidango). These kibidangos has become a special product of Okayama Prefecture.
Golgo 13 is a manga series written and illustrated by Takao Saito. This manga series began in 1968, and has continued until now. It is the longest works in Japanese comic history.
Golgo 13, also known by the pseudonym Duke Togo, is a professional assassin. His age, birthplace and true identity are unknown. Golgo 13 has a very quiet personality, and his assassination skills are perfect. Day and night, many of the nation, the intelligence community and the organization has asked him to assassination.