Regions of Japan
The eight regions of Japan are Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Chubu, Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu (which includes the prefecture of Okinawa). An excellent Web site that provides detailed information on historic sites, festivals, architecture, nature, traditional crafts, and communities for all eight regions of Japan is the Japan Atlas (http://web-japan.org/atlas/regions/region_fr.html). For a general introduction to the geography of Japan, see our recent Japan Digest entitled The Geography of Japan (http://www.indiana.edu/~japan/Digests/geo.html) and for more information on Okinawa, see the Japan Digest Understanding Okinawa's Role in the U.S.-Japan Security Arrangement (http://www.indiana.edu/~japan/Digests/okinawa.html). Two units of study "Japan: The Geography of a Nation" (http://www.smith.edu/fcceas/curriculum/duchesneau.htm) and "Japanese Geography" (http://www.kcta.ku.edu/lesson_plans/japan_geography.doc) also serve as a good introduction to learning about the regions of Japan.
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Sapporo Snow Festival
One of Japan's largest winter events, this festival is attracting a growing number of visitors from Japan and abroad. Every year, about two million people come to the annual event to see the hundreds of beautiful snow statues and ice sculptures.
Geography of Hokkaido
The Hokkaido government Web site presents a brief description of the geography of Hokkaido. Links at the bottom of the page offer information on access to Hokkaido, statistics (land use, population density, etc), and weather. See also http://www.agri.pref.hokkaido.jp/center/syuppan/e/ for the English edition of the publication Agriculture in Hokkaido 2000, which includes additional geographical information.
Nova Online: Island of the Spirits
This companion Web site to the NOVA program "Island of the Spirits" (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/listseason/26.html#2614) leads viewers to Hokkaido, Japan. The site discusses origins of the Ainu (Japan's indigenous people) and Ainu legends, and provides an interactive feature involving the migration of salmon.
Photographs of Ainu people
Presents 23 photographs of Ainu people, traditional costumes, and traditional Ainu houses.
Tohoku Summer Festivals
Offering many photographs and detailed descriptions of festival activities, this site offers a "photo guide" of five major festivals in the Tohoku region.
Tohoku Electric Power Co. Tourist Information
Marketed as tourist information, this site nevertheless offers a great deal of non-commercial information about the history, natural features, food, festivals, scenery, folk arts, and cultural highlights of the Tohoku region.
Encyclopedia article that provides brief information on the Tohoku region, links to points of interest in the region, and links to many other articles on the prefectures of the region, the Ainu, and even to the haiku poet Matsuo Basho.
Kamakura and the Great Buddha
http://www.phoenixanime.com/japan02/japan02r.htm Photos and descriptions by an anime enthusiast during his trip to Japan. Presents several pictures of the Great Buddha of Kamakura. This site is a nice change of pace from official government sites and from harshly commercial sites.
Japan's Imperial Palace
An excerpt from a National Geographic article on the Imperial Palace-located in the heart of Tokyo.
Overview of Tokyo
http://www.chijihon.metro.tokyo.jp/english/PROFILE/OVERVIEW/overview2.htm Produced by Tokyo Metropolitan Government, this site addresses Tokyo's geography, history and population. Includes many charts and graphs.
A Yokohama City government sponsored site that includes a set of maps that zoom in and zoom out.
Photo Gallery: Chiba Prefecture
Offers 80 photographs of scenes from Chiba prefecture, organized into the categories of nature, Shinto shrines and temples, scenery, and events and festivals.
The Chubu Region
Sponsored by the Chubu Economic Federation, this site discusses geography and topography, cities, history and culture, art galleries and museums, recreation, and industrial activities.
Includes extensive photo galleries of Mt. Fuji at different times of the year.
Tourism of Kyoto
Part of the official web site of the Kyoto prefecture, this multi-part pdf document offers many stunning photographs of the Kyoto prefecture.
World Cultural Heritages in Kyoto
Presents information on 17 buildings comprising temples, shrines, and a castle in the Kyoto region that are recognized by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritages.
Diagrams, text, and photographs tell the story of the destruction following the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck Kobe, Japan's sixth-largest city, on January 17, 1995, killing over 4,500 people.
The official site of the city of Osaka offers information on culture and history, and facts and figures.
City of Hiroshima
The official Hiroshima city site provides a great deal of information on the atomic bombing of that city and efforts to advance the cause of peace.
http://www.hiroshima-cdas.or.jp/miyajima/ english/jinja/noshock.htm Considered by the Japanese to be one of the country's "best three views," Itsukushima Shrine is a 1,400 year old Shinto holy place constructed over the water in a small inlet on Miyajima Island.
Castle Town Built between 2 Rivers
This photo feature published in the Daily Yomiuri Online presents information and photos of Hagi, an ancient castle town that retains some of the warriors' residences lining the streets. See http://web-jpn.org/atlas/communities/com17.html for more information about Hagi.
Introduction to Ehime Prefecture
Describes Ehime Prefecture, which lies in the northern part of the island of Shikoku, the smallest of the four major islands of Japan.
This site provides information on giant whirlpools that form where the inland sea meets the Pacific Ocean.
Famous the world over, Japanese pearls have gained their reputation since artificial cultivation techniques were established in the 20th century. Pearl culture developed in the Shima Peninsula at the southern part of Mie Prefecture, a place with an intricately indented ria (drowned river) coastline.
Nagasaki and Sasebo
Nagasaki Prefecture, situated in the westernmost part of Japan, consists of a peninsula and numerous islands extending into the East China Sea. Situated close to mainland China, its geographical conditions made it Japan's gateway for cultural contact with the Asian continent.
Ruins of the Shuri Castle show strong Chinese influence, unique to Okinawa.
Mt. Aso, near the center of the island of Kyushu, is an active composite volcano. The crater, which measures 11 miles from east to west and 15 miles from north to south, is not only the world's largest caldera; it is also said to be the most beautiful.
Beppu Hot Spring
The city of Beppu is Japan's largest spa resort. Beppu has 2,849 springs and nine types of water, which is the world record. Gushing up approximately 36 million gallons per day of hot water makes it the second highest output anywhere in the world.
Compiled by Roger Sensenbaugh.
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