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Japanese chronology

History of Japan

paleolithic period

~ Around 14000 BC


120,000 years ago

In 2009, a stone tool found at the top of 120,000 years ago was excavated at the Sunahara site in Izumo city.
90,000 years agoStone tools were excavater from the soil layer the Kintori site in Iwate prefecture in 2007

35,000 years ago

In 1979 , 400million stone tools were excavated from the Musahidai site in Tokyo
Jomon Period

Around 16500 BC-Around 3000 BC

16500 years ago

The Jomon archaeological site in Aomori was designated as a national historic site in 2013
About 12,000-5,000 years ago

Torihama shell mound in Fukui prefecture (designated as a national important cultural property)

More than 20 Jomon archaeological sites have been excavated in Tokyo
Yayoi Period

1000-350 BC

Around 400 BCYoshinogari ruins in Saga prefecture. Currently the national Yoshinogari Historical Park
Around 100-350Mukibanda Yayoi Site in Tottori Prefecture
Year 0

There are also ruins in Tokyo such as the pottery mound ruins in Meguro-ku, Tokyo

Kofun period

Around 300-700

Around 300

Tsujihata Kofun (Takaosan Kofun) in Numazu City is the oldest in Japan
Around 360Sumo was being held around this time
Around 400Hashihaka Kofun in Nara Prefecture. The connection with Yamatai country is also being studied
Also are Kofun in Tokyo
Asuka period

592 – 710

593 (first year of Empress Suiko)prince Shotoku of the Soga clan rules Japan and promotes Buddhism
645Shotoku is succeeded by Kotoku Tenno, who strengthens imperial power over aristocratic clans (Taika Reform), turning their states into provinces
701 (5th year of Emperor Monmu))[Taiho Code] The centralized control system with the emperor at the top is completed. Establishment of ancient nation.
Nara period

710– 794

708Issuance of Wadokaichin (silver coin) as Japan's first currency

Enactment of the Third Generation Law (Sanze Isshin)


Enactment of the Private Property Law for Einen Shibata. Allow long-term privatization of land that you have cultivated

The oldest books "Kojiki" (myth) and "Nihon Shoki" (history book)
Performing arts collection "Manyoshu"
Since Japan was the final destination of the Silk Road, treasures of the continent gathered
Heian period

794– 1185

804 (23rd year of Enryaku) the Buddhist monk Saicho (Dengyo Daishi) and Kukai (Kobo Daishi)  to study on the continent as a mission to Tang
866 (8 years of Jōgan)Mount Fuji erupts
939Taira no Masakado names the new emperor. Trying to create the only independent nation in Japanese history
1007Murasaki Shikibu's "The Tale of Genji" completed

Genpei War (6 years of large-scale civil war) Eventually moved to the Kamakura Shogunate with the victory of Genpei

Kamakura period

1185– 1333

1192the emperor appoints Yoritomo as "shogun" (military leader) with residence in Kamakura (bakufu system of government)

A privately selected wakashu "Hyakunin Isshu" by Fujiwara no Teika

1333emperor Go-Daigo defeats the Kamakura shogunate, restores imperial power and moves the capital to Muromachi (near Kyoto)
Muromachi period

1336– 1573

1336Ashikaga Takauji captures Kyoto and forces Go-Daigo to move to a southern court (Yoshino, south of Kyoto)
1429Sho Hashi establishes the Ryukyu Kingdom(OKINAWA)
Sengoku period
Warring States period
1467(1493)– 1590
1457Ota Dokan builds Edo Castle

Onin War (until 1477) The beginning of the Warring States period

1543Firewarms are introduced by a shipwrecked Portugese
1549the Catholic missionary Frances Xavier reaches Japan
1573the daimyo Oda Nobunaga overthrows the Muromachi bakufu and extends his control over most of Japan
Azuchimomoyama period

1573– 1603

1576Nobunaga Oda builds Azuchi Castle
1582Nobunaga is murdered and is succeeded by Toyotomi Hideyoshi
1583Toyotomi Hideyoshi builds Osaka Castle
1590Toyotomi Hideyoshi reunifies and pacifies Japan
1600 at the battle of Sekigahara, Tokugawa Ieyasu, a friend of Hideyoshi and Nobunaga, defeats the other contenders to the leadership of Japan
Edo period

1603– 1868

1603the emperor appoints Ieyasu as shogun, who moves his government to Edo (Tokyo) and founds the Tokugawa dynasty of shoguns
1612Tawaraya Sotatsu completes

The Folding Screen Of Fujin And Raijin (God Of Wind And Thunder)

1639-1854 period of isolation 
Sakoku refers to the policy of national isolation during the Tokugawa Shogunate.
1685Yoshitsuna Tokugawa enforces decree of mercy on living creatures
1689Matsuo Basho <Oku no Hosomichi>
1707Mount Fuji erupts
1787Matsudaira Sadanobu reforms Kansei
1853American Perry arrives at Uraga Port
A large amount of gold and silver flowed out to the U.S., and domestic gold and silver holdings plummeted. Before the treaty, even the common people had unparalleled wealth in gold and silver, but with this opportunity, they became an impoverished nation.1854the USA forces Japan to sign a trade agreement ("treaty of Kanagawa") which reopens Japan to foreigners after two centuries
1866Ryoma Sakamoto mediates the Satcho Alliance
1867Keiki Tokugawa/ Yoshinobu ascends to the shogunate in Kyoto while emperor Komei dies and is succeeded by the 14-year old son Mutsuhito
Meiji period

1868 – 1912

1868Choshu and Satsuma force the shogun Yoshinobu to resign, the Tokugawa dynasty ends, and the emperor (or "mikado") Meiji is restored, but with capital in Edo/Tokyo and divine attributes
Japan's financial difficulties led to the adoption of the solar calendar.
In Japan, we used to use the Japanese calendar, which has 13 months in a year.
1872Japan grants religious freedom and adopts the Gregorian calendar
With the backing of the Rothschilds, Japan creates the Central Bank of Japan. In this way, Japan, a financially troubled and untrustworthy country, will gain the trust of the Rothschilds and regain its national power.1873Eiichi Shibusawa founds a private bank from Japan (currently Mizuho)
As of 2020, Japan's central bank, Japan's major corporations, and even politicians are still under the influence of the same family, and the rulers are reaping the benefits, while the income of the Japanese people continues to decline.1885Cabinet system established, Hirobumi Ito appointed as the first Prime Minister
1890Promulgation of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan
Taishou period


1910-1926Occurrence of "Taisho Democracy", which is the cornerstone of the development of democracy
1914-1918World War I, the world's first global war, broke out
1923the great Kanto earthquake devastates Tokyo(M7.9)
Syouwa period



Tokyo subway opens

1939-1945The Soviet Union and Japan fight a border war at Nomonhan that leaves 18 thousand Japanese dead
See the timeline for World War II
Seventy-five years later, it is still in effect, and Japan's unique identity continues to be violated.1946The Japanese Constitution is promulgated under the influence of the victorious United States.
about 1955Black-and-white TVs, refrigerators, and washing machines become commonplace in households.
1958Tokyo Tower completed.
1964Tokyo Olympics held.
1972Return of Okinawa from the U.S.
1983Nintendo releases the Family Computer.
Heisei period1989Consumption tax will be introduced for the first time.(3%)
1989-20191990Deterioration of the Japanese economy, collapse of the bubble economy
1991Introduction of a two-day workweek for workers
1994Sony launches PlayStation®.
17th Jan 1995Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (Jan 1995)
1995PCs became popular with the release of Windows 95.
1997TOYOTA Launches Eco-Friendly Prius
2002Soccer World Cup to be held jointly by Japan and South Korea
2006The term "disparate society" becomes a buzzword.
March 11, 2011Tohoku earthquake
Reiwa2020Coronavirus locks down the world simultaneously

It contains many of my own views.


Geography of Japan

Japan is an island nation consisting of about 7,000 islands, with the majority of the land area occupied by four large islands: Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu.

With a length of approximately 3,000 kilometers in both the east, west, north, and south directions, the country is divided into 47 prefectures, each with a different climate, history, and cultural attractions.
Japan is famous for its highly developed public transportation network, which is punctual and safe.

Japan is an island nation consisting of a stratovolcanic archipelago of more than 3,000 km (1,900 miles) along the Pacific coast of East Asia. 6,852 islands make up the archipelago.
The five main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Okinawa. There are 6,847 isolated islands. The Ryukyu Islands and Nanbou Island are located to the south and east of the main island.

The area of the region is 377,975.24 km2 (145,937.06 sq mi). It is the fourth largest island nation in the world and the largest island nation in East Asia. The country has the sixth longest coastline at 29,751 km (18,486 miles) and the eighth largest exclusive economic zone in the world at 4,470,000 km2 (1,730,000 square miles).

The terrain is mainly rugged and mountainous, and 67% is forested.
The population is concentrated in urban areas on the coasts, plains and valleys.

Japan is located on multiple tectonic plates in the northwestern Ring of Fire.
Three trenches lie to the east of the Japanese archipelago.
The Japan Trench is created by the subduction of the Pacific Ocean Pacific Plate beneath the continental Okhotsk Plate.
The continuous subduction process causes frequent earthquakes, tsunamis, and stratovolcanoes.
The islands are also affected by typhoons. The subduction plate pulled the Japanese archipelago eastward, creating the Sea of Japan and separating it from the Asian continent by back arc expansion 15 million years ago.

The climate of Japan differs greatly between the areas facing the Pacific Ocean and those facing the Sea of Japan, bordered by the mountainous region that runs through the center of the archipelago.
The highlands of Hokkaido and Honshu are in the subarctic zone, parts of the Nansei Islands are in the tropics, and the rest of the country is in the temperate zone, but there is a large temperature difference between north and south.

In winter, the cold northwest monsoon is strong and there is a lot of snow on the Sea of Japan side.
The Pacific side, on the other hand, is blessed with clear skies and dry air.
The temperature change gradually moves northward, from winter to spring and from spring to summer.
The long rainy season is followed by a hot and humid summer with many sunny days, and the lingering heat of late August is replaced by the autumn rains and typhoons.


Image Source.:気象庁
Movie Source.:JNTO


even the weakest and smallest beings have their own wills,
so do not make light of them

Japanese soul


Japan has a rich climate that consists of four seasons. There are many traditional cultures and customs that have been taken root and still remain in each local area.

On the other hand, Japan is a country with lots of characteristics such as great innovation and high technology.

Japan has the public transportation infrastructure supported by its advanced technology base. Furthermore, Japan also has various kinds of accommodations such as inns that preserve traditions, inns that value high-tech, and inns that belong somewhere between the two.

In addition, Japan is one of the safest countries where you feel safe and secure while walking around at night. Tokyo was ranked number one in the world for its safety in 2019.


The view of religions and the view of nature in Japan


The true “Japanese culture” becomes more visible when you think about the difference between Japan and the rest of the world.

Humans and nature are clearly separated in the western cultures or in the world of monotheism. However, it is more common to consider those two as one and not separable in Japan.

This Japanese way of thinking is difficult to put in words or express in figures, standing in a weak position in the modern economic world where people say “Evidence is what all matters.”

Fortunately, this ambiguity of the boundaries between the two eventually has become a characteristic of the Japanese culture, which has been resonating with people across the world as the “Japanese way” or the “Japanese style” through respective cultural aspects such as Washoku (traditional Japanese food) and Anime.

Some say they really don’t believe in any kind of religion but that’s not necessarily right.

They actually have a dedicated religious sentiment passed down among the people (or further in the community), and share the sense of feelings based on that.

Most Japanese people show respect to shrines, temples, and cemeteries. There’s even a term they use in Japanese “Bachiatari” meaning “cursed” in English.

Still, Japanese people are not strongly aware of their concern on religion.

That is because they think God and Buddha are essentially the same.

Most of them believe that humans become Buddha (God) after death. This expression “believe” doesn’t mean actual fact-finding, but it’s a common understanding that the dead should be honored as God or Buddha.

Speaking ill of the dead right after the death is considered a disgrace to the dead.

There clearly lies respect and awe to death, although not many are aware of that.

Japanese people tend to keep distance from people who are inclined to a certain religion or strongly favor to be a member of a certain religious sect, but also at the same time they are quite generous about other religions and religious sects and sometimes even seem apathy.

No matter a person is religious or not, Japanese people really do not care as long as it doesn’t affect their own life. They never ask your religion even when you first meet them, which may be quite rude in some cases.

This seems to be one of the unbelievable Japanese customs foreigners experience here.

Most Japanese people practice Buddhism or Shinto religion. Albeit their belief is broad enough to embrace both religions.

People in Japan visit shrines as well as temples for the First New Year Prayer without any concerns about the difference between them.

Any choice is palatable, whereas those who are inclined to a certain religion rather tend to be deemed as unorthodox.
Japanese people greet each other saying “Merry Christmas” in winter, enjoy bean throwing at Setsubun spring festival and have fun on Halloween.

Incidentally, Shinto also means a way of living of Japanese people.

Faith is a part of the everyday life of Japanese people.
Japan is a Buddhist country as well as a Shinto country, where it is believed that even some unknown weeds growing at the roadside have a divine spirit and Buddha spirit.
Japanese people feel awe to the nature and consequently they believe that things like tree logging for the humankind's convenience could get you cursed (“Bachiatari” in Japanese).

You may remember it as a main topic of “The Princess Mononoke” by Hayao Miyazaki.

Japanese people consider human beings not as special and chosen entities but only as a part of Mother Nature.

People receive the blessings of the universe, lands and waters, to support their lives. Japanese people believe that we borrow all from the Mother Nature and eventually return it back at the moment of death. This explains why Japanese people express their gratitude to the life-beings when they put the palms together and say “Itadakimasu” (“Thank you for allowing me to take this”) before meals.

This Japanese spirit has been playing the story undertone in the STUDIO GHIBLI films and such “portrayal of Japan” may be designated as one of the reasons of the worldwide popularity of it.

Japanese people live with a faith and respect to the souls existing not only in animals but in plants and, sometimes, inanimate things.
Many legends and fairy tales comprise the stories in which an animal transforms into a human and then returns favor for a help. Japanese people feel comfortable considering animals capable to feel and remember the favor in a way similar to human beings.
The practice to express a gratitude to worn-out needles in a “Hari-kuyo” ceremony (Requiem services for broken needles) also means that nobody doubts about a divine spirit existing in inanimate things.
Japanese people also have a widespread concept of Tsukumogami that means gods or soul dwelling in old long-working instruments.
There are a lot of stories on the topic of “divine spirit dwelling in things”.

This is not an animism intrinsic to the primitive religions. This is a mindset working even nowadays and this concept may be frequently found in popular manga, novels and other entertaining products.
On the other hand, Japanese people do not believe in perfect gods. They use such words as Death Deity, Plague Deity, Poverty Deity and there is a proverb saying that don't disturb a sleeping deities (the proverb meaning is equivalent to “Let sleeping dogs lie”).

Japanese people feel awe to nature and humbly posture themselves as nothing more than a part of it.
Therefore, they tend to be modest to other people too.
The idea is that it is to your benefit to lend an ear to others often, to reflect within yourself, and to hold yourself back for the good of the whole.

If the whole is better off, you will benefit from it. If you are selfish, everyone else will follow, confusing you and causing everyone to lose.
This is why, even after a disaster, people stand in line for stores and rations in an orderly fashion.
This is often a surprise to people from overseas, but it is because they have always been taught that respect for the group is for the benefit of the individual.

It is said that individuality is weak, but the caring and helping spirit nurtured in this value system is considered precious.

Japan is a lush green country, with about 70% of its land area in the mountains and 67% in forests.

For this reason, it seems that people are sensitive to the changing of the seasons, and feel that having a sense of unity with the seasons is a virtue, and they like it.

Japanese food, haiku and letters express the seasons and give joy to the viewers.

There is a spirit of harmony that respects nature, appreciates the beauty of each season, and respects order.

Nevertheless, modern Japanese people have been strongly influenced by Western culture.
Especially after the war, we have been exposed to and accepted Western ideas and culture.

However, they have never made English their official language, and have continued to use Chinese characters from the Chinese cultural sphere, which are over 1,500 years old, as well as Chinese characters that were born in Japan, known as Kokusaiji, and have also maintained their own unique culture of hiragana and katakana.

Japan has the characteristic of adopting culture, but not too much, and making it its own.

This means falling short of global standards, and in fact, Japanese companies have fallen behind in the field of smart phones. In fact, Japanese companies have fallen behind in the field of smartphones, which are often called "Galapagos phones," a name born of Japanese self-mockery.

For better or worse, the Japanese are aware that they are not the global standard.

In addition, Japan is not very good at creating global standards, and no company has yet emerged from Japan to match GAFA. Furthermore, in Japan's education system, which is based on a horizontal line, the stakes are always high. The society is built on the foundation of sympathy, empathy, and patience, and many people may feel constrained.

However, this is also a characteristic of Japan

Of course, Japan should adopt the good things that exist outside of Japan. At the same time, we should not forget that Japan's uniqueness has encouraged Japan's development.

I hope that Japan will continue to flourish as a distinctive country.



Recommendations for Traveling to Japan

①Sushi and Japanese food



④Hot springs


⑥Kimono experience

⑦Park & Garden (Japanese style)


things to do JAPAN