2018年08月20日

'Ainu' are the indigenous people who used to live throughout Japan Before Christ.

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Ainu are hunting people and highly depend on salmon fishery. So, they permanently resided near rivers, lakes and seaside together with 5-7 families, these small villages are called 'kotan' in Ainu. The people from China and Korean Peninsula coming to Japan in 2,500 B.C. brought rice cultivation and established central government based on the emperor system in the 5th century. This new power drove Ainu to north and south after the 8-9th century. The pure Ainu people have disappeared now, and just 23,000-24,000 Ainu-related people with Japanese names are found mainly in Hokkaido. Their cultural aspects and appearance are similar to Okinawan, the people in Okinawa Islands, which implies these two kinds of people are originally the same. The Japanese natives driven to north likely became Ainu, and to south Okinawan. The picture shows the largest Ainu kotan village on Lake Akan, which was intentionally formed by putting many kotans near Lake Akan together in 1954. This big kotan is made up of 36 families. The villagers are running souvenir shops, Ainu cuisine restaurants and the like.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 13:16 | Hokkaido | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2018年08月16日

'Marimo' round green alga that lives in Lake Akan in Hokkaido is designated as a special natural treasure of Japan.

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Marimo, a kind of freshwater alga, generally lives on rocks or pebbles as a form of filament. Marimo in Lake Akan, however, forms a beautiful spherical shape made up of many filaments. Round-shaped marimo also can be found in the several other lakes in Japan as well as some other lakes in the Northern Hemisphere though, Lake Akan's marimo is the largest with a diameter of 30 cm on average. As shown in the picture, the shape of them is very well proportioned, which is unlike any other in the world. This lake is world's largest growing area of marimo. How the filamentous alga grow into spherical shape is uncertain, but the rough waves caused by strong winds seem to rock the marimo on the lakebed gently to transform them from filament to ball. Big marimo over 35 cm in diameter finally fall apart as it is hollow. Then, the small pieces start to grow again into baby marimos.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 16:29 | Hokkaido | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2018年08月06日

'Shiretoko Peninsula', sticking out to south from the eastern tip of 'Hokkaido', is a narrow peninsula 70 kilometers long.

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The name of 'Shiretoko' derives from an 'Ainu' Hokkaido native term 'Shiretuku' meaning 'The place where mountains extend to the sea'. A range of mountains, the tallest peak is 'Rausudake' volcano 1,661 meters high, runs through like a spine. This peninsula, accordingly, scarcely has any flats on the coast. The average width is no more than 15 kilometers though, the high and sharp chain of mountains covering the entire area causes a big difference of the weather between the east coast and west. The difference of temperature, hour of sunshine, amount of snow and the like. The whole area of this peninsula is densely inhabited by brown bears and 'Yezo' deer. As shown in the pictures, a series of steep cliffs keep all people away, and the waterfalls, small and big, are found here and there.

Licensed tour guide/travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 06:44 | Hokkaido | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする