Tour theme - prehistory & history

Tour itineraries:

As with many nations, Japan has a long and fascinating history that is inextricably linked with its national identity. For many, Japanese history conjures up images of Samurai warriors with their swords, refined culture in the old imperial capital of Kyoto, or the horrors of World War II. Many an international visitor is drawn to Japan because of this somewhat stereotypic imagery of Japanese history that focuses on the last 1200 years or so. It is certainly true that many aspects of culture regarded as quintessentially Japanese largely developed during this period, for example the celebrated traditions of tea, garden, swordsmithing and many of the crafts. Most of the historic townscapes, temples, castles and other renowned sights of Japan largely date from the last several centuries.

Archaeological investigations in recent times, however, have revealed that the history of Japan as a nation and culture go well back into the prehistory. Events described in ancient Japanese mythology that were previously dismissed as fiction are now regarded as likely depictions of history well before the times of Kyoto and Nara as the imperial capital. The prehistoric Jomon civilisation of Japan, though not related to a nation state, is now widely accepted as the foundation for the Japanese cultural identity, that survived in harmony with nature and without wars for over 14000 years. These aboriginal roots of the Japanese people may well explain the seemingly contradictory aspects of Japanese culture and psyche.

Whereas modernisation and destruction during World War II have taken a heavy toll on historical sites in urban areas, in regional areas of Japan, history remains a part of everyday life, in their landscapes, traditions and culture. Some regional traditions in Japan have direct lineage with the prehistoric Jomon culture, an amazing situation in a modern Westernised nation. We invite you to explore Japan's past on one of our tours in regional Japan guided by an expert. To understand the prehistory and history of Japan is a key to truly understanding the Japanese people and their culture.