The Land of the Rising Sun exudes light on the Chubu (Chiho) and Kansai (Kinki Chiho) region.
In the center shines Chubu, acclaiming celestial mountains, greeneries, flowing rivers, and historic villages found in its beloved Gifu prefecture whilst technical advancements and popular culture are embodied in Aichi.
Kansai, meanwhile, beams in the southern-central area with emerging innovations and nostalgic establishments seen in Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara. Interestingly, Mie prefecture’s a mix of both the traditional and new and is included and recognized in both regions.
With an endless discovery of cities, cultures, and language, each prefecture carried with it various characteristics which were revealed not only in their urban planning and architecture but in the souvenirs, specialties, and significances they’ve branded themselves with.
The traditional gasshou zukuri houses in Shirakawago, the lively Kawasaki dance of Gujo, the artisanal knives and nail cutters of Seki, the beautiful yukata and paper mache of Mino, and the hard-working Ama divers in Hachiman are products of a culture being sustained and cultivated.
Thriving to preserve knowledge passed on from generations and at the same time moving towards the contemporary era, localities such as the Inuyama Castle, Ise Jingu Shrine, and Yokocho Street aren’t mere examples of Japanese history but speak of a prevailing culture: one that respects spirituality, preserves the initiatives of ancestors, and protects the local identity.
Of popular culture arises leisurely city shopping and futuristic and imaginative theme parks that are adapting to progressive change. Nagoya, Dotonburi, Universal Studios Japan, and the Nabano No Sato Illumination’s effervescent light animations and installations are perfect contributors to such cause.
Revealing meanings from these prefectural traditions, the art of monozukuri which means “the creating process” or “the process of making things” is what they all tantamount to. Although monozukuri is about making things, the mere virtue of process can be synthesized.
The significance of properly wearing a yukata, eating an unagi rice bowl in phases, bowing and cleansing oneself before entering a shrine, preparing for an onsen (what to bring and do before taking a dip), practicing a dance for a festival, properly folding paper to create an origami, and pronouncing and enunciating words and writing characters correctly in Nihongo speak much of this virtue.
Nippon at its zenith introduces and unearths Japanese lands that bear an unfamiliarity to most but uphold an equal radiance and sublimity that must be learned. Perhaps, it’s time to shed light to tourists these parts unknown.