Hokkaido Japan - The Northernmost Area Ainu Traditional Culture

Hokkaido, the Northernmost Island of Japan that Inherits the Traditional Culture of the Ainu



Hokkaido is a prefecture located in the northernmost part of Japan. It is the second largest island of Honshu and has a population of about 5.38 million. The Prefectural capital is Sapporo city. About 70% of Hokkaido is a forest area, surrounded by abundant nature. Hokkaido, which has a subarctic climate, has low temperatures throughout the year, and even in summer there are only a few days when the temperature exceeds 30 degrees Celsius. There is a lot of snow in winter, and Niseko Town in western Hokkaido is also famous as a ski resort.


Traditional crafts and Local specialties

"Nibutani Ita" and "Attus" are representative traditional crafts of Hokkaido. These crafts are deeply related to the Ainu culture. The Ainu culture was created by the indigenous people (The Ainu) who lived in Hokkaido around the 12th century (1101-1200). The Ainu developed the Ainu language and their own culture.

Nibutani Ita is a wooden craft of trays and plates made by carving walnut boards with chisels.

The surface of this craft is carved with patterns, which are unique to the Ainu culture.

Attus is a woven fabric made from fibers extracted from the bark of hardwood trees. The Ainu people used it as clothing because it is resistant to water and has excellent breathability. Today, bags and accessories are made from Attus fabrics.

Hokkaido is surrounded by the sea and is rich in seafood such as salmon and scallops. Agriculture that makes use of the vast land is flourishing, and many potatoes and corn are cultivated. Dairy farming is also popular in Eastern Hokkaido, and high-quality butter and cheese are local specialties.


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