Ainu Kotan, Hokkaido, Japan…

Ainu village by the Akan lake and my ryokan room – another world at 1000 kms away from Tokyo… 🙂

The Ainu(humans – literally) are indigenous people who live mostly in Hokkaido, Japan. They have a cultural and racial background somewhat different from that of the ethnic Japanese. They populated parts of Honshu, the Kurile Islands and Sakhalin. According to one of several theories, the Ainu are descendants of Mongoloid migrants who entered the Japanese islands before the Jomon period. They were later gradually displaced and assimilated when the ethnic Japanese expanded their territory northwards over 1500 years. During the Meiji Period (1868-1912), the Ainu received the status of “former aboriginals”, but suffered official discrimination for several years.

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In 1997, a new law was passed with the provision of funds for the research and promotion of Ainu culture. The Ainu believe in the interaction of nature, humans and gods, and they utilize nature around them for clothing, food and housing, and NEVER take a life unnecessarily. Fish, bear meat and wild plants are gathered and stored for winter. They have a deep reverence and respect for nature and the belief that gods do exist in all things. They also believe that each entity comes from its own world and returns there after accomplishing its role. This view of life and the wisdom of their lifestyle are now recognized as ecological living…

Ainu Kotan is a tiny village which is basically a street with souvenir shops selling Ainu handicrafts… 🙂


About Mél@nie Mélanie Bedos-Toulouse @ Facebook

Posted on 26 February 2014, in melanie. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. they are so close to us in Peru, the native side at least, that some thought that we were originated there, first across Taiwan, after that Japan, then Oceania and lastly Peru. But DNA research has proved wrong that romantic theory. It is curious, because we believe in the interaction of nature (our Apus or sacred hills are like grandfathers to us) and we don’t take a life unnecessarily (although human beings I think, yes because our wars could be terrible), so we never understood, for example, the bullfights in the Spanish world, to us is something similar to steal something that is not ours, but gifted to us. As always is so interesting to know you across your your travels, gracias! ^_^

    • I simply love, admire and respect your people’s philosophy of life: pure and formidable common sense… you’re not the only guy who can’t understand the Spanish frenzy for corridas, brrr!!! same here, young man! btw, lots of French have a funny sticker on their cars that represents a smiling donkey who says:”I’m a donkey, not an asshole that kills bulls for fun!” 🙂

  2. I remember reading about the Ainu some time ago and, like others now, being astonished by their existence. I always thought the Japanese people to be a homogeneous lot. I would have been fascinated to tour their village and view their handcrafted items. Thanks for taking us with you, Melanie.

    • you’re very welcome, John! I guess you’ve already noticed I’m simply and deeply Japan addicted… 🙂 Hokkaido is really different among the Japanese (big) islands, not much in common with the other ones, quite special and original.

  3. My travels to Japan were 30 years ago, but not this far north. The cultural village you visited appears more related to ones I have toured in Alaska, which of course, probably does have distant connections. Oscar

    • I highly and warmly recommend Hokkaido… that connection is really close between Alaska(North America) and Russia(Asia), via the Bering strait… btw, a few years ago, “smart” Sarah Palin boasted about waving to Putin from her patio… 😀

      • I’ll be happy when S. Pallin gets subducted under the Aleutian Island and spewed out a volcano. I see her as having no value to USA culture or politics, other than illustrating the shallowness of self-serving politicians and famous people. Well, maybe she and Putin have something in common there… 😉

        • speakin’ of SP, we have a French saying, here’s the translation word by word: she hasn’t invented hot water and walking! 🙂 Btw, have you watched the movie “Game Change” with the excellent Julianne Moore? Tina Fey was quite awesome, too… 🙂

  4. Intriguing. I see so many elements there; some things even look a bit Maori. Others like Fijian traditional housing. Or maybe I am imagining things. 😉

  5. Japan is in my plan… 🙂 Damn… never been to Japan… Ce-i cu mine, vorbesc in rime? 🙂

  6. What an interesting place! I love the photos. I didn’t know that Japan had any other cultures living there. I’ve always heard that they are very strict about keeping their culture in tact. You’ve taught me something new! 🙂

    Note: Playful Kitty has moved to You can still follow using your reader, but you need to stop by and click the little blue button on the side bar. Thank you!

    • Hi Robin, you’re welcome and thanx for your visit! I’ve been to Japan 4 times and I simply love this UNIQUE country… Hokkaido is completely different from all the Japanese islands, I’ve already mentioned here that I could live in Nihon, eventually in Kyoto… 🙂 Good night and c u asap! 🙂

  7. Dear friend, Thanks for the nostalgic photos.

  8. Wonderful photos and reporting, Melanie! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  9. Thanks for sharing these very interesting photos! 🙂

  10. Nu s-a inventat inca teleportarea, nu? 🙂 Iar camera de hotel este o bijuterie! Complet diferit fata de tot ceea ce am vazut pana acum!

  11. Vad ca bufnita e la mare cinste acolo. 🙂

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