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Chiba Prefecture > Introduction of Chiba > 40,000 Years of Culture

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Update:December 16, 2010

40,000 Years of Culture

Chiba has been home to thriving communities of human beings since ancient times. We know this because we can still see these ancients in the artifacts they left all over our land, like the enigmatic Haniwa figures. They set local cultural roots that have continued to develop through the ages. Narita, home of our airport, has bustled with pilgrims and well-wishers since Narita-san Shinshoji Temple was founded there in the 10th century. Chiba's culture flourished in particular under the Edo Shogunate (1603-1867), when the center of power of Japan lay just next to Chiba. Sawara (presently part of Katori City), a commerce town, prospered so much from the flow of goods along the Tonegawa River that it was said to rival Edo. Against this backdrop, Chiba made its own mark on Japanese culture.

It has always been the local people who bear our culture. This continues today, as our citizens join together, forming energetic NPOs and volunteer groups, to preserve and celebrate our cultural resources.

The Sawara Grand Festival, held twice a year in July and October (Katori City)
The Sawara Grand Festival, held twice a year in July and October (Katori City)

An ancient tomb and multitude of Haniwa, restored to their original states (Sakae-machi)
An ancient tomb and multitude of Haniwa, restored to their original states (Sakae-machi)

The streets of Sawara, where the atmosphere of the Edo Period still prevails (Katori City)
The streets of Sawara, where the atmosphere of the Edo Period still prevails (Katori City)

Historic Contributions

Hishikawa Moronobu (c.1630-1694)
Hishikawa is said to be the father of Japan’s Ukiyo-e style of art. His masterpiece, "Mikaeri bijin", was famously used on a Japanese postal stamp.

Nami-no-Ihachi (1751-1824)
Nami-no-Ihachi's dramatic wood carvings of the waves of Chiba's Sotobo coast reportedly influenced Katsushika Hokusai, one of Japan's most well-known artists.

Ino Tadataka (1745-1818)
Though he did not learn surveying until age 55, Ino traversed the entire country by foot, making the first map of Japan that was accurate to modern surveying standards.

"Mikaeri bijin"
"Mikaeri bijin"

Ihachi's wave carvings
Ihachi's wave carvings

Traditiom being passed on to generations.

Chiba has designated 168 different traditional craftworks of the prefecture. These include items such as maiwai-shiki tairyo hata (special flags used to celebrate a good catch), which are famous nationwide. Our people are working hard to preserve these traditions, and Chiba's traditional handicrafts are now being handed down to fourth and fifth generations, while at the same time incorporating fresh ideas of a new age as well.

Boushuu Uchiwa Fan
Boushuu Uchiwa
(fans made from bamboo)

Maiwai-shiki Tairyo-hata
Maiwai-shiki Tairyo-hata
(flags used to celebrate large fishing catches and other good occasions)

Choshi Chijimi
Choshi Chijimi
(a kind of fabric)

Traditional local cuisine

In addition to our long history of cuisine based on delicious fresh seafood, one of Chiba's most representative traditional foods is futomaki-matsuri-zushi, or "thick-rolled festival sushi". These unique and colorful sushi rolls have been made for special occasions and festivals since times of old, and are another form of traditional culture that we pass down through the ages.

Futomaki-matsuri-zushi
Futomaki-matsuri-zushi, a custom where various pickles, rice, egg, and seaweed are carefully rolled together to make intricate and beautiful designs

Preserving, Celebrating, and Creating Anew

Performance in Dusseldorf,Germany(March 26, 2009 Koln)
Performance in Dusseldorf,Germany(March 26, 2009 Koln)

Our critically acclaimed the Chiba Prefecture Youth Orchestra is one of many amateur music groups that flourish across our prefecture. They made a European Tour from March 25 to April 3, 2009, performing by invitation in Dusseldorf, Sofia, and Koln,and receiving a standing ovation.

 

Boso-no-Mura
At Boso-no-Mura, an open-air museum near Narita, visitors explore life-size reconstructions of local homes and buildings from the Edo (1603-1867) and Meiji (1868-1912) Periods, and experience traditional activities like weaving, paper-making, old-style cooking, or even trying on samurai armor.

Special Links

Mail Magazine Disaster/Disaster Prevention Info( External link ) Chiba International Information Square Welcome To CHIBA( External link )

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