Sign in for a personalized experience.
Japan Guide Homepage
Travel
Living
Forum
Jobs
Friends
Shopping
Arts and Crafts
-
Entertainment
-
Etiquette
-
Food
-
History
-
Language
-
Photo Gallery
-
Religion
-
Tradition

Home - Tradition
Ainu

jump to:   links

Ainu House at the Shiraoi Ainu Museum

The Ainu are a people indigenous to the lands of northern Japan. They have a cultural and racial background somewhat different from that of the ethnic Japanese. The Ainu populated Hokkaido, parts of Honshu, the Kurile Islands and Sakhalin, but today they live mostly in Hokkaido.

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 the past 1500 years.

An Ainu performance at the Shiraoi Ainu Museum

In the Meiji Period (1868-1912), the Ainu received the status of "former aboriginals", but suffered under official discrimination for some years. In 1997, a new law was passed for the provision of funds for the research and promotion of Ainu culture.

Today, several museums in Hokkaido aim to preserve the Ainu heritage and inform visitors about their history, culture and way of living. Some of these museums stage cultural shows that demonstrate traditional Ainu dance, music and dresses. Furthermore, Ainu handicrafts are sold at many souvenir shops across Hokkaido.

Ainu-related attractions

Near Noboribetsu
Shiraoi Ainu Museum (Porotokotan) (more information)
The Shiraoi Ainu Museum is one of the country's best museums about the Ainu. This open air museum recreates a traditional village of thatched roof houses along the shore of Lake Poroto. Each of the houses demonstrates different aspects of the Ainu culture and lifestyle. Hourly Ainu cultural performances include traditional folk dances, songs and mouth harp demonstrations.

Asahikawa
Kawamura Kaneto Ainu Museum
The Kawamura Kaneto Ainu Museum in Asahikawa exhibits a wide range of traditional Ainu tools and goods, as well as a hut made out of bamboo grass. The museum was founded by the local Ainu leader Kawamura Kaneto (1893-1977), an outstanding surveyor in railway construction, who also worked on educating people about Ainu culture.

Lake Akan
Ainu Kotan (more information)
Ainu Kotan is a touristy Ainu-themed shopping street in the town next to Lake Akan. Ainu Kotan offers multiple souvenir shops specialized in Ainu handicrafts. At the end of the street stands a small museum displaying Ainu crafts, clothes and daily life utensils. Traditional Ainu performances are periodically held in a hall next door.

Lake Kussharo
Ainu Folklore Museum (more information)
The Ainu Folklore Museum is a small museum about the Ainu along the shore of Lake Kussharo. The museum has interesting displays and artifacts that highlight various aspects of Ainu life, language and culture.

Abashiri
Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples (more information)
The Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples in Abashiri introduces the culture and traditional everyday life of the peoples inhabiting the northern, subarctic regions of the globe, including the Ainu, the First Nations people of northern Canada, the Inuit, the Sami and the Siberian peoples. The beautifully done museum illustrates the differences and similarities between the respective peoples through various exhibits.

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

Advertisement

User Feedback
We strive to keep japan-guide.com up-to-date and accurate, and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:

Japanese Links
Kawamura Kaneto Ainu Museum
Official website.

Online Reservations
Hotel
 
Car
 
Flight
 
Bus

(check-in)

Related Pages
History
Politics
Travel

Hokkaido
Shiraoi Ainu Museum
Hokkaido Museum of Northern Peoples

Travel
Living
Japan A-Z
Community
Sightseeing
Accommodation
Transportation
Shopping
Essentials
Regions
Prefectures
Cities
Working
Studying
Living Cost
Apartments
Arts and Crafts
Entertainment
History
Religion
Etiquette
Food
Language
Tradition
Question Forum
Classifieds
Trip Reports
Member Area
Sightseeing Guide
Hokkaido
Sapporo
Otaru
Hakodate
Noboribetsu
Niseko
Furano
Daisetsuzan
Shiretoko
more...
Tohoku
Sendai
Matsushima
Hiraizumi
Hachimantai
Hirosaki
Lake Towada
Dewa Sanzan
Aizu
more...
Kanto
Tokyo
Yokohama
Kamakura
Hakone
Nikko
Kawagoe
Kusatsu
Narita
more...
Chubu
Nagoya
Mount Fuji
Izu Peninsula
Matsumoto
Kiso Valley
Takayama
Shirakawa-go
Kanazawa
more...
Kansai
Kyoto
Osaka
Nara
Kobe
Himeji
Mount Koya
Kumano
Ise Shima
more...
Chugoku
Hiroshima
Miyajima
Okayama
Kurashiki
Tottori
Matsue
Iwakuni
Hagi
more...
Shikoku
Takamatsu
Kotohira
Naoshima
Matsuyama
Kochi
Tokushima
Naruto
Iya Valley
more...
Kyushu
Fukuoka
Nagasaki
Kumamoto
Mount Aso
Beppu
Kagoshima
Kirishima
Yakushima
more...
Okinawa
Honto
Kume
Miyako
Yaeyama
Copyright © 1996-2014 japan-guide.com All rights reserved - Last Page Update: November 26, 2013
home - site map - privacy policy - terms of use - contact - employment - Lɂ‚ - advertising