Kansai - A Storehouse of History and Culture
Kansai has a long distinguished history dating back to ancient times. It is thought that people were living in the Kansai region more than 10,000 years ago. Kansai has always been the center of Japanese history, and the stage for the greater part of the historical events seen in Japan from the ancient period to the modern age. The ancient, successive capitals of Japan are all located in Kansai, in present cities, such as Osaka, Nara and Kyoto, etc. and the region prospered as the political, economic, and cultural center of the country. There was also an outstanding amount of international cultural exchange between the Kansai region and the rest of the world, notably over the Silk Road, and there are countless examples of the aggressive integration of foreign technology and construction methods, as seen in the temples and Buddhist statues located in Kyoto and Nara. The region is also a rich storehouse of culture and the performing arts, as of February 2011, five of the eleven sites inscribed as World Heritage Properties in Japan are located in the Kansai region. The three classic Japanese performing arts, Noh theater, which has been inscribed as an Intangible World Cultural Heritage, Joruri puppet theatre, and Kabuki theater, as well as Chado, (tea ceremony) and Kado (the art of flower arrangement), all originated in the Kansai region. A number of prominent novels, such as The Tale of Genji, were born in the Kansai region, and the mild climate and rich natural environment of the region have led to a progressive spirit and a flexible mind set in the people living in the region. Supported by this rich storehouse of history and culture, exchange and fusion occurred between Japan and the Chinese continent, flowering in the characteristic Japanese culture.
Photographs supplied by: Todai-ji Temple and Biwako Visitors Bureau