Izu History

Visit a Japanese Village

Everything about Japanese culture can be traced back to its rural villages. Japanese language, behavior, rituals, and diet can be traced back to a small village tucked away in a remote mountain valley.

How can that be? Let’s look at one lesson from language.

One of the first words a foreigner learns when studying Japanese is “gaijin,” 外人 which means ‘outsider.’ The more polite and socially accepted version of this word is “gaikokujin,” 外国人 which means ‘person from a foreign country.’ The word “gaijin” is strongly connected to the important concepts of “uchi” 内 and “soto” 外 in Japanese.

The Unique History of Ito

Itō has been inhabited since the Jōmon period – roughly 13,000-300 B.C. This era coincides with the Stone Age. The hunter-gatherer Jōmon people are believed to have entered Japan via the Japan Sea and the northern archipelago. They occupied northeastern Japan, and Izu was at the far western boundaries of their range. Archaeological digs here in Itō have produced artifacts from that time including primitive tools and pottery.

Who was Miura Anjin?

Itō’s biggest festival is called Anjin sai and it celebrates the life and accomplishments of Miura Anjin (William Adams). Dancing, a taiko drumming competition and a fireworks show featuring more than 10,000 fireworks are highlights of the festival held in August every year.