Monday, 5 February 2018

Planning Summer 2018: Making an Annotated Japanese Timeline

In the past, we've only blogged trips on Little Rabbit's Planning. After a couple of days of migraine-inducing marathon planning for Summer 2018, I set myself a limit of 1 hour/day and decided to blog the process.

This is a useful little strategy for finding your feet in a new culture: Take a standard timeline of the place's history and annotate it with stuff you already know, things that seem important to you, or places you've visited. This Japanese timeline has some movies I've seen and places I went to on my previous trips. Although it's quite long, that's just because Japan has a lot of history. What I actually know about Japan is almost nothing, but hopefully that will change. I'll be adding to the timeline as I go along.

From my last trip: about the oldest things I've seen in Japan are these 'Monkey Stones' from the Asuka period (7th to 8th C). They can be seen at the Kibihimenomiko Tomb in Asuka.

Prehistoric and Ancient Japan


  • Paleolithic and Jomon periods
  • Yayoi period
  • Kofun period (c.250-538)

Classical Japan


Asuka period (538-710


  • Buddhism introduced to Japan (552)
  • Carved stones of Asuka, such as the Tortoise Stone (7th century)

Nara period (710-794)


Heian period (794-1185) - zenith of the Fujiwara clan


  • Murasai Shikibu writes The Tales of Genji
  • Sakuteiki writes Records of Garden Making (mid to late 11th century)
  • Origin of The Tale of Princess Kaguya, although the first surviving manuscript is dated 1592. I know it from the Ghibli version (2013).
  • The Fujiwara men often kept diaries, for example Fujiwara Munetada kept a journal known as the Chuyuki between1062-1141. It seems to be untranslated but I found extracts from it along the Kumano Kodo trail
  • Hiraizumi - Takkoku no Iwaya temple: foundation (801)
  • Hiraizumi - Chuson-Ji: foundation (850), completion (1124). Motsu-ji (850-c.1125), Kanjizaio-in (c.1125)
  • Narita Temple: foundation

Medieval Japan


Kamakura period (1185-1333) - beginning of Samurai period


Muromachi or Ashikaga period (1333-1568)


  • The Sengoku Period or Age or Warring States spans the period from 1467-1603)
  • Kyoto Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavillion) - built in 1397, it was burned in 1950 and reconstructed in 1955.

Early Modern Period


Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1600)


Edo or Tokugawa period, shogunate, (1600-1868)


  • Emergence of Geisha culture -> until the mid-twentieth century
  • Narita Temple: expansion and enrichment: Komyo-do (1701), Pagoda (1712), Niomon main gate (1830), Shaka-do (1856), Gaku-do (1861)
  • Kyoto Nijo Castle: construction (1603)
  • Hirosaki Castle: original construction (1603-1611) The keep was destroyed by fire in 1627 and a new one constructed in 1810.
  • Boso no Mura: outdoor museum with reproductions of Edo and Meiji buildings
  • Shank’s Mare (Tokaidochu Hizakurige), a comic travelogue by Jippensha Ikku (1802-1822)
  • Hokusai, the famous print-maker lived 1760-1849

Modern Japan



  • The Wind Rises: Ghibli’s life of Jiro Horikoshi (2013) spans most of this period

Meiji period (1868-1912)


  • Boso no Mura: outdoor museum with reproductions of Edo and Meiji Buildings

Taisho period (1912-1926)


Showa period (1926-1989)


  • Pearl Harbour: 1941
  • Grave of the Fireflies: Ghibli war film (1988) set in 1945. To be honest, I can't bear to watch it.
  • Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear attacks: 1945
  • Narita Temple: Narita-san Park (opened 1928), Kaizan-do (1938), Great Main Hall (1968), Great Pagoda (1984)

Heisei Period (1989-present) - accession of 125th Emperor Akihito. He is 84 years old and will abdicate in April 2019.


  • Akira (1988 film) - The first anime I ever saw, in about 1990
  • Narita Temple: Hall to Prince Shotoku (1992)

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