Resilience and Renewal: The Survival Story of Japan’s Indigenous Ainu People

Liked the post? Please show some sharing love.
The survival story of – AinuJapan’s Indigenous People.

Nestled in the northernmost part of Japan, Hokkaido is a serene and picturesque island that boasts breathtaking landscapes and untamed wilderness that leave visitors in awe. It is a sanctuary for adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike, who come from far and wide to witness its alluring beauty. However, amidst the natural beauty that Hokkaido offers lies a lesser-known treasure – Ainu, Japan’s Indigenous People. Their rich heritage is a precious gem that is often overlooked by many. Intrigued by their way of life, I had the privilege to journey to the heart of Ainu territory, thanks to the Adventure Travel World Summit in Hokkaido. This rare opportunity gave me the chance to immerse myself in their world and learn more about their customs, traditions, and way of life. It was an unforgettable experience that left me with a deep appreciation for their culture and the beauty of Hokkaido.

As I journeyed deep into the forests of Biratori in Hokkaido, Japan, I felt a sense of excitement and anticipation to uncover the ancient Ainu hunting techniques. Before entering this sacred space, a ritual began—pouring sacred sake (rice wine) onto the “inau,” a symbolic fire stick adorned with wood shavings. Guided by two Ainu experts, Tokuji Mombetsu and Misaki Kimura, both in their late thirties, clad in traditional ‘Amip’—an Ainu robe made from the bark of Manchurian Elm decorated with unique thread and cloth patterns and matching hairbands, I observed a centuries-old form of worship known as “Kamuinomi”, which underscored the deep spiritual connection that the Ainu people hold with nature and the divine. Tokuji explained to me,

Before we enter the forest or mountain, we pay our respect to our kumay (God) and seek their permission. Most importantly we don’t waste anything; we only take what we need.

Forest Walk with the Ainu people in Biratori campgrounds - (Left to Right, Top to Bottom) - Tokuji Mombetsu and Misaki Kimura sharing Ainu knowlege about local plants used by Ainu people, Tokuji  san performing a a prayer ceremony "Kamuinomi" to the spirit-deities (kamuy) before entering the forest, showing us an Ainu hunting shelter called a "kuca cise" and try our hands on using traditional hunting equipment.
Forest Walk with the Ainu people in Biratori campgrounds – (Left to Right, Top to Bottom) – Tokuji Mombetsu and Misaki Kimura sharing Ainu knowledge about local plants used by Ainu people, Tokuji san performing a prayer ceremony “Kamuinomi” to the spirit-deities (kamuy) before entering the forest, showing us an Ainu hunting shelter called a “kuca cise” and try our hands on using traditional hunting equipment.

For the next four hours after the ‘Kamuinomi,’ I delved into the Ainu hunting methods, learning about the traps they crafted to capture wild animals using bows and arrows. Despite modern restrictions on hunting and fishing, the pride in their Ainu heritage remained palpable. Tokuji can’t go back to his Ainu ways of living, but he is content with the fact that he doesn’t have to hide his identity anymore. This encounter marked my inaugural experience with Japan’s indigenous Ainu people, setting the stage for a deeper exploration of their culture and traditions.

Who are Ainu, and how are they different from the Japanese?

The Ainu, Japan’s indigenous people, have a fascinating history. They were the initial settlers of Hokkaido, situated in Japan’s northern region. They also inhabited the north of Honshu, the main island of Japan, and Sakhalin island in Russia. While there is no official record of their arrival in Japan, it is believed that the Ainu have been living in Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands, Hokkaido, and the northern Tohoku region since the 13th century. Many archaeologists consider the Ainu to be the last surviving descendants of the Jomon people, who lived throughout Japan from as early as 13,000 years ago. They once thrived in Hokkaido, but their population has dwindled drastically over time. According to my local guide, Yoshimi SATO, less than 24,000 Ainu are left in Japan today, although there are no official census figures. It is also known that many Ainu are hesitant to share their heritage. Most are mixed Japanese. Finding a pure Ainu is almost like finding a needle in the hay. Today, it may be hard to distinguish the lifestyle and culture of many Ainu from that of the rest of Japan’s people. Many can no longer speak Ainu fluently, and much of their traditional ways have been relegated to an occasional ceremony or cultural festival.

Despite the declining Ainu population, their culture remains rich and vibrant, characterized by a unique language, exquisite art, and traditional clothing adorned with Ainu patterns. When I first learned about Ainu, I wondered about the differences between them and the Japanese. Through my interactions with the Ainu people, I discovered that they have their own religion and strongly believe that there is a god (Kamui in the Ainu language) in everything. Traditionally, Ainu lived a simple life: hunting deer and salmon, gathering wild plants for food, performing traditional dances, and playing music. They were exceptional wood carvers and craftspeople, with distinctive Ainu patterns embroidered on clothes and wooden implements, from plates to swords.

The Ainu language is unique to their people and classified as Critically Endangered by UNESCO, putting it on the brink of extinction. It differs significantly from Japanese in various aspects, including syntax, phonology, morphology, and vocabulary.

The Japanese and the Ainu had a relatively peaceful coexistence until 1879 when the Meiji government enforced assimilation policies. These policies included banning the Ainu language, tattoos, and hunting practices. Despite the forced assimilation, Ainu culture continues to endure, standing as a testament to the resilience of Japan’s indigenous people.

Ainu Resurgence

In 2007, UNESCO recognised the Ainu as the indigenous people of Japan, followed by the recognition of the Japanese government in 2019. Initiatives to promote Ainu culture, like the manga series “Golden Kamuy” and developing new Ainu-centric tourism products like Ainu museums, “Kotans,” and Ainu tours, have helped revitalise Ainu communities and bring renewed appreciation for their culture.

Biratori Municipal Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum is a good place to learn about Ainu culture.
Biratori Municipal Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum in Central Hokkaido is a good place to learn about Ainu history and culture.

I had the opportunity to learn more about Ainu culture at several places in Hokkaido that have been developed to promote Ainu culture. One of those experiences was at the Biratori Municipal Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum, which houses more than 10,000 cultural artefacts, including Ainu clothing, toys and hunting implements. This immersive journey delved into the heart of Ainu history, offering insights into their traditions and artistic expressions. The museum has four different zones: the Ainu Zone (The Ainu Way of Life), the Kamuy Zone (Dramas of the Gods), the Mosir Zone (Blessings of the Earth), and the Morew Zone (A Tradition of Figurative Art). I was fascinated by rare items on display, such as salmon skin shoes and “Kuyoi” water bags made from animal bladders. Overall, the museum was well-organized and informative.

Inside Nibutani Museum (Left to Right, T to Bottom) - Visitors can learn Ainu carving at Nibutani Museum Workshop area, Ainu artefacts displayed inside the Nibutani museum, traditional Ainu hut, and their central fireplace that doubled up as a heating place too.
Inside Nibutani Museum (Left to Right, T to Bottom) – Visitors can learn Ainu carving at the Nibutani Museum Workshop area, Ainu artefacts displayed inside the Nibutani museum, traditional Ainu hut, and their central fireplace that doubles up as a heating place too.

Outside the museum, some traditional Ainu houses (cise) were on display, where I saw how Ainu once lived. The houses had a central fireplace that heated the whole house in winter. The cise are also venues where Ainu artisans demonstrate ita carving and embroidery on a rotating basis, and visitors can interact directly. It was quite an experience to learn the Ainu carving. It seemed easy from the outside but required a lot of patience and precision.

Summer at Lake Akan: A Vibrant Haven of Ainu Culture

A typical summer evening at Lake Akan, Eastern Hokkaido
A typical summer evening at Lake Akan, Eastern Hokkaido

But our journey was far from over. After crossing the Biratori Forest and Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum, I found myself in the legendary forests of Lake Akan, where I participated in the ‘Kamuy Lumina’ night walk while holding a rhythm stick. Kamuy Lumina is an interactive experience that combines local Ainu folklore, digital art, and the natural beauty of the area. During this 1.2-kilometre immersive cultural walk, I witnessed a popular Ainu legend, “The Tale of the Owl and the Jay Bird,” come to life through projected images, music, and special effects.

'Kumuy Lumina' night walk on Lake Akan is one the best immersive experience one can have to understand the Ainu culture in Eastern Hokkaido
‘Kumuy Lumina’ night walk around Lake Akan is one the best immersive experience one can have to understand the Ainu culture in Eastern Hokkaido.

The next stop on this cultural journey was Akanko Ainu Kotan, the largest Ainu settlement with approximately 130 Ainu people and 36 buildings. It became a stage for captivating experiences. Inside the Akanko Ainu Theater, I witnessed a one-of-a-kind multimedia masterpiece called ‘Lost Kamuy.’ It fused Ainu ancient ceremonial dance, a UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage, with cutting-edge digital art and contemporary dance.

Akanko Ainu Kotan is the largest Ainu settlement with approximately 130 Ainu people and 36 buildings in Lake Akan, Eastern Hokkaido
Akanko Ainu Kotan is the largest Ainu settlement, with approximately 130 Ainu people and 36 buildings in Lake Akan, Eastern Hokkaido.
'Lost Kamuy' married Ainu ancient ceremonial dance with cutting-edge digital art and contemporary dance.
‘Lost Kamuy’ married Ainu ancient ceremonial dance with cutting-edge digital art and contemporary dance.

This short introduction to Japan’s Indigenous Ainu People ignited a quest to know more about them. So, after a three-month break, I continued my exploration of the Ainu people and their fascinating culture.

Winter’s Embrace: Deepening Connections at Lake Akan

In January 2024, I visited Lake Akan to explore the rich and fascinating culture of the Ainu people. I had the privilege of meeting an 80-year-old Ainu woman, Miyako Sazaki San, also known as Miyachan. Her face had the lines of a life well-lived, and her eyes shone with an inner light that belied her age. As we talked, I was struck by her wisdom, warmth, and profound respect for the Ainu philosophy and way of life.

Miyako Sazaki San shared insights about how Ainu people and how they lived.
Miyako Sazaki San shared insights about the Ainu people, their culture, lifestyle, struggles, and triumphs.

Miyachan, who was born to an Ainu mother and a Japanese father, shared with me how her parents had taught her Ainu customs and traditions despite the hostile conditions and discrimination faced by her community. Sharing tales from her childhood said Miyachan:

I have been dancing since I was ten years old. This place used to be the original Ainu Cultural Theatre, a structure made of grass and wood that would get painfully cold in the sub-zero temperatures of winter. But I never stopped dancing.

Her unwavering love and dedication for Ainu dance and songs, passed down by her mother, was further passed down to the newer generation by her.

Miyachan shared stories about her childhood when only four Ainu people lived in the Lake Akan hot spring area without electricity or piped water. Her stories filled me with awe and humility as I learned about the resourcefulness and ingenuity of her ancestors. They crafted clothing from elm tree barks, footwear from salmon skins, and homes from reed straws and logs, showcasing their remarkable survival skills.

Miyachan had performed in the original Ainu Cultural Theatre for sixty years. Now it functions as an Ainu Museum showcasing Ainu clothing, shoes, art and craft materials, hunting equipment, and much more.
Miyachan had performed in the original Ainu Cultural Theatre for sixty years. Now, it functions as an Ainu Museum showcasing Ainu clothing, shoes, art and craft materials, hunting equipment, and much more.
Ainu Artefacts displayed at the Ainu Cultural Museum (L to R, T to B): Ainu pots, an elm tree bark-made robe, footwear made from salmon skins, and an ainu makiri (small sword) used for hunting.
Ainu Artefacts displayed at the Ainu Cultural Museum (L to R, T to B): Ainu pots, an elm tree bark-made robe, footwear made from salmon skins, and an ainu makiri (small sword) used for hunting.

In the afternoon, the same space that Miyachan had danced in became a classroom for Ainu embroidery, guided by the skilled artisan Kayoko Nishida. As she demonstrated the intricate thorn and spiral patterns, each symbolising protection from evil, I marvelled at the depth of Ainu’s craftsmanship. At 78, Nishida San had a perfect 6/6 vision, proving that age is just a number when you live in harmony with nature.

Kayoko Nishida runs an Ainu souvenier shop a swell as teaches ainu embroidery
Kayoko Nishida runs an Ainu souvenir shop along with teaching Ainu embroidery to visitors.

In the evening, I was introduced to the ‘Mukkuri’, a type of mouth harp, and Ainu traditional dance. Singing and dancing are core to Ainu culture and a key feature of Ainu festivals. These dances are used to express gratitude to the gods and celebrate life’s joys and sorrows. As I learned these dances, I felt a deep connection to the Ainu’s reverence for nature. Every song and dance was dedicated to the natural world; my favourite was the crane dance. In this dance, the mama crane teaches her baby how to fly by flapping its wings. It was a graceful tribute to the wonder of the animal kingdom.

An Ainu artist playing 'Mukkuri' is a traditional mouth harp made of wood (usually bamboo) and a string.
An Ainu artist playing ‘Mukkuri,’ a traditional mouth harp made of bamboo) and string.

My journey into the Ainu culture ended at Marukibune, where Moshiri, a 12-piece supergroup led by the inspirational figure Atuy (whose legal name is Masanori Toyooka), gave a live performance. Atuy’s journey from being ostracised to becoming a composer, philosopher, entrepreneur, and spiritual leader was a powerful display of the Ainu people’s resilience and determination.

Moshiri, a 12-piece supergroup led by the inspirational figure Atuy to propagate Ainu culture
Moshiri, a 12-piece supergroup led by the inspirational figure Atuy to propagate Ainu culture

The Ainu cuisine that I experienced during my visit was a revelation. It boasted flavours and textures that I had never encountered before. The local Ainu vegetables in Jomon hotpot, wild beans with miso paste, wild garlic in egg, and seaweed salad were all a celebration of nature’s bounty. My friends who could eat seafood and meat had an even better multi-course Ainu cuisine. It consisted of Japanese plum wine, potato salad topped with salmon eggs, lake dace seasoned with miso and vinegar, frozen sashimi of lake dace, Jomon hot pot, grilled venison, Ohau (traditional Ainu stew with venison and vegetables), sushi with salmon and salmon roe, yaseidon (rice topped with venison), victory onion and egg, chaga mushroom tea, and shito (fermented potato dumpling).

Multi-course Ainu Cuisine dinner at Marukibune, Eastern Hokkaido, Japan
Multi-course Ainu Cuisine dinner at Marukibune, Eastern Hokkaido, Japan

In Atuy’s world, women were at the forefront of everything, whether in the kitchen or on the stage. I was surprised to see that the women who graciously served and cooked dinner for me also showcased their talents as performers in Atuy’s 12-piece supergroup.

Through my numerous interactions with Ainu women, I came to realise that in Ainu culture, despite historical patriarchal norms, women have been the silent pillars upholding their traditions and cultural heritage. These interactions unveiled women’s pivotal roles in preserving Ainu customs, from passing down traditional dances and songs to mastering intricate embroidery techniques. What struck me most was witnessing the gradual shift in societal dynamics, where Ainu women increasingly step into leadership positions and actively participate in cultural propagation. This evolution underscores not only the resilience of Ainu culture but also the progressive adaptation to contemporary values of inclusivity and gender equality.

In conclusion, my journey to Ainu territory was unforgettable. It offered profound insights into their ancient culture, traditions, and beliefs. Japan’s Indigenous Ainu people’s deep connection to nature and their exquisite art left a lasting impression. Although Ainu culture is now officially recognised, a longstanding economic gap between this minority and its Japanese counterpart still exists today. Discrimination can still be found sometimes in schools, workplaces and marriage considerations. While uncovering the story of the Ainu people, I was also reminded of the challenges faced by indigenous communities in my country, India. Like the Ainu, these communities display remarkable resilience and pride in preserving their heritage despite adversity. By advocating for Ainu culture, I hope to promote greater respect for indigenous communities worldwide, including those in India.

Published on

The abridged version of this story is published in the March-April issue of Outlook Traveller Magazine. Here’s how the story looked.

Where to experience Ainu culture in Japan

Here are some places in Hokkaido, Japan, where visitors can experience the culture of Japan’s Indigenous Ainu People:

  1. Nibutani Ainu Cultural Museum: Located in Biratori, this museum showcases artefacts, tools, and artworks, offering visitors a glimpse into Ainu history and craftsmanship.
  2. Ainu Kotan in Akan: This Ainu village near Lake Akan offers authentic cultural experiences, including traditional dance performances, craft demonstrations, and workshops.
  3. Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park: Recently opened in Shiraoi, this museum features interactive exhibits, workshops, and outdoor displays focused on Ainu history, culture, and traditions.
  4. Ainu Cultural Promotion Center in Sapporo: This centre, located in Sapporo, hosts exhibitions, events, and workshops focused on Ainu culture, language, and crafts.
  5. Ainu Cultural Center in Noboribetsu: Situated in Noboribetsu, this centre provides opportunities to learn about Ainu culture through exhibitions, workshops, and performances.
  6. Ainu Crafts Museum in Asahikawa: This museum is dedicated to Ainu arts and crafts and features exhibitions of traditional and contemporary creations.
  7. Ainu Village in Niseko: This Ainu cultural village in Niseko offers guided tours, demonstrations, and performances, allowing visitors to learn about Ainu customs, rituals, and daily life.
  8. Shiraoi Ainu Museum (Porotokotan): Located in Shiraoi, this open-air museum offers insights into Ainu history, lifestyle, and traditions through reconstructed Ainu dwellings, artefacts, and cultural performances.
Ainu women lead from the front in saving and propagating the Ainu culture.

These destinations provide diverse opportunities for travellers to engage with Ainu culture, history, and heritage across different regions of Hokkaido.

Attending Ainu Festivals in Hokkaido

Festivals are an integral part of the Ainu culture. Japan’s Indigenous Ainu People celebrate several festivals annually, each dedicated to different aspects of their culture, traditions, natural cycles, and kumuy. Therefore, it is a good idea to plan your trip and keep in mind important Ainu festivals. Here’s an annual festival calendar of the Ainu in Japan:

  • Iomante (イオマンテ): Sometimes written as Iyomante (イヨマンテ), is one of the most critical Ainu ceremonies held in late January or early February. It marks the end of the hunting season and includes rituals to express gratitude to the gods for a successful hunt. Traditionally, this Ainu Bear festival (熊祭, kumamatsuri) involved the ceremonial send-off of a sacrificed bear’s spirit. Nowadays, the ceremony no longer involves the killing of an animal but is performed for wild animals that die in accidents or captive animals that die of old age. The atmosphere of the original ceremony is brought forward to the modern age with music and dancing.
  • Daisetsuzan Mountain Festival: Held yearly in Asahidake Onsen around the middle of June, this festival originated to celebrate the official start of the hiking season in the Daisetsuzan National Park. Both locals and visitors gather around a bonfire and watch traditional Ainu rituals as well as some dancing and singing, creating a fantastic atmosphere.
  • Sounkyo Fire Festival: Held on the last Saturday and Sunday of July, the Sounkyo Fire Festival honours and prays to the god of fire and mountains. Ainu tribal dances, religious services, and the performance of Himatsuri drums are the festival’s highlights, leading up to the fireworks finale in the canyon.
  • Kamuy Fuchi Festival: This summer festival, usually held in July or August, pays homage to the water deity Kamuy Fuchi, who is believed to protect rivers and streams. The festival includes prayers for abundant fish harvests, purification rituals, and offerings to the water gods.
  • Harvest Festival: Celebrated in autumn, typically around September or October, the Harvest Festival (known as “Kapar Ainu”) gives thanks for the bountiful harvest and honours the gods for their blessings. It involves rituals, feasting, music, and dance, symbolizing the Ainu’s close relationship with nature.
  • Salmon Fishing Festivals: Throughout the salmon fishing season that typically lasts from late spring to early autumn, various rituals and ceremonies are performed to honour the salmon and ensure a successful catch. These rituals involve prayers, offerings, and traditional fishing techniques passed down through generations. One of the notable Salmon festivals to attend is the Ishikari Salmon Festival, held on the last weekend of September in Ishikari, a former salmon fishing village. The festival’s closing event is the passage of a portable shrine (Mikoshi) through Benten Rekishi-dori, the historical street of old downtown Ishikari. Alternatively, you can also attend the Shiraoi Cep Festival, a celebration and thanksgiving for the blessings of the sea. The festivities include ancient Ainu dances and performances of the mukkuri (Jew’s harp), a demonstration of Malek fishing, an ancient Ainu method of fishing for salmon, the ever-popular bargain sale of salmon, and sales of Ainu salmon cuisine such as cep ohau (salmon soup) and chima cep (skewers).
  • Lake Akan Marimo Festival: Another unique Ainu festival is the Marimo Festival, which is held annually at Lake Akan from early to mid-October since 1950. While it’s not an ancient tradition, the idea behind this festival was initially to protect the local marimo (round algae balls) from further pollution. Significant members of the Ainu community conduct the festival, which includes the Ainu song and dance, a blessing festival, fireworks, and finally, the return of the chosen marina to the lake bottom. This is a truly unique and wonderful festival.
  • Ainu Day: Designated on November 24th, Ainu Day is a modern commemoration of Ainu culture, language, and heritage. The Ainu people showcase their traditions through cultural performances, exhibitions, workshops, and community events.

While these festivals are some of the most notable celebrations in the Ainu calendar, smaller local events, ceremonies, and gatherings are also held throughout the year within Ainu communities across Hokkaido and other regions of Japan. Each festival preserves and celebrates the unique identity and traditions of Japan’s Indigenous Ainu People.

Further Reading about Japan

10 Reasons to Visit Hokkaido: From Ainu Culture to Winter Wonders, Your Ultimate Guide

Sushi, Shrines, and Beyond – 15 Essential Travel Tips for a Budget-Friendly and Hassle-free Adventure in Japan

Sakura bloom on your mind? Here’s a complete travel guide on where and when to see Cherry Blossoms in Japan

Open Season – The Best Time to Visit Japan

Japan Travel Guide: things to do in Asakusa, Tokyo

Offbeat Japan – Discovering the Autumn beauty of Hokkaido

Hotel Review of staying at a Capsule Hotel in Tokyo

Disclaimer

I was invited by ATTA and Visit Hokkaido for ATWS 20023 and Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel for the winter trip to Eastern Hokkaido. However, the views and pictures shared above, were personally experienced by me in my last two visits to Hokkaido in 2023 and 2024. Please do not copy anything without any written permission.

27 Comments

  • Stephanie says:

    I learned so much in this article regarding the Ainu people (I’m embarrassed to say I had not heard of these peoples before this article). Such a beautiful background and culture they have – thank you for sharing.

  • Kimberley Asante says:

    Wow, what an incredible read! Learning about the resilience and renewal of Japan’s indigenous Ainu people is truly inspiring. It’s amazing how they’ve managed to preserve their culture and traditions despite facing so many challenges over the years. This article has opened my eyes to a part of Japanese history that I wasn’t familiar with, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn more about these remarkable people. Thanks for sharing this enlightening piece!

  • Tameka says:

    This is absolutely incredible! It’s amazing to see how our indigenous peoples have survived thrived and are even being celebrated in our modern society.

  • Richard Lowe says:

    These are a fascinating people. I love the stories that you’ve told, as well as the great photos.

  • Monidipa Dutta says:

    Your journey into Ainu territory in Hokkaido is truly captivating, offering a window into the rich cultural tapestry of Japan’s indigenous people. Your vivid descriptions of the rituals, traditions, and experiences you encountered during your visit paint a picture of deep connection and reverence for nature that permeates Ainu life.

    It’s fascinating to learn about the Ainu’s distinct language, art, and way of life, which have endured despite centuries of challenges and changes. Your exploration of Ainu culture sheds light on their resilience and determination to preserve their heritage, even in the face of adversity.

    The initiatives aimed at revitalizing Ainu culture, such as the Biratori Municipal Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum and the Akanko Ainu Kotan, are commendable efforts to promote understanding and appreciation of Ainu traditions. These immersive experiences offer visitors like yourself the opportunity to delve deeper into Ainu history and craftsmanship.

    Your encounters with Ainu individuals, from Tokuji Mombetsu and Misaki Kimura to Miyako Sazaki San and Atuy, provide glimpses into the diverse experiences and perspectives within the Ainu community. It’s heartening to see the role of women highlighted in preserving Ainu customs and leading cultural propagation efforts.

    Your reflections on the parallels between the challenges faced by Ainu communities and indigenous communities in India underscore the universal importance of preserving cultural heritage and advocating for the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide.

    Overall, your journey through Ainu territory is not just a travelogue but a poignant exploration of identity, resilience, and cultural preservation. Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences, which offer valuable lessons and inspire greater respect for indigenous cultures everywhere.

  • Emily says:

    This was so incredibly interesting to read! Thank you so much for talking about this wonderful group of people. As someone who is part Indigenous (Ojibwe, here in Canada), I think it’s so important for us to learn about the other groups of people across nations who have made the land what it is today.

  • Ivan Carlo Jose says:

    Your post is very educational. You are very lucky to have been given the chance to learn deeply about the Ainu peopl and their culture. I have long been fascinated by them since learning about the Ainu people because, before that, I’ve always viewed Japan to be a homogenous society.

  • Ivan Carlo Jose says:

    It’s a little sad to know though that some Ainu people are not proud of their heritage. I can understand them but I still think it’s better to keep your heritage alive.

  • Bruce Schinkel says:

    What a fascinating culture, thanks for bring it to us! I’m so glad they faced a resurgence and acceptance by UNESCO and Japan in recent years.

  • Rosey says:

    My teenager, who doesn’t like to travel, has really been wanting to visit Japan. He has just been devouring story after story about it, fueling the desire to go. I’m so happy he’s found a place he wants to visit. It’s so interesting to read about the culture, particularly the dancing.

  • Jenny says:

    Thank you for sharing this information about the Ainu people, i hope their culture continues to be celebrated.

  • Bedabrata Chakraborty says:

    What a powerful read about the resilience of Japan’s Ainu people! Their story of survival and renewal is truly inspiring. It’s important to learn about and honor indigenous cultures and you are so lucky to have got this opportunity.

  • karen says:

    oh wow, this is fascinating! I love Japan and its rich history and its amazing culture. I’ve never heard of the Ainu people before now, thank you sooo much…

  • Stephanie says:

    Such an interesting article on the Ainu people. I learned quite a bit about the culture of these beautiful people – thank you for introducing them to me!

  • Beth says:

    This really was an amazing read. I love the resilience of the Ainu people. I also had ZERO idea that Japan had indigenous people, so this was a real eye-opener for me.

  • Cindy says:

    Fascinating read on the culture and resilience of Japan’s Ainu people. Their survival story is truly inspiring and deserves recognition. A must-read!”

  • Kimberly C says:

    It’s always so interesting to learn about different cultures. I have never heard of the Ainu people. Thank you for educating me. It’s so nice to see how simple these people live compared to here in the US. My husband has been to Japan several times and always has such great things to say about it, making me want to visit too.

  • Yeah Lifetsyle says:

    What an amazing experience to witness and see a part of the lives of indigenous Japanese people. The island of Hokkaido looks so beautiful and unspoilt too. It was so wonderful to learn more about the Ainu culture.

  • Samantha Donnelly says:

    What an amazing read, my Daughter has had a love of Japan for years, and loves reading about their culture amongst other things. I really found this such a lovely read as I myself have always had a fascination with different cultures

  • Jupiter Hadley says:

    I feel like I knew nothing of the Ainu people or of Japanese culture. Thank you for sharing their interesting and inspiring story.

  • Sue-Tanya Mchorgh says:

    Exploring Hokkaido’s breathtaking landscapes is an adventure in itself, but delving into the rich heritage of the Ainu people adds a whole new dimension to the experience. Your journey to the heart of Ainu territory, courtesy of the Adventure Travel World Summit, sounds truly remarkable. It’s heartening to hear about your immersive encounter with their customs and traditions, shedding light on a culture often overlooked. Your experience serves as a reminder of the beauty and diversity that Hokkaido has to offer beyond its natural wonders.

  • Sue-Tanya Mchorgh says:

    Exploring Hokkaido’s breathtaking landscapes is an adventure in itself, but delving into the rich heritage of the Ainu people adds a whole new dimension to the experience. Your journey to the heart of Ainu territory, courtesy of the Adventure Travel World Summit, sounds truly remarkable. It’s heartening to hear about your immersive encounter with their customs and traditions, shedding light on a culture often overlooked.

  • Lisa says:

    Japan is my dream destination. But I have never heard of the Ainu People before. It’s so interesting to read that these indigenous tribes still exist there and they are just about going strong. Lake Akan looks incredible too.

  • Tammy says:

    What an absolutely incredible experience! So much history and culture to be discovered..thank you for sharing this with us!

  • Melanie E says:

    The night walk that you went on sounds like it would have been great to do. It must have been interesting to learn about the Ainu folklore. It’s great to hear that you got to try some of their food too.

  • Marysa says:

    What a great post – I really learned so much from this! I can’t say I knew much at all about the Ainu people, and I always enjoy learning new things and educating myself on history and culture.

  • LauraSide Street says:

    Wow this is so interesting and what an incredible experience for you! I really want to visit Japan one day and now I feel like I’ve learnt a lot more about the Ainu people and I hope that in this modern world they continue to pass down their traditions and hold on to them

    Laura x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.