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Travel topics > Cultural attractions > Historical travel > Pre-modern Japan

Pre-modern Japan

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Japan is one of Asia's oldest civilizations. While the Japanese archipelago was settled in 50,000 BC, classical Japan was founded in AD 538.

For most countries, the line between pre-modern and modern history is difficult to draw. Not so for Japan; the country was virtually isolated from the outer world until the Black Ships Incident in 1853, which opened the country for commerce. With extensive social reforms, leading up to the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan became the first non-Western nation to industrialize.


Map of Pre-modern Japan
  • 1 Nara. This city is over 1,300 years old and was capital of Japan before Kyoto.
  • 2 Kyoto. The old capital and imperial residence.
  • 3 Yokohama. Japan's gateway to the outer world.
  • 4 Kamakura. A former capital city, full of Buddhist temples.
  • 5 Nagasaki. One of few foreign ports from the 17th to the latter half of the 19th century.
  • Hokkaido. The northernmost of the four Home Islands of Japan, home of the Ainu people.
  • 6 Himeji. Japan's most famous castle.

See also

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