January 9, 2014 – Japan Mint has issued a new silver coin under the Japan 47 Prefectures Coin Program as well as two pure gold coins for next year’s zodiac sign, a horse. The “Kagoshima” 1,000-yen Silver Coin was the last silver coin issued in the fiscal year 2013 under the Japan 47 Prefectures Coin Program. It features “Yakushima Island”, which belongs to the prefecture and is one of the first places in Japan to be registered as UNESCO World Heritages.
The nature of this island is full of surprises; the small island has more than 1900 species and subspecies of plants, including 94 endemics. Also, it is an island, but at the same time a mountain, which is the highest in Southern Japan. The designs of the Kagoshima Silver Coin, a more than 2,000 years old Japanese cider tree, an endemic flower, and a mountain inhabited by such rare species of plants, symbolise the greatness of the island’s nature.
Japan / 1,000 Yen / Pure Silver / 31.1 g / 40.0 mm / Mintage: 100,000.
32nd “Kagoshima” 1,000-yen Silver Proof Coin
The obverse of the coin shows the Jomonsugi Cedar Tree, Mt. Nagatadake and Yakushima Rhododendron.
The Jomonsugi Cedar Tree is known as the oldest Yakusugi cryptomeria tree with a height of 25.3m and is estimated to be between 2,170 and 7,200 years old. The tree’s name is said to come from the Jomon period of Japanese prehistory because it is a survivor of the Jomon period dating back to about 16,500 years ago.
One of the high mountains called Okudake centrally located on Yakushima Island. The height above sea level is 1,886m. Many granite rocks are exposed by erosion around the top of the mountain, and it formed a unique landscape with the mountain ridge like a folding screen.
An evergreen low tree with a height of 2m to 3m living in the area over 1,200 m above sea level. One of the indigenous species of Yakushima Island. 5 to12 blossoms of sanguine or pink color bloom on every tip of the branches from late May to early June every year.
Kagoshima 1,000 Yen Pure Silver Coin, reverse.
This common reverse design of the 1000 yen silver coin features snow crystals, the moon and cherry blossoms. Latent image technology is applied to the center of the largest snow crystal to make letters of “47“ representing the number of prefectures in Japan, and “60” representing the 60th Anniversary of Enforcement of the Local Autonomy Law appear alternately when viewed from different angles.
Oriental Zodiac Medals “Year of the Horse”
In many Asian countries including Japan, the twelve animal signs of the oriental zodiac are applied to years. Next year, 2014, is the Year of the Horse. The Japan Mint releases Pure Gold Medals representing a zodiac sign every year, and the medals for 2014 features the year’s sign, a Horse.
Pure Gold Medal. approx. 95g / 40mm / Mintage: 250.
There are two versions; one is a large round medal with about 95 grams weight.
Pure Gold Dodecagon Medal. / 20g / 30mm / Mintage: 600.
The other is, though smaller, a unique medal featuring an old timetable represented by twelve kanji characters for zodiac animal signs.
You can find more information on these coins and the coin program on the Japan Mint website.
CoinsWeekly also reported on the Mint’s “Yamanashi” Silver Coin in November.