September 11, 2014 – CoinsWeekly readers will already be familiar with the popular Japanese 47 Prefectures series we have so often reported on. Japan has now released three new coins, featuring an expressway connecting the islands Honshu and Shikoku, a clay prehistoric goddess figure and an ancient pilgrimage route.
Common Reverse Design: Shape of Japanese old coin – Kanji letters meaning “local autonomy”
Latent image technology is applied to the center of the shape of Japanese old coin 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.
33rd EHIME 500 Yen Bicolor Clad Coin.
Obverse Design: “Setouchi Shimanami KaidoExpressway and the islands of Ehime”
Setouchi Shimanami Kaido Expressway: It is one of the Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Expressway, that connects Imabari City of Ehime with Onomichi City of the neighboring prefecture Hiroshima over Seto Inland Sea. It was thoroughly opened to traffic in 1999, and has the roads for cyclists and pedestrians as well as the motorway.
The islands of Ehime: Floating in Seto Inland Sea, they are included in the Setonaikai National Park. The area was designated as one of Japan’s first national parks in 1934.
34th YAMAGATA 500 Yen Bicolor Clad Coin.
Obverse Design: “Jomon-no-Megami (prehistoric goddess figure)”
Jomon-no-Megami (prehistoric goddess figure): Jomon-no-Megami is the largest Dogu, a clay figure, in Japan (45 cm in height), which was excavated from the Nishi-no-mae archaeological site in the Yamagata Prefecture in 1992. It is said to have been made about 4,500 years ago in the Middle Jomon Period, a prehistoric era in Japan. It is a standing statue with a wellproportioned body, and is called the “Jomon-no-Megami (prehistoric goddess figure)” because of its beautiful appearance. It was designated as a National Treasure of Japan in 2012, and is housed in the Yamagata Prefectural Museum.
35th MIE 500 Yen Bicolor Clad Coin.
Obverse Design: “Kumano Kodo Iseji (the ancient pilgrimage route from Ise to Kumano)”
Kumano Kodo Iseji (the ancient pilgrimage route from Ise to Kumano): It is a pilgrimage route since Heian Period (8th to 12th century) from Ise to the three Kumano Sanzan shrines (Kumano Hongu Grand Shrine, Kumano Hayatama Grand Shrine and Kumano Nachi Grand Shrine). It is said that this route was very crowded with pilgrims, who wanted to go to Kumano after visiting Ise Grand Shrine, during Edo period (17th to 19th century). In 2004, it was designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage as a part of the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”, which consisted of the three sacred sites (Kumano Sanzan, Yoshino and Omine and Koyasan) and pilgrimage routes connecting them with each other.
Don’t miss out on this video, which shows the breathtakingly beautiful landscape along the Kumano Kodo Iseji!
Curious? For more information go to World Heritage Kumano Kodo Iseji.
Interested in Japanese pottery? Check out this Pinterest wall about Jomon pottery!
Further information on the Japan Mint’s Prefecture programme is available here.