Experiences You Can Only See (and Hear) in Japan
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Following France’s lead, several European countries have granted protected status to traditional products made within their borders — items such as olive oil, sausages, cheeses, regional wines, chocolates, and hams. The protections preserve authenticity and promote locally grown and produced foods as a source of pride for the country.
Japan — though also rightfully proud of its food and drink culture — has taken a different tack: preserving traditional sounds. Between 1994 and 1997, in a reaction to growing noise pollution in the modern world, Japan’s Ministry of the Environment set out to identify and designate 100 soundscapes throughout the country as distinctly Japanese. The final list of 100, winnowed down from 738 applications, provides a unique guide to Japan by revealing treasured elements of its distinctive culture and natural environment. Take a tour of Japan through seven of its most unusual protected soundscapes.