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Introduction to Okazaki

A program at Yamasa offers opportunities not only to study the language, but also to personally experience a wide range of cultural activities most students never have the opportunity to see - let alone do. Located in the middle of Aichi Prefecture, Okazaki is a balanced city of 330,000. Both traditional and modern, urban and rural, lively and liveable, these apparently contrasting terms can all be accurately used in describing Okazaki. Even though it is only 40km from central Nagoya to the west, and only 20 minutes from Toyohashi to the east, Okazaki has had no trouble managing to retain its individuality - despite the fact that it is one part of an conurbation of just over 7 million people. This is due in large part to its unique and important position in Japanese history. Okazaki is a city renowned for its history, traditions and at the same time, advanced science and technology.

Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616)
Mikawa warrior & unifier of Japan

Okazaki Castle stands where the Sugo (Oto) and Yahagi rivers meet, just 15 minutes from our campus. The castle was of strategic importance in Japanese history, and was the birthplace of Ieyasu Tokugawa, the warlord unifier of Japan who was fictionalized in the novel "Shogun" and perhaps the most important single figure in the making of modern Japan. Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) founded the shogunate in Edo (now Tokyo) in 1603 that endured for more than 260 years after skillfully surviving a turbulent era of civil warfare.

The castle is a focus for the city, and besides offering a peaceful respite from busy downtown Okazaki, it instills a certain pride in the maintenance of the city's traditional culture - hosting many of the festivals. Okazaki is, by the same token, very much a modern city, with several universities and colleges, high-technology industries as well as scientists from all over the world working at the prestigious Okazaki National Research Institutes.

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