Japan has a history of doing things its own way and with a sense of style and design different from any other country. As a result, the fascination with Japanese culture is endemic in the West, but not many people know about the country itself. The Japan Mint has gone a long way to correcting that lack of knowledge, amongst coin collectors at least, with a terrific series of coins being released over eight years, starting back in 2008. Each coin showcases one of the 47 Prefectures that make up mainland Japan with an image that best illustrates what makes the districts unique.

The 1,000 Yen denominated coins are composed of 1oz (31.1g) of 0.999 silver and measure a healthy 40mm in diameter. Struck to a proof finish and then selectively coloured, the reverse bears the name of the specific prefecture and the edge is helically ridged. The obverse remains the same throughout the series, having a mix of Snow Crystals, 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. The date at the bottom starts at 20 and will end at 28. This is because the Japanese calendar system works back to the death of the previous Emperor, in this case Hirohito, who was posthumously renamed “Emperor Showa” as his calendar period was known as the Showa period.  The current calendar is known as the Heisei one and started when Hirohitos son, Akihito, became the Japanese Emperor in 1989. Thus 2008 for example, would be Heiesei 20, being the 20th year since the calendar started. The mintage of each coin is set at 100,000.