The Japan Mint launched its most ambitious series of commemorative coins in 2008, commemorating the 47 Prefectures--and four Prefectures will be honored each year through 2016. Each large Prefecture 40mm. coin is minted in gem proof quality from 99.9% pure silver, limited to 100,000, picturing local scenery, flora and fauna, etc. in full color. They come in handsome presentation holders with Certificates of Authenticity.
The official American distributor, Panda America (PandaAmerica.com), sells the Prefecture coins for $99 to $129 each. To order or for further information, call (310) 373-9647 or toll-free within USA.
The first Prefecture coin, commemorating Hokkaido, features Red-crowned cranes flying over Lake Toya; the reverse design-common to the entire prefecture series-features snow crystals, a crescent moon and cherry blossoms.
The second Prefecture coin, honoring Kyoto, features a scene from "The Picture Scroll of the Tale of Genji."
Next is the Shimane prefecture coin, that features a 16th century silver coin-called "Otoriosame-Chogi," minted from ore derived from the Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, located in Oda City in the center of Shimane, that operated from 1526 through 1923. In addition, the official flower of the prefecture--peonies--are pictured in full color.
Prefecture Coin number four features Nagano, surrounded by mountains which stand 3,000 meters above the sea level.
The fifth coin in the series features the magnificent Japanese Crested Ibis flying over Sado (Sadogashima) Island in the prefecture of Niigata. Once virtually extinct, the Japanese Crested Ibis appears to be on the road to recovery, with the total population of wild and captive birds currently greater than 600.
Nara is featured on the sixth Prefecture coin, that pictures the ancient ball game of "Kemari" being played before the Former Imperial Audience Hall at Heijo Palace in the Heijo-kyo Capital, that is celebrating its 1300th Anniversary in 2010. It has been preserved as a national historic site and a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, and is now being reconstructed.
The seventh Prefecture coin commemorates Ibaraki, and features the H-II Launch Vehicle, the first rocket produced in Japan using only domestic technologies--developed at the National Space Development Agency of Japan in this prefecture. In the background is Mt. Tsukuba, that is admired for its graceful shape and is often compared with Mt. Fuji.
In 2010, Prefecture coins will be issued for Gifu, Fukui and Kochi.