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16000 BCE: Oldest pottery vessels known found in Japan
14500 BCE - 300 BCE: Jomon Period in Japan.
10000 BCE: The Ice Age ends and land bridges recede leaving groups of people on an island that is to become Japan.
1000 BCE - 300 BCE: The Late phase of the Jomon Period, rice farming and metalworking are brought to Japan.
660 BCE - 585 BCE: Traditional reign dates of Emperor Jimmu, Japan's first emperor.
300 BCE - 250 CE: The Yayoi Period in ancient Japan.
97 BCE - 30 BCE: Possible reign dates of Japan's Emperor Sujin.
4 BCE: Traditional founding date of the Ise Grand Shrine in honour of the Shinto goddess Amaterasu.
82 CE: Contact between Han China and Yayoi Japan.
183 CE - 248 CE: Life of Queen Himiko of Japan.
189 CE - 248 CE: The reign of Queen Himiko.
238 CE: Queen Himiko of Japan sends a tribute delegation to China.
250 CE - 710 CE: The Yamato Period in ancient Japan, consisting of the Kofun Period and Asuka Period.
250 CE - 538 CE: The Kofun Period in ancient Japan.
300 CE - 700 CE: Haniwa terracotta figurines are placed outside Japanese mound tombs or kofun.
366 CE: Japan establishes diplomatic relations with Korea.
413 CE - 478 CE: Japanese kings send ambassadors and tribute to China.
478 CE: The founding of the Toyouke shrine at the Shinto Ise Grand Shrine in Japan.
531 CE - 571 CE: Reign of Emperor Kimmei in Japan.
535 CE - 539 CE: Reign of Emperor Senka in Japan.
538 CE - 710 CE: The Asuka Period in ancient Japan.
538 CE: Alternative date to 552 CE for the introduction of Buddhism to Japan from Korea.
552 CE: Traditional date for the introduction of Buddhism to Japan from Korea.
572 CE - 585 CE: Reign of Emperor Bidatsu in Japan.
585 CE - 587 CE: Reign of Emperor Yomei in Japan.
587 CE - 592 CE: Reign of Emperor Sushun in Japan.
587 CE: The Soga clan establish control of government in Japan.
592 CE - 628 CE: Reign of Empress Suiko, Japan's first empress.
593 CE: The Buddhist Gango-ji temple, the oldest in Japan, is founded at Asuka.
593 CE: The Shitennoji Buddhist temple is built in Japan.
594 CE - 622 CE: Reign of Prince Shotoku as regent for Japanese Empress Suiko.
596 CE: The Hokoji Buddhist temple is built in Japan.
604 CE: Prince Shotoku draws up his Seventeen Article Constitution in Japan.
607 CE: Prince Shotoku of Japan sends the first of many official embassies to Sui China.
607 CE: The Horyuji Buddhist temple is built in Nara, Japan during the reign of Regent Prince Shotoku.
629 CE - 641 CE: Reign of Emperor Jomei in Japan.
642 CE - 645 CE: Reign of Empress Kogyoku in Japan.
645 CE: The Japanese capital is moved from Asuka to Naniwa.
645 CE: The Fujiwara clan in Japan is founded by Fujiwara no Kamatari.
645 CE - 654 CE: Reign of Emperor Kotoku in Japan.
645 CE: Fujiwara no Kamatari leads a coup d'etat in Japan, removing the Soga clan from power.
655 CE - 661 CE: Reign of Empress Saimei in Japan.
661 CE - 671 CE: Reign of Emperor Tenji in Japan.
670 CE: Many structures at the Buddhist Horyuji monastery in Nara, Japan are destroyed by fire.
671 CE - 672 CE: Reign of Emperor Kobun in Japan.
671 CE - 672 CE: The Jinshin Incident in Japan which establishes Temmu as emperor.
672 CE - 686 CE: Reign of Emperor Temmu in Japan.
680 CE: Yakushiji temple is founded in Fujiwara-kyo.
686 CE - 697 CE: Reign of Empress Jito in Japan.
694 CE - 710 CE: Fujiwarakyo is made the Japanese capital.
697 CE - 707 CE: Reign of Emperor Mommu in Japan.
700 CE: Steel-bladed swords are first made in Japan.
707 CE - 715 CE: Reign of Empress Gemmei in Japan.
708 CE: Japan's first coinage, the Wado kaiho, is introduced.
710 CE: The Japanese capital is moved from Fujiwara-kyo to Nara (aka Heijokyo).
710 CE: The Buddhist Kofukuji temple is established at Nara, main temple of the Japanese Fujiwara clan.
710 CE: The buildings of the Buddhist Horyuji monastery in Nara, Japan are rebuilt.
710 CE - 794 CE: The Nara Period in ancient Japan.
710 CE - 784 CE: Nara is the capital of ancient Japan.
710 CE: Date favoured by historians for the founding of the Kasuga Taisha Shinto shrine at Nara, Japan.
711 CE: The Fushimi Inari shrine, dedicated to the Shinto rice god Inari, is founded near Kyoto.
712 CE: The Kojiki is written, a collection of oral myths forming the basis of the Shinto religion.
713 CE: The Japanese Fudoki are composed and record local kami and associated legends.
715 CE - 724 CE: Reign of Empress Gensho in Japan.
718 CE: The Buddhist Gango-ji temple is relocated from Asuka to Nara in Japan.
720 CE: The Nihon Shoki is written, a collection of oral myths forming the basis of the Shinto religion.
724 CE - 749 CE: Reign of Emperor Shomu in Japan.
725 CE: The Usa shrine is founded in northern Kyushu and dedicated to the Shinto god Hachiman.
735 CE - 737 CE: Japan suffers two smallpox epidemics which kills 25-35% of the population.
739 CE: The Hall of Dreams or Yumedono is built at the Buddhist monastery of Horyuji, Nara, Japan.
740 CE: A rebellion led by the Fujiwara exile Hirotsugu is quashed by Emperor Shomu.
747 CE: A statue of Hachiman is ceremoniously transferred from the Shinto Usa shrine to the Buddhist Todaiji shrine in Nara, Japan.
749 CE - 758 CE: First reign of Empress Koken in Japan.
751 CE: The Kaifuso anthology of Japanese poems is compiled.
752 CE: The Buddhist Todaiji temple is founded at Nara, Japan.
758 CE - 764 CE: Reign of emperor Junnin in Japan.
759 CE: The Buddhist Toshodai-ji temple is founded at Nara, Japan by the monk Ganjin.
759 CE: The Manyoshu or 'Collection of 10,000 Leaves' is written, an important Shinto source and classic of Japanese poetry.
764 CE - 770 CE: Second reign of Empress Koken, now known as Shotoku, in Japan.
767 CE - 822 CE: Life of Saicho, founder of Tendai Buddhism in Japan.
768 CE: Official founding date of the Kasuga Taisha Shinto shrine at Nara, Japan.
770 CE - 781 CE: Reign of Emperor Konin in Japan.
774 CE - 835 CE: Life of the monk Kukai (aka Kobo Daishi), founder of Shingon Buddhism in Japan.
781 CE - 806 CE: Reign of Emperor Kammu in Japan.
784 CE: Emperor Kammu moves the Japanese capital from Nara to Nagaokakyo.
785 CE: Saicho establishes the first Buddhist shrine at what would become the Enryakuji temple complex on Mt. Hiei, Japan.
793 CE - 864 CE: Life of Ennin, the Buddhist scholar-monk and abbot of Enryakuji, who brought many esoteric teachings from China to Japan.
794 CE: Emperor Kammu moves the Japanese capital to Heiankyo (Kyoto).
794 CE: Japanese Emperor Kammu sends an expedition led by Otomo no Otomaro against the Emishi.
794 CE: Emperor Kammu builds the Shinto Herano shrine at Heiankyo (Kyoto).
794 CE - 1185 CE: The Heian Period in ancient Japan.
796 CE: The Buddhist To-ji temple near Heiankyo (Kyoto), Japan is founded.
801 CE: Japanese Emperor Kammu sends an expedition led by Sakanoue no Tamuramaro against the Emishi.
806 CE: The Shinto shrine of Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha is built on Mount Fuji.
807 CE: Imibe-no-Hironari writes the Kogoshui, a collection of oral myths forming the basis of the Shinto religion.
808 CE: Ennin joins the monastery of Enryakuji, Japan.
819 CE: Kukai (Kobo Daishi) establishes a monastery and headquarters for Shingon Buddhism on Mount Koya in Japan.
826 CE: A five-storey pagoda is added to the To-ji temple complex in Heiankyo (Kyoto).
838 CE: Last Japanese embassy to China during the Heian Period.
841 CE: Hunting and tree-felling are prohibited in the forests around the Kasuga Taisha temple, Nara, Japan.
845 CE - 903 CE: Life of the deified scholar and court official Sugawara no Michizane, aka Tenjin.
849 CE: Ennin leads the first imperial-sponsored esoteric ritual at Enryakuji, Japan.
854 CE: Ennin becomes the abbot of Enryakuji, Heiankyo (Kyoto), Japan.
866 CE: Fujiwara no Yoshifusa becomes the first Japanese regent not of royal blood.
874 CE: The Buddhist Daigoji temple is founded by Shobo at Heiankyo (Kyoto).
886 CE - 891 CE: Sugawara no Michizane (Tenjin) is the regional governor of Sanuki, Japan.
887 CE - 897 CE: Reign of Japan's Emperor Uda
897 CE - 930 CE: Reign of Japan's Emperor Daigo.
905 CE: The Kokinshu anthology of poems is compiled in Japan by Ki no Tsurayuki.
921 CE: The monk Kukai, founder of Shingon Buddhism in Japan, is given the posthumous title of Kobo Daishi.
947 CE: The Tenmangu Kitano shrine is founded in honour of Sugawara no Michizane, aka Tenjin.
990 CE: The Lecture Hall at the Buddhist monastery of Horyuji in Nara, Japan is built.
995 CE: Fujiwara no Michinaga becomes the Fujiwara clan leader in Japan.
1002 CE: Sei Shonagon completes The Pillow Book, a Japanese classic describing court life during the Heian Period.
1004 CE: Japanese poet Izumi Shikibu writes her 'Izumi Shikibu Diary'.
1020 CE: The Tale of Genji is completed by Murasaki Shikibu in Japan.
1042 CE - 1103 CE: Life of the legendary Japanese warrior Minamoto no Yoshiie.
1046 CE: Yorinobu claims Hachiman patron god and founder of the Minamoto clan in Japan.
1052 CE: The Buddhist temple site Byodo-in is founded in Japan by Fujiwara no Yorimichi.
1073 CE - 1087 CE: Reign of Emperor Shirakawa in Japan.
1073 CE - 1087 CE: Reign of Japan's Emperor Shirakawa.
1135 CE: The Wakamiya Jinja shrine is founded at Kasuga Taisha, Nara, Japan.
1147 CE - 1199 CE: Life of Minamoto no Yoritomo, clan leader of the Minamoto and first shogun of Japan.
1156 CE: Hogen Disturbance in Japan.
1160 CE: Heiji Disturbance in Japan.
1164 CE: The Buddhist Sanjusangendo temple is founded at Heiankyo (Kyoto), Japan.
1168 CE: Taira no Kiyomori significantly remodels the Itsukushima Shrine.
1180 CE: Taira forces defeat an army led by Minamoto no Yorimasa.
1180 CE - 1185 CE: The Genpei War in Japan between the Taira and Minamoto clans.
1181 CE: Taira forces defeat an army led by Minamoto no Yukie.
1183 CE - 1198 CE: Emperor Go-Toba reigns in Japan.
1183 CE - 1198 CE: Reign of Japan's Emperor Go-Toba.
1183 CE: Kiso Yoshinaka defeats a large Taira army at Kurikara in Etchu and occupies the Japanese capital Heiankyo (Kyoto).
1185 CE: Battle of Dannoura where the Minamoto defeat the rival Taira. The young emperor Antoku drowns.
1185 CE - 1333 CE: The Kamakura period in Japan.
1191 CE: The Shinto Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine is moved from Yuinogo to Kamakura, Japan by Minamoto no Yoritomo.
1192 CE - 1199 CE: Minamoto no Yoritomo is shogun in Japan.
1192 CE - 1333 CE: The Kamakura Shogunate rules Japan.
1195 CE: The Todaiji temple at Nara, Japan, is restored by the Minamoto clan.
1202 CE - 1203 CE: Minamoto no Yorie is shogun of Japan.
1203 CE - 1219 CE: Minamoto no Sanetomo is shogun of Japan.
1203 CE - 1205 CE: Hojo Tokimasa acts as regent to Japan's shogun, the first of 16 such regents
1218 CE: The Tale of the Heike (Heike monogatari) is first published in Japan.
1219 CE: Hojo Masako and Hojo Tokimasa take over as regents for the Japanese shogun, thus permanently transferring power from the Minamoto to Hojo clans.
1221 CE: The Jokyu Disturbance - Japan's emperor Go-Toba launches a failed coup against the Kamakura Shogunate.
1225 CE: The position of vice-regent to the shogun (rensho) is created in Japan.
1232 CE: A new law code, the Joei Code (Joei shikimoku), is established in Japan.
1246 CE - 1259 CE: Reign of Japan's Emperor Go-Fukakusa.
1249 CE: A High Court, the Hikitsukeshu, is formed in Japan.
1249 CE - 1253 CE: The Kenchoji Zen Buddhism monastery is built in Kamakura, Japan.
1254 CE: The large gilded wood statue of Kannon is sculpted at Sanjusangendo, Heiankyo (Kyoto), Japan.
1259 CE - 1274 CE: Reign of Japan's Emperor Kameyama.
1274 CE: The first invasion of Japan by the Mongol ruler Kublai Khan fails.
1281 CE: The second invasion of Japan by the Mongol ruler/Yuan dynasty emperor Kublai Khan fails.
1283 CE: The Engakuji Zen Buddhist monastery is established at Kamakura, Japan by Hojo Tokimune.
1318 CE - 1339 CE: Go-Daigo reigns as emperor of Japan.
1327 CE - 1333 CE: Hojo Moritoki reigns as shogun in Japan, the last of the Kamakura Shogunate.
1333 CE - 1573 CE: The Muromachi period of medieval Japan.
1333 CE: Nitta Yoshisada attacks and destroys Kamakura, capital of Japan's Kamakura Shogunate.
1333 CE - 1336 CE: The Kemmu Restoration when the Japanese emperor Go-Daigo uses rebel warlords to oust the Kamakura Shogunate.
1333 CE: The position of deputy shogun (kanrei) is created in Japan.
1336 CE: Ashikaga Takauji captures Heiankyo (Kyoto).
1337 CE - 1392 CE: Japan has two competing emperors: the 'Northern and Southern Courts.
1338 CE: Ashikaga Takauji becomes the new shogun in Japan, it is the beginning of the Ashikaga (Muromachi) Shogunate.
1338 CE - 1573 CE: The Ashikaga (Muromachi) Shogunate rules Japan.
1338 CE - 1358 CE: Ashikaga Takauji rules as shogun in Japan.
1359 CE - 1368 CE: Ashikaga Yoshiakira rules as shogun in Japan.
1395 CE - 1423 CE: Ashikaga Yoshimochi rules as shogun in Japan.
1397 CE: The Kinkakuji or 'Golden Pavilion' is built in Heiankyo (Kyoto) by the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.
1401 CE: Japan joins the tribute system of China's Ming Dynasty.
1407 CE: The five-story Buddhist pagoda is added to the Shinto Itsukushima Shrine.
1420 CE - 1506 CE: Life of the celebrated Zen priest and artist Sesshu (real name Toyo)
1429 CE - 1441 CE: Ashikaga Yoshinori rules as shogun in Japan.
1449 CE - 1474 CE: Ashikaga Yoshimasa rules as shogun in Japan.
1460 CE - 1483 CE: Ginkakuji Temple (Silver Pavilion) is built in Heiankyo (Kytoto) Japan by Ashikaga Yoshimasa.
1467 CE - 1477 CE: The Onin War between rival warlords rages in Japan.
1467 CE - 1568 CE: The Sengoku Period or Warring States Period in Japan.
1473 CE: Ryoanji in Heiankyo (Kyoto) becomes a Zen Buddhism temple.
1474 CE - 1489 CE: Ashikaga Yoshihisa rules as shogun in Japan.
1494 CE - 1508 CE: Ashikaga Yoshizumi rules as shogun in Japan.
1508 CE - 1521 CE: Ashikaga Yoshitane rules in his second spell as shogun of Japan.
1521 CE - 1546 CE: Ashikaga Yoshiharu rules as shogun in Japan.
1543 CE: The first European contact is made with Japan when three Portuguese traders have their ship blown onto the shores of southern Kyushu.
1546 CE - 1565 CE: Ashikaga Yoshiteru rules as shogun in Japan.
1549 CE: Oda Nobunaga adds a specialist corps of 500 musketeers to his army.
1560 CE: Oda Nobunaga defeats the warlord of Mikawa, Imagawa Yoshimoto, at the Battle of Okehazama.
1568 CE - 1582 CE: Oda Nobunaga seizes Heiankyo (Kyoto) and is the dominant military leader in central Japan.
1568 CE - 1600 CE: The Azuchi-Momoyama Period in Japan.
1568 CE: Ashikaga Yoshihide rules as shogun in Japan.
1568 CE - 1588 CE: Ashikaga Yoshiaki rules as shogun in Japan (but is exiled by Oda Nobunaga from 1573 CE).
1571 CE: Oda Nobunaga attacks the Buddhist Enryakuji monastic complex near Kyoto.
1573 CE: Oda Nobunaga exiles the last Ashikaga shogun, Yoshiaki.
1575 CE: Oda Nobunaga wins the Battle of Nagashino.
1576 CE: Oda Nobunaga instigates a 'sword hunt' to confiscate all weapons from the Japanese peasantry.
1579 CE: Oda Nobunaga establishes a new headquarters at Azuchi castle.
1582 CE - 1598 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi is the military leader of Japan.
1582 CE - 1598 CE: Oda Nobunaga and his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi conduct an extensive land ownership survey across Japan.
1586 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi builds the huge Osaka castle.
1588 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi prohibits commoners from carrying weapons, including swords.
1588 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi rules that only full-rank samurai may carry two swords.
1591 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi builds the massive Odoi ("Great rampart") fortification wall around Heiankyo (Kyoto).
1591 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi redefines the class system of Japan.
1591 CE: Samurai are no longer permitted to farm their own land making them dependent on their lords for income.
1592 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi sends an army to invade Korea. It is not successful.
1594 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi builds the Fushimi Castle outside Heiankyo (Kyoto).
1597 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi passes his second edict to remove Christian missionaries from Japan and executes 26 Christians in Nagasaki.
1597 CE: Toyotomi Hideyoshi sends a second army to invade Korea. It is not successful.
1598 CE: Death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the military leader of Japan.
1600 CE: Tokugawa Ieyasu wins the Battle of Skeigahara against those generals who supported Toyotomi Hideyoshi's son. End of the Azuchi-Momoyama Period.
1603 CE - 1868 CE: The Tokugawa Shogunate rules Japan.
1603 CE - 1605 CE: Tokugawa Ieyasu rules as shogun in Japan.