Ancient Japan Timeline
Timeline Description: The history and development of Japan is characterized by strong military rule for a very long period of Japanese history. While early Japan was heavily influenced by nearby China, in later years, ancient Japan practiced isolationism.

Date Event
10,000 BC Beginning of the Jomon Era(10,000 BCE)

Settlement of Japan began around 10,000 BCE. These Paleolithic peoples were initially hunters and gatherers, eventually developing an agricultural civilization.
300 BC The Yayoi Period Began(300 BCE)

The Yayoi period began around 300 BCE and lasted until approximately 300 CE. During this period, civilization developed significantly and rapidly. The social classes of Japan began during the Yayoi period.
250 Founding of the Shrine of Ise(250 to 260)

The Shinto Shrine of Ise was first built near the end of the Yayoi period, between 250 and 260 CE. The shrine is dedicated to the sun goddess, Amaterasu.
500 Adoption of the Chinese Alphabet

Japan adopted the Chinese alphabet in 500 CE. Kanji characters remain in use as the Japanese alphabet today.
552 Introduction of Buddhism

Buddhism was introduced to Japan from China in 552 CE. The introduction of Buddhism was motivated by both cultural and political factors.
794 Beginning of Heian Era

During the Heian Era, the capital of Japan moved from Nara to Heian-kyo or modern-day Kyoto. Chinese influences were prominent during this period.
838 Isolation from China

A period of isolation from China began in 838. China was in decline at this time, and the Japanese leadership saw no value in continued contact.
1180 Minamoto Clan Gained Control(1180s)

In the 1180s, the Minamoto clan gained control of Japan. Minamoto no Yoritomo became the first Shogun of Japan.
1192 The First Shogunate

Minamoto no Yoritomo founded the Kamakura Shogunate. The Kamakura Shogunate maintained control until 1203.
1274 Attempted Mongol Invasion

In 1275, Japanese kamikaze soldiers, or those willing and expecting to die, successfully fought off a Mongol invasion by the armies of Kublai Khan.
1467 Civil War in Japan

The middle of the 15th century was marked by ongoing civil war between different feudal clans in Japan. This was a period of significant disunity in the country.
1549 Arrival of Saint Francis Xavier

A Portuguese missionary arrived in Japan in 1549. Saint Francis Xavier effectively introduced Christianity to Japan following his arrival; however, the Japanese authorities did not receive this introduction well.
1603 Tokugawa leyasu was given the title of Shogun

In 1603, Tokugawa Ieyasu became Shogun. His family retained control of the Shogunate for approximately 200 years. This period is defined by strict isolationism, both from the west, and from neighboring countries.
1630 Japan Banned All Foreign Contact(1630s)

In the 1630s, Japan banned all foreign contact. Trade ships were no longer welcome in their harbors, and people did not come to or from Japan for the next 200 years.