The Japanese 47 Prefectures Coin Program has been a joy to behold. The program is almost over with only two more prefectures set for release.
The Japanese Mint has, following the official release of the Chiba coins, unveiled the designs for the second-to-last coin set in the series : Fukushima.
The Japan 47 Prefectures Coin Program was launched in 2008 with the release of the Hokkaido, Kyoto and Shimane coins. Each of Japan's 47 prefectures will be celebrated by the release of a silver commemorative 1000 Yen coin and a circulating commemorative 500 Yen bi-metallic coin.
All of the coins share a common reverse design. For the 1000 Yen coin that is a depiction of cherry blossoms, falling snow crystals and a crescent moon. The numbers “47” and “60” are applied to the largest snow crystal with latent imaging technology, viewable only from differing angles. 47 representing the 47 Japanese prefectures and 60 the 60th Anniversary of the Enforcement of the Local Autonomy Law.
The reverse design of the bi-metallic 500 Yen coin in turn features at it's center an old Japanese Cash coin with Kanji lettering that translates as “Local Autonomy”. The same latent imaging technology is applied to the center of this coin as to the 1000 Yen coin.
The Fukushima Commemorative ¥1000 silver coin is anchored at it's obverse by a portrait of Japanese bacteriologist Hideyo Noguchi(1876 - 1928), whom himself hails from Fukushima prefecture. Renowned for his work on yellow fever, syphilis and other virulent diseases. The colourized background of the obverse shows Lake Inawashiro. Located in the cities of Aizuwakamatsu and Koriyama, as well as in Inawashiro Town in the Yama District of Fukushima Prefecture. As well as Mt. Bandai, which is considered a landmark of the Fukushima prefecture, in the background.
The obverse design of the bi-metallic ¥500 circulating commemorative coin features one of Japans oldest cultural festivals, held each year in Fukushima prefecture, the Soma Nomaoi Festival. During this festival men dressed in traditional samurai outfits take part in a 1000 meter(1 km) race on horseback.