By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (April 08, 2022) – In Issue 2022-069 of Steve Kovacs Fun with Maps, a look at celebrations of Buddha’s birthday in east and south Asia.


Today is Hanamatsuri, or Flower Festival, in Japan, commemorating Buddha’s birthday.

Buddha’s birthday is celebrated throughout east and south Asia, with some variations in the ceremonies followed from country to country.

In Japan on this day people pour Amacha beverage on small Buddha statues.  Lion-dancing – mimicking the movement of lions in very large costumes – is also broadly performed.

Buddhism is the fourth largest religion on earth measured by the number of followers.  It originated in India in the 6th to 4th century BC and spread to much of Asia.  One of Buddhism’s central tenant is seeking the attainment of nirvana, or release from the three poisons: greed, aversion and ignorance. 

Here is Hondius’s map of Japan from 1630.  The map shows a rather distorted Japan since it was a closed society in those days and Westerners had very little contact with the island nation.

Japan map – 1630 (Credit Steve Kovecs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.