The Ainu once struggled to preserve their dignity and cultural identity, but in 2006, under international pressure, some invariably linked to the Olympics being scheduled for 2020, the government finally recognized the Ainu as an Indigenous population. This is an important step in protecting their cultural identity and preserving their historical traditions. But even more than that, their human spirit, human dignity, to be treated like human beings is now acknowledged. Moreover, their dance has been designated a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. Because my goal is to always introduce to my clients authentic Japan, I include their performances on my Hokkaido Photo Workshops. While indulging in Hokkaido photography, I will escort you to the Ainu Kotan villages. There you can witness the lomante fire festival in the Ainu Theater ‘Ikor’. The rarity and exclusivity of this experience make this a once in a lifetime opportunity, and now that Japan has opened to Ainu traditions and culture, their traditions and ancient artifacts are surfacing once again, giving visitors one more entry point to appreciate Ainu cultural traditions. Long ago buried in locations only known to Ainu elders and passed down orally in an attempt to keep them out of the hands of invaders, treasures that represent all of the Ainu Kamuy are being re-discovered and can be viewed in the Ainu Kotan villages that along Hokkaido’s countryside. While viewing the recovered treasures, you may also witness the Ainu culture in performance; you will be exposed to the energy to the life spirit that the Ainu pride themselves on during their sacred performances, and you will see the distinct link between the natural world and the dancers and singers performance as they imitate the motions and intimations of the hunt. Since their tribal origins, the Ainu have established a mutually reciprocal relationship with nature. Their closeness to the land and its energy means that they have gravitated toward abundances of nature, such as the fishing and wildlife for which Hokkaido is well-known. The Ainu natural attunement also means knowledge of power points over which many Ainu settlements are constructed. All of this cultural richness and natural awareness is communicated in their lifestyle and acutely in Ainu dances and performances. Many of the wildlife that calls Hokkaido home, such as the Ezo Red Fox, the Shima enaga, the Blakiston’s Fish Owl, the steller's sea eagle, and the Ezo Sika Deer, will all be expressed in the majesty of the Ainu spiritual dances and performances.