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Japan’s indigenous people, the Ainu, were the earliest settlers of Hokkaido, Japan’s northern island. But most travellers will not have heard of them.

“This is our bear hut,” the short, vivacious woman shouted through a hand-held loudspeaker, her smile creasing her forehead with deep wrinkles. A blue hat was perched on her head and her short tunic, embroidered with pink geometric designs, was tied sharply at the waist. She pointed at a wooden structure made of round logs, raised high above the ground on stilts.

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Hokkaido Asia Japan