Over 250 pictograms to support tourism in Japan from a visual design perspective are free to download to learn more about Japanese culture.

Nippon Design Center, in collaboration with Daikoku Design Institute, has released an ever-growing series of pictograms centered on diverse Japanese sightseeing, travel, and cultural experiences. These symbols were designed to provide visual support for tourists in Japan and to allow them to dig a little deeper into the stories behind common cultural artifacts. Even better, they’re perfectly free for anyone to download and use in personal projects.

Check out this small sampling of the currently available 250+ pictograms (which also include a few animated icons as well) that were crafted under the concepts of “universality” and “aesthetics.”

▼ Each pictogram captures the core essence of what it represents using simple, geometric shapes with accented curves.

The pictograms are separated into seven categories connected to common traveling experiences: Nature, Stay, Mobility, Food, History, Landmark, and Basic.

Each pictogram also comes with a detailed explanation available in both Japanese and English (note: the language selected in the upper-right of the screen displays the chosen language in gray, not black). We’ll take a look at a handful of the fun offerings below, but you could certainly go all out and spend the entire day clicking away!

Lovers of traditional Japanese culture will have no problem spotting the symbols representing some classical performing arts such as the face paint used in kabuki productions.

The section on food is particularly diverse with offerings for both traditional and contemporary Japanese foods, including our beloved melon buns.

Popular recreational activities, like enjoying a picnic under the falling cherry blossoms, are also well documented.

Who could ever leave out the quintessentially Japanese experience of belting out your favorite rock ballad at karaoke?

Finally, particularly famous sightseeing locales, districts, or geographic landmarks have earned their own pictograms, as demonstrated in this visual of an anime eye for Tokyo’s main anime and electronics district.

As previously mentioned, the pictograms are available for download here as either PNG or SVG file types and are fully functional for use in a variety of media. Some of the uses that Nippon Design Center recommends are detailed as follows.

▼ Transportation hubs and signage

▼ Instant messaging and other electronic communications

▼ Travel guides and brochures

▼ Restaurant and menu imagery

In addition, users can select their desired shade or even change the colors of the symbols.

On a final note, Nippon Design Center is taking requests from anyone who has an idea for a fancy new pictogram. Perhaps Iwate Prefecture would like to put in a few requests to complement their amazing samurai pictograms from a few years back.

Source: Experience Japan Pictograms via Japaaan
Images: Experience Japan Pictograms
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