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This is about the old province in Japan. For other uses, see Yamato (disambiguation).

Yamato (大和) is an old province of Japan, which is now known as Nara prefecture.

Since the Imperial court rose into power there, Yamato came to mean whole Japan too and in that sense is referred to as Yamato-no-kuni. "Yamato Damashi" or the Spirit of Yamato is used colloquially in a nostalgic way by conservative Japanese to refer to a mysterious Golden Age of Japanese Culture when life was simple and people were honest and worked hard. The Kofun Period of Japanese culture is also sometimes called the Yamato Period by Western Scholars, since this local Chieftain ship eventually rose up to become the Imperial Dynasty at the end of the Kofun Period. Japanese archaeologists find this a little predeterministic and emphasise the fact that in the early half of the Kofun Period other regional Chieftainships, such as Kibi near modern day Okayama were in close contention for the crown.

The Okinawans sometimes use it to refer to Mainland Japan in contrast to Okinawa, which is Uchinaa in their dialect.