Japan has some of the oldest history and culture in the world. There are two distinct periods of time in Japan's early history which are the Yamato period (250-710 AD) and the Heian period (794-1185 AD). These time periods saw the development of many fields of learning. A notable field was in literature as the Tale of Genji was written during the Heian period. This story is notable as it is one of the first, perhaps the first, novel ever written. Trade was also quite expansive during these eras and other forms of art, like pottery, were developed highly.
This is a late 16th century representation of what Murasaki Shikibu (the author of the Tale of Genji) could have looked like