Japanese culture and history are very different and interesting to many of us who live in the western world. For those of you who would like to know more about Japanese culture, Yoshinogari Historical Park is not to be missed! Let’s visit Yoshinogari Historical Park and slip back in time to 400 BC when Japan started to form as a community, a society, a state, then a country.
What is Yoshinogari Historical Park?
Yoshinogari Historical Park, located in Saga Prefecture in Kyushu, is a large and complex archeological site (measuring 182 acres) from Yayoi period (弥生時代), approximately 2,400 years ago. Here, villages and buildings from Yayoi period were carefully reconstructed to create replicas of that era. The Yayoi period is believed to be the origin of Japanese culture as it was the time when Japanese ancestors started to settled down in one place and started agriculture by growing rice.
The location and layout of the Yoshinogari ruins resemble the description of an ancient country of Yamatai (邪馬台国) that was mentioned in the early Chinese chronicles called Weizhi. This qualifies Yoshinogari to be a highly academic and valuable cultural asset and led to its designation of being a National Historical Park. Hence, this historical Park was created to preserve the Yoshinogari ruins and act as an interactive learning center today.
Highlights of Yoshinogari Historical Park
#1. The Moat Encircled Zone
Minaminaikaku (南内郭) is one of the most popular spots in the Moat Encircled Zone. The scale of defenses, including the circular moats, fences and watchtowers led us to believe that this was the residential area for the successive rulers of Yoshinogari. A total of 20 buildings: four watchtowers, eleven pit dwellings, a meeting hall, a cooking house and various other structures, can be found here.
Locating on the west of Minaminaikaku is Kuratoichi (倉と市) where numerous storehouses have been discovered. It is believed to likely be the commercial center of the Yoshinogari “nation state”. Visitors to this area can observe three reconstructed storehouses in the order of a storehouse for taxes and market goods, for ceremonial and festival goods, and for market overseer.
Kitanaikaku (北内郭) is another attractive spot in this zone. It has nine large structures and buildings believed to be used for various ceremonies and festival performances at that time.
And another spot, Naka no Mura (中のムラ), is where ritual objects were made for use in festivities and political ceremonies held in the Northern Inner Enclosure.
Minami no Mura (南のムラ) is also located in this zone. The general population is believed to have lived here. A total of 27 structures have been restored, including raised-floor structures and pit dwellings.
Located in Minami no Mura is the Yayoi Life Museum where the visitors can participate in hands-on workshops. It also has a work area that is open to the public where you can see how earthenware is restored. A gallery, a video room, and a lounge area are also available.
Kita Funkyubo (北墳丘墓), a worthy place to visit, is believed to be the special burial site where successive rulers of Yoshinogari village were laid to rest. 14 authentic Kamekan (burial jars) and replicas of archaeological finds are on display inside the beautifully restore building. The visitors can also sit through a presentation explaining the nature of the site.
Lastly, burial jars, farming tools, weapons and other items found during excavation can be seen at the Exhibition Room.
#2. The Ancient Field Zone
Photo Credit:YOSHINOGARI HISTORICAL PARK
The 49.5 acre Ancient Field Zone is where the Nishi Entrance Service Area and Parking Area is located. It is open to the visitors for various outdoor recreational activities such as sports or picnic. There is also a play area equipped with 10 types of play structures such as a large wooden watchtower and a roller slide to keep the young visitors occupied.
#3. The Ancient Forest Zone
The Ancient Forest Zone, where the Study Centers and Camping Facilities will be, is a new addition to the park and is currently under development. It is a re-creation of forest habitat in ancient Yayoi era.
#4. Interactive Workshops
Photo Credit:YOSHINOGARI HISTORICAL PARK
One of the most popular attractions in Yoshinogari is the Interactive Workshops where participants can learn ancient living through hands-on experiences. They can learn how to start a fire, make earth flutes and stone pendants. At the end of the day, they go home with their own handmade souvenirs. These workshops are held at the Yayoi Life Museum.
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Yoshinogari Historical Park
Address: 1869 Tade, Yoshinogari, Kanzaki, Saga prefecuture
Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Summer hour: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM)
*Closed on December 31, the third Monday of January
420 yen (15 years and older)
80 yen (Elmentary and middle school student)
Website: Yoshinogari Historical Park