Translated by MATCHA_En
Travel to Ancient Japan - Yoshinogari Historical Park In Saga
Written by Ramona Taranu
This article features Yoshinogari Historical Park, an establishment dedicated to the preservation of the Yayoi period settlement discovered in Yoshinogari, Saga prefecture.
The Yoshinogari ruins, located in Yoshinogari and Kanzaki city, Saga prefecture, are one of Japan’s largest prehistoric sites, spreading over an area of almost 40 hectares. After a settlement surrounded by a moat from the Yayoi period (*1) was discovered here, the area was transformed into the Yoshinogari Historical Park, recreating the atmosphere of the ancient community who used to live here.
Yayoi Period stands at the origin of Japanese culture as we know it. Through the remains of the settlement discovered in Yoshinogari, we can have a glimpse of how people used to live in antiquity. So let’s embark on a journey to the ancient times!
*1 Yayoi Period is an age that lasted from around the 5th century BC until the 3rd century AD in Japanese history.
The Journey Through Time Starts at the Eastern Gate
The entrance to the Yoshinogari Historical Park is a contemporary building. This is the headquarters of the Historical Park Center. This building houses a guidance room and a mini-theater, where visitors can learn about The Yoshinogari ruins, as well as restaurants and souvenir shops.
After leaving this building behind, and crossing the Ama no ukihashi Bridge toward the West, you will reach the entrance to the main square of the settlement. Beyond this entrance awaits an area where times flows slower than we are accustomed to in our everyday lives.
The Southern Quarter – the Place Inhabited by the Kings
The Southern Quarter was the residential area of the leaders of the state. As it is surrounded by a moat and fortified structures, it is believed that this area was to be protected at any cost.
In this area, there are several types of buildings, which were recreated based on the remains from ancient times. The watchtowers (yagura), from which guards used to supervise the area, underground houses where people used to live in, as well as high depositories (*2) where the harvested crops used to be deposited, are some of the buildings that have been recreated after the model of ancient times.
*2 Takayuka sōko are depositories built high above ground level in order to prevent water infiltration.
In this area, visitors can have a glimpse of the daily life of people in antiquity. In the Yayoi period, the production of textiles flourished. You can watch a demonstration of the weaving process from close.
These are samples of colored thread that the Yayoi people used in their garments. They actually look as if they could be used even nowadays.
The staff of the historical park, themselves dressed in attire from the Yayoi period, are always glad to explain the secret of producing the red color from plants and the distinguished violet color extracted from seashells.
The Northern Quarter – the Heart of the State
Photo courtesy of Yoshinogari Park Administration Center
The Northern Quarter is the most important and sacred place in the settlement, as the affairs of the state used to be managed from here. If you climb in the imposing sanctuary located in the center of the area, you can find out how deep was the connection between religion and politics in the ancient society.
This is a reconstruction of a meeting of the state’s leaders. The politics of the country and the annual celebrations used to be decided in such gatherings. You can feel the solemn atmosphere of the meetings.
In the ritual chamber located on the highest floor of the sanctuary, prayers used to be performed in order to ensure good crops, but also to hear the voice of the ancestors in matters that were of great importance for the state. From the window of this chamber, one can see the tomb of the ancestors, the most treasured place in the settlement.
The Northern Tomb – See the Worldview of the Ancients
The Northern Tomb is the grave where the royal families of the Yayoi Period have been buried. Advanced technology is used in order to preserve the tombs and to research the burial practices of antiquity.
It is an establishment where visitors can find more about the religious beliefs and the worldview of the Yayoi people.
Enjoy the Interactive Workshops of the Historical Park Center
The Yoshinogari Historical Park is very large. A bus drives regularly, bringing visitors from the Northern Tomb back to the Eastern entrance of the park.
In front of the Historical Park Center awaits the mascot character of Yoshinogari – Himika.
In the “Yayoi Lifestyle House” and the South Village, located in the proximity of the Eastern Gate Entrance, you can enjoy activities such as lighting up a fire using just wood, creating jewelry out of the precious stones called magatama, creating mirrors, and other activities. For details on each workshop, please check the official website of the Yoshinogari Historical Park.
Photo courtesy of Yoshinogari Park Administration Center
The seasonal celebrations organized by the Yoshinogari Park are also very popular attractions. The balloon festival in spring, where visitors can enjoy a balloon ride, the market on Yayoi Hill, or the illumination event called "Yoshinogari – the Echo of Light" are especially popular events.
After spending a few hours in the Yoshinogari Historical Park, you feel as if you have traveled back in time, in the Yayoi Period. Upon leaving, you feel as if you have just returned from the past to the rhythm of everyday life.
How about embarking on this journey back in time, an experience that you can try only here, at the Yoshinogari Historical Park?
Yoshinogari Historical Park
Address: Saga, Kanzaki district, Yoshinogari-machi Tade 1843
Hours: (April 1st – May 31st 9:00 - 17:00), (June 1st – August 31st 9:00 -18:00), (September 1st – March 31st 9:00 - 17:00)
Closed: December 31st, the third Monday of January and the next day
Wi-Fi: in the Historical Park Center area
Credit cards: none
Pamphlets in other languages: English, Chinese, Korean
Nearest station: Kanzaki Station, Yoshinogari Park Station
Access: a 15-minute walk from Kanzaki Station or Yoshinogari Park Station
Price range: Adults (15 years or older ) 420 yen (individual), 280 yen (group); Children (primary and secondary school) 80 yen (individual), 40 yen (group), Silver (over 65 years of age) 200 yen (individual), 200 yen (group), Small Children (under 6 years) free; Yearly Pass - Adults 4200 yen, Children 800 yen, Silver 2000 yen
* The group fees apply to groups over 20 members
Telephone: +81-0952-55-9333 (Yoshinogari Park Administration Center)
Website: Yoshinogari Historical Park