Overflowing with history and stunning scenery, Yoshinogari Park is a centrepiece of the Saga prefecture. Its vast size and collection of both authentic and replicated archaeological artifacts have made it a must visit destination for those interested in Japanese history and culture. It was only by accident in the late 1980s while preparing for the industrialization of Kanzaki area that Yoshinogari park’s rich history was unearthed. Since then archaeologists have discovered artifacts from the Yayoi period, known as Japan’s Iron Age era, a time of great civilisation evolution which dated. In April 2001, the initial phase of the park was finally opened to the public and has since become a hotspot for those interested in doing some time travelling into Japan’s rich history.
YOSHINOGARI HISTORY PARK
Located around 40 minutes from Saga airport or 25 minutes from the Saga JR station, the Nishitetsu Bus heading towards Yoshinogari Iseki Mae will drop you right out front of the park gates. If you’d rather take your time to appreciate the scenery, walking from JR Kanzaki Station and JR Yoshinogari Koen Station will take you about 15 minutes. Once you get to the gates entrance will set you back 420 yen per adult. If you’re planning on making a day trip, give yourself plenty of time to explore, because saying that the park is massive is an understatement. Situated at the entrance of the Yoshinogari Park is the Historical Park Center which is the educational hub of all things Yayoi period. Home to a small theatre, souvenir shops, restaurants and an information centre, it’s the perfect place to to get prepped for you journey into rich history of the Yoshinogari archeological ruins or recoup and recharge after hours of walking and exploring.
burial jars"Kamekan "
One of the main draw cards of the park is the collection of burial jars dating back from the Yayoi period. Burial jars were a distinctive method of burial unique to Kyushu’s northern areas. When someone passed, their body was bent to fit inside an unglazed jar like coffin which was then buried in the ground. A popular method for over 200 years, there is estimated to be about 15,000 jars buried in mounds in Yoshinogari. Visitors can view a collection of about 500 of the recreated pod like coffins in the parks 300 meter long burial row.
Another burial site is Kita Funkyubo, located in the North Tumulus which is where the royal families of the Yayoi Period have been laid to rest. The tombs are kept in pristine condition for visitors to appreciate thanks to the meticulous care of the Yoshinogari Park staff. Today 14 original authentic Kamekan (burial jars) are on display alongside carefully crafted replicas of archaeological finds discovered throughout the area. Some other relics that have been unearthed around the site, include copper/bronze knives and decorative glass beads, super advanced technology for the time, and even human hair.
The heart of Yoshinogari Park is arguably Kitanaikaku, the northern inner enclosure. The hub for rice planting, seasonal festivals, ceremonial events, and a large marketplace, it’s believed to be the most important area not just in the park, or Yoshinogari village, but also in the whole nation-state around Yoshinogari. Barricaded by tall wooden spiked walls, it’s considered to be the central nervous system of the Yayoi era, which for its time was one of the most advanced communities in Japan.
Minaminaikaku, tucked into the southern quarter of the park is where leaders of the state once lived. To protect the its rulers at all costs the area was surrounded by one of the country’s largest moats and medieval looking fortified walls and watchtowers also known as yagura. The park is now home to authentic recreations of what the residential hub looked like back in its ancient heyday. Beyond tough maximum security architecture around the outside, there were underground houses where citizens resided and depositories for harvested crops. Dressed in Yayoi era garments, the park staff give regular demonstrations the area’s textile production process, allowing visitors an authentic insight into daily life during the period.