Mr. Yasuhiro Okada
Aomori Prefecture World Cultural Heritage Registration Promotion Office Manager
Born in Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture. After graduating from Hirosaki University, Mr. Okada joined the Aomori Prefectural Office. Since 1992, he has been in charge of excavation and investigation of the Sannai-Maruyama site. In January 1995, he was transferred to the newly established Sannai-Maruyama Site Countermeasures Office of the Cultural Affairs Division (currently the Cultural Property Protection Division) of the Prefectural Education Agency where he had worked on surveys, research, maintenance, and utilization of the site. After working as a cultural property researcher in the Memorial Division of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, he is currently the director of the World Cultural Heritage Registration Promotion Office, Planning and Policy Department, Aomori Prefecture.
Using the philosophies and lifestyles of our predecessors as food for thought in modern times
"Many people think that the Jomon culture is a far world from our present life because it existed so long ago. But it's a big misunderstanding. It is actually right next to us, many ancient tombs and ruins are excavated near our homes, that is a good example. The lives and culture of the Jomon people are connected to our "present day". I think that Jomon studies is more like home economics than archeology. I feel that the Jomon period was the age of the family. A society called a village was formed, and while people participated in village life as a family unit, they learned to repair things, devise ways to eat delicious food and raise the creativity level for clothes and accessories. It was an era when people were enthusiastic about family life. Standing at the ruins means to think from the same perspective as the Jomon people. People's philosophy, religious views, and their world view from that time are considered starting from the facts derived from the items from long ago that have been excavated. In that sense, the Sannai Maruyama site is like a department store for information. Relics of all genres and from a wide-ranging time period have been excavated. From here, we will be able to embark on a journey to visit the roots of Japanese people and the origins of our spiritual culture."
The Sannai-Maruyama Site, a special historic site, is one of the largest Jomon settlements in Japan where excavation and investigation of the remains are conducted. A total of approximately 3,700 relics have been excavated including about 500 important cultural properties. They are exhibited at the Sanmaru Museum and explained in an easy-to-understand manner. The symbol of the ruins is the restored tower of the "Excavated Large Pillar Building". This huge stilt building towering in the sky of Aomori is an important key to unravel the appearance of villages in the middle of the Jomon period.
"In summer, you can see the actual excavation site, and you may be able to witness the moment evidence of ancient lives is brought in to the sun light. The Jomon culture was often only introduced collectively and its diversity just focused on in textbooks etc.,. However, with the improvement of accuracy for archaeological excavations, the Jomon culture has become clearer, the regional characteristics have been highlighted in a vivid manner, and the flow of the culture transitioning through trade and transportation has been clarified. If you look at the Jomon period on the vertical axis in the time series of 10,000 years, you can see its primitive beginnings at the Odaiyamamoto Ruins in Sotogahama Town, then, onto its mid-term appearance at Sannai Maruyama. You shouldn't miss the Goshono Site in Ichinohe Town, Iwate Prefecture, where visitors can see the life of the in-land people, the Sakiyama Shell Mound in Miyako City which is recommended if you are looking for an open-sea site type, and Miyahata Ruins in Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture to see ruins from the later period of the era. "
Visiting the Jomon in Tohoku with the coordinates of history on the vertical axis and regionality on the horizontal axis
Mr. Okada also recommended us to look to understand the Jomon from the perspective of the horizontal axis for regionality. "First of all, I would like to visit the stone circles in Akita Prefecture. When I see the Oyu Kanjo Resseki Stone Circle, I tremble due to the feeling of the depth of the spiritual world there, and at the Isedotai Ruins, all I need to do is to stand there to find the answer to my question- "Why did the ancients chose this place?" The lacquer products excavated from Ondashi Ruins are exhibited at the Ukitamu Fudokino Oka Archaeological Museum in Takahata Town, Yamagata Prefecture and it possesses first-class exhibits to discover the richness of the Jomon world. At Sendai City Jomon Site Park in Miyagi Prefecture, they offer plenty of experience-type workshops such as accessory making, stone ware, knitting Angin clothes, and how to start a fire. They give small children a chance to become familiar with the Jomon culture. And this year, the registration of the world cultural heritage for Hokkaido/Northern Tohoku Jomon Site Group consisting of 17 sites scattered around Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, and Akita prefectures is about to be concluded. We believe that it is our mission to pass on the many ruins and relics considered as national assets to the next generation in the best possible condition."
「The Jomon Culture」
Embracing the beauty and spirit of the Jomon people
Korekawa Stone Age Ruins (Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture)
Korekawa Stone Age Ruins is one of the Jomon Archaeological Site Group in Hokkaido and the northern part of Tohoku. At the adjacent Korekawa Jomon Museum, the national treasure Gassho Dogu and many other important cultural properties are exhibited. On July 17th and 18th in 2021, as a special Tohoku DC project for the 10th anniversary of the opening of the museum, tours of the private storage and rearranging rooms with a curator's guide are planned.
Footprints that tell of interactions that crossed the sea
Hakodate Jomon Culture Center (Hakodate, Hokkaido)
Hakodate City is home to the nationally designated historic site Ofune and the historic site Kakinoshima. The only national treasure in Hokkaido, Chuku Dogu, is on permanent display here. In addition, many relics that represent the "heart" of the Jomon people such as earthen plates with foot prints are on display.
Shakokidogu (google-eyed dogu figurines) are everywhere from the station building throughout the city
Kizukuri Kamegaoka Archaeological Museum/ Kamegaoka Archaeology Collection Kalco (Tsugaru City, Aomori Prefecture)
Kizukuri Kamegaoka Archaeological Museum and Kamegaoka Archaeology Collection Kalco exhibit artifacts excavated from the Kamegaaoka Ruins. Visitors will be amazed by the high level of technology and artistry of Shakokidogu figurines, bamboo-weaving lacquerware and lacquered earthenware.
Aiming to become a world heritage site
Goshono Jomon Park(Ichinohe Town, Iwate Prefecture)
Goshono Jomon Site indicate the existence of a large-scale village in the latter half of the middle Jomon period. Pit dwellings with clay rooves and stone circles have been restored in the park, and visitors can see excavated items and experience making earthenware and accessories at the museum next door. Guides by volunteer staff are popular. The site is part of the Jomon Archaeological Site Group of Hokkaido and the northern part of Tohoku.
The base point of archaeology in Morioka
Morioka City Isekino Manabikan Museum (Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture)
In addition to investigating buried cultural properties and organizing and storing materials, various excavated materials including important cultural properties are exhibited here. An excavation site of a pit dwelling from the Jomon period is reproduced here and visitors can experience the excavation by directly touching the relics and remains and also participate in hands-on learning workshops such as starting fires and making Magatama.
The Jomon that lives on in Miyako
Sakiyama Kaizuka Jomonno Mori Museum(Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture)
This is an archaeological museum where visitors can experience the life of the Jomon people while learning about Sanriku Geopark and the history of the Jomon era. In addition to video exhibitions using relics excavated from the nationally designated historic site Sakiyama Shell Mound and strata stripped from the shell mound, exhibitions using projection mapping are also found here. Visitors can also experience the Jomon era by starting a fire and trying bow and arrow.
Learning about Jomon wisdom and techniques
Sendai City Jomon Site Park (Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture)
Yamada-uenodai Ruins are the remains of a village that existed in the middle of the Jomon period about 4,000 years ago. At Sendai City Jomon Site Park, the villages and vegetation of the Jomon period including three pit dwellings have been restored. Visitors can learn about the culture by participating in workshops including accessory making ,knitting Angin clothes, and how to start a fire.
Approaching the life of the Jomon people
The Historical Museum of Jomon Village Okumatsushima(Higashi Matsushima City, Miyagi Prefecture)
This museum displays Jomon pottery, bone tools, stone tools, decorations, etc. which have been excavated from the Jomon period shell mounds and Satohama shell mounds found on Miyato Island. There are many highlights such as a video theater that reproduces the life of a family who lived in the beach village during the Jomon period, and a cross section of a stripped shell layer from 2,800 years ago.
Tagajo Shiyukan Museum(Tagajo City, Miyagi Prefecture)
Visitors can learn the excellent techniques of ancient people through the experience of making Magatama, Jomon baskets, Raden magnets, and starting fires. Moreover, materials such as earthenware excavated from the ruins in the city and tools for agricultural work are exhibited. In addition to the history from the Jomon period to the Edo period, visitors can get an overview of a farmer's life from around 1965.
The power spot of the Jomon period
Isedotai Stone Circles (Kitaakita City, Akita Prefecture)
The Isedotai Stone Circles were a large-scale ritual site in the early stage of the latter Jomon period. Many facilities for festivals and praying have been found, stone-arranged remains, excavated pillar buildings, and pit tombs. Visitors can enjoy a 20-minute guidance video at the Jomonkan Museum, and also receive limited edition goods as a gift during the Tohoku DC campaign period.
Solving the mystery of the stone circles
Oyu Stone Circle(Kazuno City, Akita Prefecture)
This is a large-scale archaeological site from the late Jomon period, mainly composed of two stone circles (Nonakado Stone Circle and Manza Stone Circle) in Towadaoyu, Kazuno City. Excavated items from the Oyu Stone Circle Site and a diorama tell us about the lifestyle of long ago, and the free book corner gives visitors the chance to browse books on the ruins and archeology.
Mystery and humor
Isedo-kun and Doban-kun (proposed name)(Kitaakita City, Akita Prefecture, Kazuno City)
Out of 200 Dogu clay figurines excavated at the Isedotai Stone Circles, Isedou-kun is the only one completely restored as a tabular-shaped clay figurine as a motif. Doban-kun (proposed named) is an earthen plate that is thought to represent the human body and numbers excavated from the Oyu Stone Circle Site. These figures are becoming popular by word of mouth.
Beautiful clay figures that symbolize Japan
Land from which the national treasure clay figure, the Goddess of Jomon, was excavated (Funagata Town, Yamagata Prefecture)
This clay figure with a height of about 45 cm was excavated from the Nishinomae Ruins in Funagata Town. It is the largest clay figure in Japan that could be completely restored, and it is well worth a visit to see its well-proportioned beauty. It is on permanent display at the Yamagata Prefectural Museum (Yamagata City). Please visit the Nishinomae Site Park "Goddess Town" that was developed on this excavation site as well.
In the name of the ancients
Ukitamu Fudokino Oka Archaeological Museum (Takahata Town, Yamagata Prefecture)
Permanent exhibitions are on display in the divided sections including the remains of the Okitama region, the time capsule of the Jomon period, and the people who built the tumulus. In addition, visitors can see a recreation of life in the Jomon period from the restored dwellings and the Saishitsu lacquered pottery excavated from the Ondashi Ruins. The surrounding area is maintained as a historical park that spans the Jomon period to the Kofun period.
Kannon-sama and stone circles
Niwatuki Kannon (Sakegawa Village, Yamagata Prefecture)
Niwatuki Kannon is famous as the last temple of the 33 Kannons. The stone circle here from the middle of the Jomon period, which was discovered by chance during the construction of the museum, is believed to be a facility related to religion and burial, and it is suspected that this place has been a power spot since ancient times. Every year on August 18th, the best floating Buddhist lantern event in Tohoku take a place.
Enjoy the various hands-on workshops
Jomopia Miyahata (Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture)
The Miyahata Ruins is a national historic site that conveys people's lives over 2,000 years from the mid to the late Jomon. In this park, there are restored pit dwellings and excavated pillar buildings, and in the experiential learning facility, the four seasons, lifestyles, and festivals of the Jomon people who lived in Miyahata are explained using excavated items. Many hands-on workshops are available.
An ancient experience for families
Fukushima Cultural Properties Center Shirakawa Branch Mahoron (Shirakawa City, Fukushima Prefecture)
This is a experience-based field museum whose theme is "the relationship between nature and humans learned from archaeological sites". A large number of earthenware and stone tools excavated from archaeological sites in Fukushima Prefecture are stored and exhibited here. In addition to displaying the lifestyle of the ancients and a full-scale replica house of those times, families can experience techniques such as making Magatama (comma-shaped-bead) and starting a fire.
Bringing together the history of Fukushima
Fukushima Prefectural Museum(Aizuwakamatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture)
A museum that collects cultural assets, tangible and intangible cultural heritage and materials of natural history in Fukushima prefecture, and introduces the history and culture from the Paleolithic era to the present day. In the exhibition room of the Jomon period, replicas of pit dwellings and excavated items showing the "life of Fukushima" at that time are introduced by theme. It's fun to find something in common with your current life.
* The information provided here is effective as of October 2020. Please inquire and confirm details in advance before visiting featured destinations.
* All photos and illustrations are for illustrative purposes only. It may differ from the actual subjects.
* Many tourist facilities and events have been temporarily closed, canceled or postponed due to the effects of COVID-19. The situation changes daily so please be sure to check the organizer's official web sites before visiting.