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Photo By: PIXTA/うげい
Region
Chugoku
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Tottori
Population
613,229

Mukibanda Historical Park

Explore what Japan looked like before it was Japan.

By Laura Payne

Much of Japan’s history is so old that it predates official written records. To learn more about this distant past, we must turn to archeological treasures such as those found at Mukibanda Historical Park in Tottori Prefecture.

Discovered by accident ahead of the construction of a golf course in the 20th century, Mukibanda is one of Japan’s largest excavated settlements from the Yayoi Period (about 300 BCE to 250 CE)—a time long before Japan was a unified country.

The park consists of about 170 hectares, which contain a museum, reconstructed villages, protected forests and viewpoints that show off the Yumigahama Peninsula. By exploring Mukibanda, we can imagine what Japan looked like before it was Japan.

The dawn of Japanese civilization

Mukibanda Historical Park - Museum 2.1

Photo by: Laura Payne A glimpse into the past.

Historical evidence suggests that during the Yayoi Period, the Japanese archipelago was home to agricultural settlements that would go on to become ancient “kingdoms.” Mukibanda is believed to have been a hub of one such kingdom because hundreds of buildings have been excavated here since the site’s discovery.

To help visitors understand what Mukibanda may have looked like over 1,000 years ago, clusters of raised storehouses and homes known as pit dwellings have been reconstructed. Some dwellings have been left unfinished to show off the construction techniques used at the time, while others are completed, offering a glimpse into where people of the ancient Japanese archipelago lived. Original excavation sites have also been preserved to display what archeologists see during digs.

In addition to buildings, Mukibanda is home to tens of burial mounds—some of which are believed to belong to ancient leaders. These can be accessed via hiking trails throughout the park.

Experience ancient life

Photo by: Laura Payne An unfinished pit dwelling.

At Mukibanda’s on-site museum, visitors can immerse themselves even further in the Yayoi Period. Multilingual exhibits explain the significance of this site and display excavated items such as beads, pottery and mirrors—some of which are believed to have been traded to Mukibanda from continental Asia. Meanwhile, interactive exhibits give visitors the chance to do things like try on Yayoi Period clothing and reconstruct fragmented pottery—as an archeologist might do.

At certain times, visitors to Mukibanda also have the chance to join workshops that teach Yayoi Period skills such as fire starting, jewelry making and stone knife crafting. Few other historical sites in Tottori offer experiences such as these, so if your trip’s timing is right, these workshops are not to be missed.

Things To Know

Hours and FEES

The park’s usual opening hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours in July and August (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.). Admission stops 30 minutes before closing time.

The park is usually closed on the fourth Monday of each month, or the day after if Monday is a national holiday. It is also typically closed from December 29 to January 3.

Admission to the park is free. Other workshops may ask for a fee to pay for materials.

Workshops are usually held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends from late April through November. Admission to workshops ends at 3:30 p.m.

How To Get There

Address

By train

From Yonago station, Mukibanda is about a 20 to 30-minute taxi ride. From JR Yodoe station, Mukibanda is about a 5-minute taxi ride (note Yodoe is a small station and does not always have taxis waiting).

By car

Mukibanda is accessible by local roads and highways, and free parking is offered on-site. Rental cars can be found at various places near Yonago station.

Where To Stay

Auberge Florence
  • 1542-142 Tatarado, Saihaku-gun Daisen-cho, Tottori, 689-3317 Japan
  • ¥90,000 - ¥120,000
  • 5.9 km
Sejour Oyama Annex 1st Building
  • 1542-86 Tatarado, Saihaku-gun Daisen-cho, Tottori, 689-3317 Japan
  • ¥46,200 - ¥92,400
  • 6.8 km
Sejour Oyama Annex 3rd Building
  • 312-26 Akamatsu, Saihaku-gun Daisen-cho, Tottori, 689-3319 Japan
  • ¥61,600 - ¥123,200
  • 6.8 km
Kaike Fuga
  • 3-16-1 Kaikeonsen, Yonago-shi, Tottori, 683-0001 Japan
  • ¥9,504 - ¥61,776
  • 4.35/5 (1,479 reviews)
  • 8.0 km
Kaike Onsen Fuyo Bekkan
  • 3-14-10 Kaikeonsen, Yonago-shi, Tottori, 683-0001 Japan
  • ¥6,793 - ¥52,800
  • 4.08/5 (632 reviews)
  • 8.2 km

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