Within southern Japan is an enchanting and historical village in Saga Prefecture. Located between Fukuoka and Nagasaki prefectures, the area may not be considered as big of a tourist spot, but it has some very unique sites.
These days, the quaint village of Yoshinogari is mostly rural farmland and some small shops. It was, however, home to a large ancient civilization during the Yayoi period, going back over 2,000 years. Though there have been other Yayoi ruins discovered around the country, the site at Yoshinogari is by far biggest. The archaeological site has been painstakingly recreated to show how people lived back then, and its historical significance stretches beyond Japan to the world.
One of the most noteworthy aspects of the village is just how big it is, over 70 hectares in all. It’s a very wide open space, and the exhibits are spaced far apart. Yoshinogari Historical Park is at its core, a park, and meant to be enjoyed leisurely in good weather. Though there are maps around, from the time you walk in, it becomes obvious that there isn’t one set path to explore on.
Exhibits you won’t want to miss include the “Minami Naikaku,” where the rulers of the village are believed to have lived. Unlike most ancient palaces, here you can get up close and personal. Not only can visitors browse items excavated from the ruins at Yoshinogari, but also see complete re-creations of what the buildings would have been back then.
After the digging finished, many relics uncovered left behind. Many of these items, such as beads, knives, and pottery, are priceless in their historical value. Information in most areas of the park is available in English. The staff is also very friendly and helpful. Once you are done looking through the houses, go up to the watchtowers for a breathtaking view of the entire park. It’s also a good way to figure out where to go next.
There are many other meticulously re-created areas illustrating the lifestyle of the Yayoi peoples. See where the villagers kept their food, weapons and where they buried their dead. At the cemetery, you can see video taken during the actual excavation, to see how this giant site came to be.
There are other features on site, such as the Yayoi life museum and a botanical garden. For families, check out the a play area for children that includes a mini-golf course Take a break at the restaurant, and grab the park’s signature souvenir: goods made of Yoshinogari Woven Silk. Despite being a little remote, Yoshinogari Historical Park is definitely the real deal; so be sure to take the time to see all it.
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