Japan's largest ancient village ruins surrounded by a moat.
The Yayoi period extended from circa 300 BC to 300 AD in Japan: exactly the same period that the Roman Empire was at the height of its power in Europe. The Yoshinogari historical ruins, featuring the ruins of a village dating from around this time, was excavated in 1989. Measuring around 40 hectares, it is Japan’s largest moat-encircled historical settlement. A 117-hectare zone around the ruins has been designated a historical park, featuring magnificent scenery that recreates the ancient forested landscape of the Yayoi period.
What is this “Yamataikoku” that so fascinates the Japanese?
Yoshinogari was first excavated in 1989. All over Japan, people were excited about whether this was the long-awaited discovery of Yamataikoku—a mysterious ancient nation supposed to have existed around the second century AD on the Japanese archipelago, ruled by the legendary Queen Himiko. Its location is still shrouded in mystery. Ultimately, however, no evidence was found that the Yoshinogari ruins was indeed Yamataikoku, but the ruins still hold a romantic allure for the Japanese and they see a ceaseless stream of tourists.
Visit the watchtower overlooking the settlement zone.
The highlight of the Yoshinogari ruins is certainly the group of dwellings. There is a watchtower 12 meters in height that you can climb and look out over the whole village area. The site has plenty of other attractions too, including a realistically recreated warehouse elevated on pillars. At the park’s workshop, visitors can try hands-on experiences of ancient life such as fire-starting or making clay ocarinas and magatama jewelry. No reservations are required. The Yoshinogari ruins were once home to about 1,200 people. Enjoy a leisurely tour here, and feel like you’re slipping back into ancient times.
- 1843 Tade, Yoshinogari-cho, Kanzaki-gun, Saga-ken
- Opening hours
- 9 A.M. – 5 P.M. (closes 6 P.M. between June and August)
- Third Monday & third Tuesday of January
- Admission 310 yen
- Saga Airport is a 90-minute flight from Haneda Airport.
- Saga Station is 30 minutes by limousine bus from Saga Airport.
- Yoshinogari-koen Station is 10 minutes via the JR Nagasaki Main Line from Saga Station.
- The Yoshinogari historical park is a 15-minute walk from Yoshinogari-koen Station.