Yoshinogari 吉野ヶ里

Picture Donated by Malcolm F.
Founder
Year Yayoi Period (300 B.C. - 300 A.D.)
Type Flatland
Condition Other Buildings
Structure Wooden reconstructions of guard towers, town and palace buildings.
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Historical Site Special Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles
Location Yoshinogari, Saga Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Kanzaki or Yoshinogari Koen Stations (Nagasaki Line), 15 min walk
Website Yoshinogari Historical Park
Visitor Info. January 1 - May 31 9:00 ~ 17:00; June 1 - August 31 9:00 ~ 18:00; September 1 - December 30 9:00 ~ 17:00 Adult (15 and up) 400yen | Time Required: 3 hrs+
Notes Visited in 2011. Getting there: It is a 15 minute walk from either JR Kanzaki Station or JR Yoshinogari Koen Station. I went via the first and returned in the second. The site is 117 hectares (about 63 you walk through). So expect a bit of walking. And don't miss the entrance to get inside the burial mound and see the burial pots in situ, you can only see it from one side and may think there is nothing more to see past the buildings.

The profile was written in part by AllenK. The photos are a combination of photos contributed by AllenK and MalcolmF.

History The Yoshinogari settlement is one of the earliest fortification types found in Japan. As populations began to swell and people fought for resources and arable land, they also began to fortify their villages with moats. Artifacts found at the Yoshinogari site can be dated to various times in the Yayoi Period showing that it flourished throughout. Yoshinogari is particularly important because of it's incredibly vast size. It's size and location have led some researchers to theorize that it was the capital of the Yamatai country as noted in some ancient Chinese texts, but there is no proof linking them together. It was long known that some important relics could be found in this area but serious excavations did not begin until 1986.

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  • DiegoDeManila    January 24, 2016 at 07:28 PM
    Visited 25 March 2015 (https://withinstrikingdistance.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/field-report-yoshinogari-historical-park-japan-25-march-2015/). It's one thing to view static museum displays or read through peer-reviewed articles - another thing entirely to have an entire Yayoi-era settlement reconstructed with buildings you can enter and streets you can walk upon. The quality of the reconstructions is very high, even if one entertains the occasional shred of doubt over some of the interpretations taken (there's only so much that one can glean from excavated post holes and old Chinese annals). "Just" 4.5 stars for the same reason furinkazan gave (i.e., not quite a castle), but seriously one of the best fortress/castle-like historic sites I've seen anywhere.
  • RaymondW    April 21, 2013 at 08:33 AM
    It was raining quite heavily when I visited Yoshinogari over a year ago. They have done some wonderful work in reconstructing a lot of the buildings based on their archaeological survey. Like Furinkazan, I was surprised at seeing the moats on the inner side of the palisades. I have no idea why they are reversed, but in some illustrations that I have seen in some Japanese books, it seems that the defenders stood back a little from the moats and palisade, and they fired arrows and threw spears at the attackers as they tried to scale over the palisade.
  • furinkazan    April 17, 2013 at 08:05 PM
    During my journey to and from Nagasaki, i read the book i received at Yoshinogari. There is no explanation for the strange fence/moat configuration. The reading was nevertheless interesting. There was an industrial park planned on the spot of Yoshinogari. But some professors and officials saved the site. If all go well another part of the site will open for the public in june of this year.
  • furinkazan on My Page    April 14, 2013 at 06:14 PM
    I 'only' give 4.5 stars, because it's not really a castle. I arrived late at the site (3:15pm, it closes at 5pm from apr 1-may 31 and sep 1-mar 31, it closes at 6pm from jun 1-aug 31). I had to walk fast because it's so vast. I eventually managed to see the whole site. It is a very impressive site and the explanations are interesting. When i arrived the rain began to fall and i took refuge in the exhibition room. I recommend to visit this room. Inside are some artifacts and at the information desk i received an english 29pages book about the site. Since it was still raining when i decided to exit this building, the staff kindly gave me an umbrella. They told me that the nihon 100 meijo stamp was at the east-entrance (i actually forgot to ask it when i bought my ticket). I don't know if there is a stamp at the west-entrance. I was actually lucky because the rain stopped during the rest of my visit. At the southern enclosure i met an english speaking guide who gave me nice information, but she couldn't tell me why the palissade is on the outer side of the moat(very strange) She could tell me that during the excavations they have found some stakes on the outer side, but why this was so.....??? Perhaps there is an explanation in the book i received. If this had been a castle, i would've given it 5 stars. This site is really a must-go, but plan well, because you'll need time to visit it.
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