Sunday, August 19, 2012

Place #7: Yoshinogari "Ruins" 7カ所目:吉野ヶ里遺跡

It was only for a few hours, on our way to Hakata, but we made another stop at the Yoshinogari Remains.  The yoshinogari ruins site dates from the Yayoi period that lasted from the 3rd century BC to 3rd century AD. It is one of the largest archaeological remains in Japan, where more than 2000 tombs with coffins, storehouses, and watchtowers etc were found. Yayoi period were one of the first periods I learned about in history class in the Japanese school, and the possibility to see parts of it really made me excited.


What we didn't know was a major- I had quickly and wrongly assumed that the visitors could see these artifacts and remains... but in reality, it was a park with recreated houses/storehouses, with very limited display of ACTUAL artifacts. When we entered the historical park, people were dressed up in clothing from then, and had different storehouses/houses/watchtowers set up with dolls and explanations to daily life in the Yayoi period... I kept thinking that it was odd, and when I asked whether the structures were real, one of the staff blurted out the really really disappointing answer: "Nope, nothing is real....". Thankfully, the sentence finished with "...except for the tombs". 

We went to see the tombs and the remains of pot coffins which were displayed as they were found. It threw the disappointment out of the window, and the great feeling and excitement of imagining and traveling back time filled my whole body. The people from the yayoi period used pottery to put the dead into- it looked like two huge pottery vases. They put the person in one, they put the other one as a lid. Then, it is thought that they had spiritual ceremonies. It was incredible to see the technology that existed already in 3rd century BC, and how much people cared to take care and honor the dead. Some wonderful things about humanity must be innate.


After seeing the villages, the houses and the lifestyle of Yayoi, we had to take the train to our last stop in Kyushu, Hakata. With our heart and soul filled with Yayoi-sm, I got this lovely photo of Sara- as a Yayoi person dancing. I hope it makes everyone smile just like it does for me!


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