Hokuto Archaeological Museum

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Hokuto Archaeological Museum is surrounded by local history, being situated near the ruins of Yato Castle. That fortress is believed to have been built in the twelfth century, but the museum’s collection stretches back much further through history. Covering items found in what is now the city of Hokuto, the collection extends from Japan’s Paleolithic period (beginning around 40,000 BCE) to the Warring States period (1467-1568). This includes the Jomon period, a part of Japanese prehistory that took place between circa 14,000 BCE and circa 300 BCE.

The earliest pottery in Japan is believed to date from the Jomon period and the museum has an extensive collection of artifacts from that time, including ceramic statues, figures, and pots. Most of the items on display come from two significant finds at the nearby Kinsei ruins, excavated in 1980, and the more recently discovered Umenoki ruins, both sites of Jomon settlements and burial grounds.

The pottery from both sites is uniquely detailed, often decorated with faces or animals, in contrast to pottery of the same period from other parts of the country. A highlight of the museum’s collection is an unbroken Jomon-period urn with carvings depicting childbirth that was found at another site. The exhibits also include a range of cooking equipment, as the Jomon period marked the beginning of basic food preparation and storage in Japan. Analysis of the clay tools suggests that the local diet consisted mainly of plants rather than meat or seafood.

There is also a collection of everyday items such as hair brushes and stone tools, along with decorative jewelry including earrings and hair clips. A model shows a possible reconstruction of the Kinsei ruins as the site would have looked in the Jomon period. Featuring a captivating variety of exhibits, the museum gives unique insight into the way local people lived thousands of years ago.


Venue Address

409-1502 2414 Oizumicho Yato, Hokuto-shi

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