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Japan’s latest World Cultural Heritage Site

Jomon prehistoric archaeological sites in northern Japan

Added in July 2021 as Japan's 20th UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, the "Jomon Archaeological Sites in Hokkaido and Northern Tohoku" are a collection of sites in northern Japan related to the Jomon Period. This prehistoric period of Japanese history began around the end of the last ice age about 15,000 years ago and lasted until the year 300 before the rice culture imported from the mainland fully took roots on the Japanese archipelago.

The people of the Jomon Period were mainly gatherers, fishers and hunters, but also established considerably sized settlements. The period is named after the patterns found on the contemporary pottery, made by impressing a cord onto the vessel.

The World Heritage listing consists of 17 different sites spread across southern Hokkaido and the prefectures of Aomori, Akita and Iwate in the northern Tohoku Region. They include the sites of former settlements, often with reconstructed dwellings and other structures, stone circles, cemetery sites, shell middens and other dumping grounds. Many of the sites have an adjacent museum that exhibits locally excavated findings, such as pottery, figurines, arrowheads, jewelry and lacquerware.

The 17 sites vary from attractive parks with excellent museums to less developed excavation sites that are difficult to appreciate by non-archaeologists. Below we list the sites that we believe to be of most interest to ordinary tourists:

Sannai Maruyama Site

See the Sannai Maruyama page for admission and access details

Goshono Site

10 minute bus ride from Ichinohe Station
Open: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Closed: Mondays (or next day if holiday), days after national holidays
Admission: 300 yen

Korekawa Site

15 minute taxi ride from Hachinohe Station
Open: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Closed: Mondays (or next day if holiday), days after national holidays
Admission: 250 yen

Ofune and Kakinoshima Sites

One hour by car from central Hakodate
Open: 9:00 to 17:00 (until 16:30 from November to March)
Closed: Mondays (or next day if national holiday), last Friday of each month
Admission: 300 yen

Oyu Stone Circles

35 minute bus ride from Kazuno Hanawa Station
Open: 9:00 to 18:00 (until 16:00 from November to March)
Closed: Mondays from Nov to Mar (or next day if national holiday)
Admission: 320 yen

Kitakogane Site

30 minute walk from Kogane Station
Open: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: December to March
Admission: Free