As I mentioned before, one of the things that Ms Buddha and I enjoy when visiting places is to look at their culture and also history, given that these places also have the added benefit of not being overly appealing to the typical Asian tourist (who places buying goods over exploration), these experiences also offers some genuine respite from the hustle and bustle that we experience in Hong Kong.
Ms Buddha and I both enjoy having a good walk as well so we managed to plan our journey to visit the Yoshinogari Historical Park as a stop on our way from Nagasaki to Beppu. The park offers a little insight into the lives of people who existed during the Yayoi period, which was during 300BC to about 300 AD and also part of the Japan Iron Age period.
Once you arrive, you’ll see a very impressive building where the ticket center is, entry fee is a reasonable 400 yen (~30HKD) per person.
Next to the ticket office, we spotted the mascot Yayoi lady, so obviously took the opportunity to have a photo (they take good care of this because when we came out, we noticed that they wheel her away from the sun).
I know I say this a lot, but Japanese people really do take pride in their hospitality and also country, they make the extra effort all the time to make sure visitors sees what their store has to offer, and that mentality extends across all the staff. We were walking towards the park entrance and bumped into one of the older staff, he said hi and then asked us where we were from in Japanese and I responded Australia and Hong Kong – I also told him in Japanese that I didn’t understand Japanese (“nihongo ga wakarimasen”) but even then he continued to explain everything to me about the surrounding.
We bumped into him again about 2 mins later at the gate where the Yayoi tribes would build their defenses and he again explained the defense and the dig sights in Japanese. I knew what he was speaking because there was QR codes available for English audio guides.
The park itself is enormous, and if you’re in for a long walk, the map shows a way you can explore pretty much everything the park has to offer. We continued along the path until we found an oddly modern building which housed more artifacts.
Apparently, this building is also a safe haven for when the weather turns bad and the area is exposed to lightening (which apparently happens a lot!). We entered anyway and it turns out that the place showed small artifacts and also is home to the restoration room for all the items they’ve been able to excavate.
After learning a bit more about their old culture, and explaining to Ms Buddha how the fire starter would work with my limited scouts knowledge, we moved on and spotted some of the Yayoi dwelling in a distance.
According to the information, the clans live in these huts and each family would be responsible for specific tasks, one family would be the clothes makers while others will be the tool makers etc.
When you get close to the dwelling however, it would strike you as odd that the doorways are so low.
I had a bad back that day, but inside these dwellings, the roofing was actually quite high (so not quite sure why the door is so small) – and inside it reflects a typical traditional hut, some had some mock up of the food storage area as well.
We continued walking for a while longer and it was really enjoyable in the fact that the park was quite empty that day (most likely because it’s a weekday) and although there was the cultural area, a large portion of the park was also great for just some peaceful scenery.
Because it was so quiet, it was also great for panoramic shots!
There’s also a section for recreation, where there are massive bouncy balls and games to be played, these are mainly catered for children and families, but Ms Buddha had a go at the massive gym ball and I managed to accidentally tip her over the ball. Overall the park is pretty big!
We made our way to the forest area, but unfortunately the area was closed, although there was another building that showed a bit more about their the Yayoi lifestyle and also some of the restored items.
Since that the forest was closed for the day, we made our way back to the last area – it’s actually a decent walk as well since that the park was so big, all in all, I think we walked for about 2-3 hrs, with some stop in between to listen and learn. Eventually we saw the centerpiece of the park which was the priest’s ceremony building/church.
Inside, there were displays and plaques talking about how the Yayoi people will conduct their ceremonies and how much power the priest had, the priest was normally a female as well.
As we left, I spotted some hogs that were made from straws, at first I thought there were only the 3, but then Ms Buddha made me aware of the fact that they were everywhere…oh well.
If you’re looking for something a bit different from the typical overseas tourist experience, the Yoshinogari Historical Park is worth considering, especially if you want to enjoy a bit of nature as the surrounding and air was very fresh and relaxing.