From Jcastle.info



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.

Visit 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.


Castle Profile
English Name Yoshinogari
Japanese Name 吉野ヶ里
Year Founded Yayoi Period (300 B.C. - 300 A.D.)
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Top 100 Castles, National Historic Site, Special Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Wooden reconstructions of guard towers, town and palace buildings.
Features turrets, trenches
Visitor Information
Access Kanzaki or Yoshinogari Koen Stations (Nagasaki Line), 15 min walk
Visitor Information 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+
Website http://www.yoshinogari.jp/en/contents2/
Location Yoshinogari, Saga Prefecture
Coordinates 33° 19' 27.26" N, 130° 23' 24.36" E
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Added to Jcastle 2013
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

(10 votes)
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19 months ago
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Yoshinogari Historical Park is a reconstructed Yayoi Period fortified settlement. Reaching its apex in the 4th century, this vast settlement, protected by moats, rammed earth ramparts, palings and stakes driven into the ground, has been extensively restored based on the findings of archaelogical excavations.

The settlement is divided into six main areas:

1. 南内郭 Southern Inner Fort The Minami-Naikaku area dominates the settlement from its center, being its administrative hub and containing the residences of various members of the elite of Yayoi society. 2. 倉と市 Stores and Market The warestores and market are the commercial hub of the settlement. It is heavily fortified and contains barracks and a turret. The soldiers watched over the market and commodities. Traders would present tribute in order to do business at the settlement. The town's stockpiled resources were kept behind yet another paling and moat system, featuring stores for pig iron, iron ingots, unpolished rice, weapons and tribute earmarked for overseas. 3. 中村 Middle Village Townspeople with business in the Kita-Naikaku lived here. Brewing, weaving and sericulture also took place here. 4. 北内郭 Northern Inner Fort Kita-Naikaku is the religious center of Yoshinogari. A priestly class lived here and performed mysterious rites. It is compact, heavily defended, and features the largest and most sacred structure at the settlement. 5. 南村 Southern Village The homesteads of three families have been restored here. Each family had their own responsibilities, such as guard duty or the production of particular goods. Land is cultivated both within and beyond the town walls. The "North Family" produced hemp cloth and silk, the "Middle Family" produced iron tools, and the "South Family" helped with religious ceremonies. In addition to these roles all families in the Southern Village also worked the land. 6. 墳丘墓と甕棺墓列 Grave Sites

The people of Yoshinogari were buried in large jars sealed together called Kamekan. The Kamekan were interred and then covered with a small mound. The largest burial mound is located to the north of Kita-Naikaku and was the resting place of the Kings of Yoshinogari. Essentially a small hill, the Funkyūbo is joined with a large pillar in which Yoshinogari's protecting ancestors reside. In later times this was a the center of ancestor worship rather than merely a grave marker.


56 months ago
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Bloody brilliant. This is perhaps one of the largest reconstruction efforts in the country. I recommend spending the whole day here.


102 months ago
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Visited 25 March 2015 (https://with...-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"


135 months ago
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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.


135 months ago
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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.


136 months ago
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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.