The park - Mawaki Archaeological Museum 真脇遺跡縄文館
Welcome to the Jomon era
On the Noto Peninsula, in Ishikawa Prefecture, the Mawaki Archaeological Park Museum is a vast complex offering reconstruction of remains from the Jomon period, a museum, an experimental village, and even a hotel with an onsen!
It was a fishing village...
In 1982, in the Mawaki area, facing Toyama Bay, archaeological excavations carried out as part of irrigation works brought to light precious remains from the Jômon period. The vast area of the site and the rarity of the artifacts discovered make the site of Mawaki one of the largest archaeological sites of the Jomon period in the archipelago.
Successive excavations; a dozen in total, show that the place was occupied throughout the Jomon period (from 12000 BC to 400 BC).
The excavated structures and furniture are surprisingly well preserved: wooden objects, ceramics, bones, jewelry, masks, dogus (terracotta figurines)… Among these objects, the archaeologists unearthed a good number of dolphin bones; conclusive evidence that it was a fishing village. Other remains; mammal bones (boar, deer, rabbit) and plant seeds provide valuable information on the eating habits of local inhabitants and the environment of Mawaki more than 14,000 years ago.
The wealth and rarity of the finds led the Japanese authorities to classify the area as a national historic site in 1989.
All the excavations carried out since 1982 have revealed extraordinary remains.
Thus, the 1983 excavation campaign made it possible to appreciate a residential area from the Jomon period thanks to the discovery of three residence buildings; typical houses with a clay floors to protect against humidity.
The greatest specificity of the Mawaki site is undoubtedly its sacred monument composed of a set of large wooden pillars arranged in a circle. Curved in shape, these sturdy pillars made of chestnut wood are several meters high. The circle, 7 meters in diameter, is a religious installation from the Jomon period. There are about twenty of them throughout the archipelago. Studies by archaeologists have also shown that this structure was rebuilt six times in the same place.
A holy place for the Jomon people, this circle may have been used during religious ceremonies. In 2000, archaeologists spotted a burial area. The orientation at the four cardinal points of the four graves and the jewels found among the bones testify to the high social rank of the deceased.
Much more than an archaeological site
Several reconstructions punctuate the visit to the archaeological park; all accompanied by photographs of the excavations and the explanations necessary for understanding the site.
As for the unearthed furniture, it can be discovered in the museum adjoining the park. And this one is important! A total of 219 artifacts were classified as nationally important cultural assets in 1991. Among the exceptional pieces, mention should be made of a particularly expressive fragment of a clay and clay mask and the "fish-pottery", a ceramic which as its name suggests, bears elements depicting the animal.
For all those who wish to deepen their knowledge of the Jômon culture, it is possible to participate in educational workshops on crafts, cooking, construction, and agriculture. The workshops take place in the experimental village which opened its doors to the public in 2004.
The most passionate can extend the visit by spending a night at the park-museum hotel which has an onsen; a significant piece of equipment to relax at the end of the day!
Address, timetable & access
TimetableFrom Kanazawa Station, take the bus bound for Noto Satoyama Airport and get off at Jomonmawakionsenguchi stop (50 min) then walk 5 min.
PriceAdult: 300 yen. Child: 150 yen.
AccessOpen from 9 am to 5 pm. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.