Time Travel to the Jomon Period of Japanese History

Learning about history has become a lot more interesting to me since needing to teach it to my kids in our homeschool.  Actually, more than me teaching my kids it’s a lot more like us learning together.  This year we are taking a tour of world history through Sonlight Curriculum’s “Core W” course.  One of the textbooks we are using is 12,000 Years of World History, a fascinating Internet-linked book filled with tons of detailed hand-drawn pictures and oodles of interesting facts about ancient times through the 21st century.  We particularly love getting online after reading in our book and finding videos that give us more insight into the period and cultures we have been learning about.  For example, after reading about the China’s Qin Dynasty, we went to History.com and YouTube to find videos about how the Great Wall of China was built and to watch a short documentary on the Terracotta Soldiers in Xian.  

Recently we have been learning about Japan’s Jomon period, which took place between 10,500 BC and 300 BC.  We enjoyed watching some videos about life and art during that period of history, but since we live here we decided to also get hands on and go visit a local historical ruin from that time period that happens to be only about 20 minutes from our house.  

So, today after we had finished up our other subjects for the day, we hopped into the car and let Google Maps guide us to Utsunomiya’s Historical Ruins Park (宇都宮遺跡広場).

This historical site was accidentally discovered by a construction survey crew and unearthed between 1982-1987.  The archaeologists involved in the project found the remains of a 5000 – 6000 year old village with special burial sites in the middle of the village.  When we visited today we were able to browse through a small museum of artifacts (such as pottery and stone tools) from the Jomon period.  We also walked around outside to see reconstructions of thatched-roof buildings that once stood there and and places where ancient people had buried their dead.  We even got to go inside a couple of the buildings.  It definitely felt like we were walking back in time.  

Here are some photos from our visit:

Outside the Visitors Center

The park had a raised platform we could climb on top of to get a good view of the overall site.

Reconstruction of an ancient long house. This one was open for us to go inside.

Inside the Longhouse

This is what the entrance to an ancient burial chamber looked like.

Inside the mini museum.

Pottery artifacts

This sweet elderly gentleman works as grounds keeper at the museum and took our picture for us. He wasn’t a seasoned iPhone user so he accidentally took this picture of himself. He told us lots of interesting information about the buildings and time period.

Trying to look “Jomonian” (without much success!)

And a final picture of us just looking cute! 😁


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