Jomon Jiyukan and Sannai-Maruyama Site [三内丸山遺跡]
The Sannai-Maruyama site features the remains of one of Japans largest communities of the Jomon Period. Findings date back to 5.500 to 4.000 years ago. The museum exhibits appropriately 1.700 artifacts.In my opinion even more worth seeing is the reconstructed village where a lot of different authentic buildings and more can be seen.
When I arrived at the Jomon Jiyukan I decided to ignore the Information Desk in the entrance hall and directly go to the site. Otherwise I might have known that you could get a tablet there for free, giving information about the different buildings and findings. Some information can also be found on various signs placed around the site. While I was reading the second one of these signs I was found by a tour-guide. She invited me to come along (I think), even though I had told her I hardly spoke any Japanese and she couldn’t speak English either. Still the tour was quite interesting, leading inside buildings I might not have entered otherwise and covering the whole village. Plus I can proudly say, that I understood at least some of what the guide explained to us.
Afterwards the guide tried to have a conversation with me, which didn’t go too well, because I understand Japanese still much better than I can speak it. She than invited me to have a look at the museum as well, which I did. Leaving the first room, containing a lot of interesting findings and some descriptions in English, I was found again by yet another guide. He turned out to be quite fluent in English, told me a lot of interesting things and answered some of my questions. As I learned, the people of the Jomon Period lived a life of peace. There was no war or fighting with other tribes for centuries. Modern people could learn a good deal from them!
The guide also invited me to join his tour. Why not, I thought to myself. I liked the place and the rain was not too bad. This time I also got a tablet. Even though a little buggy, it was very informative.
Since I was the only Gaijin in the group, the tour was again mainly in Japanese, but the tour-guide explained some things in English just for me as well. I enjoyed my second tour a lot and got along great with my guide.
So if you happen to be in Aomori and have some interest in history, I highly recommend a visit at the Jomon Jiyukan and Sannai-Maruyama site. You might save some time though by not ignoring the Information Desk at the entrance.