About 7 kilometers from Monbetsu on the Omusaro Plateau in Hokkaido, are the remains of pit dwellings. These remains spread over a hill between Shokotsu River and Omusaro Pond near the town of Okoppe. There are 208 pit dwellings of early native peoples extending for about 1km in this area.
These remains probably belong to the early Jomon period of about 10,000 years ago. There are also remains belonging to the later Satsumon period that feature the unique Okhotsk culture of the Ainu people of Hokkaido. These pit dwellings show us the life of these peoples over a period of 10,000 years.
Today, the remains are part of a park on the plateau, and there is a great view from the top. There has been some restoration of the pit dwellings, and of high-floored warehouses which give a feeling of life in the Satsumon period 1,000 years ago. Plants favored by the Ainu people, such as 'oubayuri', 'ezoengosaku' and 'gyojaninniku' have been planted in the area.
Tsugaru-Fukushima Castle was the biggest castle in the Tohoku region until modern times. It had a 650,000-square-meter outer ward and a 40,000-square-meter inner ward.
Within the site there is evidence of pit dwellings, outer and inner moats, mounds as well as gate and wall pillars that date to ancient or medieval times.
The castle was the base of the Ando family, which controlled the port of Jusan. Excavation in 1992 revealed that the castle was a full-dress castle with solid mounds and large moats. Moreover, despite an accepted theory, no medieval relic was found predating the 11th century. So, it is likely that Fukushima Castle was built in the 11th century and the inner ward was where soldiers were assembled and some rituals were held.
The remains of Miharu Castle stand on Mt Ooshida near the town of Miharu in Tamura-gun, Fukushima Prefecture. The castle was established by Lord Yoshiaki Tamura of the Tamura clan and constructed from the Kamakura period to the Nanboku-chou period.
The Tamura clan eventually became one of the servant clans to a larger more powerful clan, but in 1590, after the Ouu-shioki, they changed to serve the Masamune Date and moved to Sendai. Soon after, the castle became the property of clan lords such as Ujisato Gamou, Kagekatsu Uesugi and Yoshiaki Katou.
In 1645, Toshitsue Akita became the castle lord for 10 thousand cubic meters of rice, and the Akita clan ruled until the Meiji Restoration. The castle was abandoned in the 4th year of the Meiji period (1871) due to the abolition of the domain system.
Today, the castle site is famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms. Many public institutions stand near the castle remains, and the area functions as a center of the town of Miharu. Miharu Castle reveals the sorrows and weaknesses of those who were pawns in the inevitable flow of history.
The Matsuyama Castle of Yamagata once stood in Shinyashiki, Sakata, in Yamagata Prefecture, and was built on the flat lands at the western foot of the Dewa Highlands. It was built mainly to be used as a fortress during the second half of the Edo period.
In 1647, Tadatsune, third son of the Sakai family, parceled out about 3607.8 m3 of the mountain, and made a mansion for his family to live in. In 1779, the accomplishments of Tadayoshi the Third as a wakadoshiyori (assistant) were acknowledged and he was granted 901.95m3 of land and permission to build a castle. Tadayoshi started to build the castle in 1781, and completed it 7 years later as Matsuyama Castle.
Later on, during the Boshin war, the Sakai family joined forces with the Bakugun (troops who supported the revival of the abolished shogunate), but in 1867, they were forced to surrender and give up the castle, which consequently fell into disuse.
Currently, the site remains have become known as Matsuyama Historic Park. Parts of the castle remain around the park, such as the otemon gate called the Tamonzakura, which is a prefectural designated cultural asset. The Matsuyama Castle in Yamagata is a relatively modern castle that sheds light on the culture of the Edo period.
The remains of Okazaki Castle are in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture.
In the 15th century, the lord of Okusa Castle, Saigo Yoritsugu, built Okazaki Castle as defence against the Matsudaira Clan, who were heading south.
Then, in 1524, Matsudaira Kiyoyasu, the grandfather of Tokugawa Ieyasu, was given the castle and he moved it to its present place. Ieyasu was born at this castle and made it his base when he founded the Edo government.
In the Meiji period, Okazaki Castle was destroyed but in Meiji 34, it was restored as a symbol of Okazaki at the request of the locals.
The name of Okazaki Castle is now Okazaki Park and in spring, 2500 cherry trees blossom. The site has been chosen as one of Japan's top 100 places to see cherry blossom.
On the site, there are the remains of the Heian period Okazaki Castle, which was built by Okazaki Shiro. There is also the Muryoji-temple at the place of the donjon.
Officially designated as an historical site, Kawabe Takamori Ruins consist of 6 large keyhole-shaped tomb mounds, surrounded by 120 graves. All of them have a large keyhole-shaped tomb mound facing different directions.
The ruins have lost their shapes over time due to the increase of surrounding paddy fields. However, this is the only place which has several ruins concentrated in Oita Prefecture. Even in Kyushu, these ruins comprise the the second largest burial site after the Saitobaru Ruins (320 graves) in Miyazaki Prefecture.
The Tsurumi Ruins were the last tombs to be made for the headman of Usa area in the mid-6th century. Furthermore, they are an important historical record of the burial system during the late Kofun period.
Old Daijoin Garden consists of the traces of a garden at Daijoin Temple in Nara Prefecture.
In the first year of the Kanji period (1087), Daijoin was built as a Monzeki temple of Kofukuji, one of the seven major Nanto temples. In the fourth year of the Jisho period (1180), it was burnt down during the attack on Nara by Taira-no-Shigehira. It was subsequently renovated at its present place. In the third year of the Hotoku period (1451), it was burnt down again, but Jinson, a monk of Daijoin, rebuilt it and it was Zeami who made a garden at that time.
Daijoin Garden remained as the best garden in Nanto until the end of the Edo period. In the Meiji period, because of the government's oppression of Buddhism, it disappeared. In 1909, the site was reused as part of the Nara Hotel.
Now, the garden is being renovated and you can see some parts of it at the Daijoin Garden Museum, to the south of the garden.
Ishibutai Tumulus is located in the village of Asuka in Nara Prefecture. The tumulus is made of 30 big stones.
Ishibutai Tumulus was built in the 6th century and is one of the biggest of its kind in Japan. It's about 7.7m long, 3.5m wide and 4.7m tall. The passage inside the tumulus is about 11m long and 2.5m wide. The weight of all the stones is 77 tons!
It is believed that the tumulus was the grave of Soga-no-Umako. According to one theory, the mound was tiered because of people's anger toward the Soga clan.
In 1933 and 1935, Kosaku Hamada (from Kyoto University) and his colleagues carried out excavation and research here. But, most of the mortuary goods had already been stolen and only some pieces of stone coffins were found.
Ishibutai Tumulus has been loved by many people as a sightseeing symbol of the Asuka region. During daytime, the tumulus is open to the public and you are allowed to enter under the stones.