Toyako Town, Hokkaido

Historic site

Irie–Takasago Shell Midden

Designated as a historic site on May 13, 1988

Time division - Early-Final
Full view of the site

Full view of the site

This settlement site overlooking Funka Bay is located on a plateau at an altitude of 10 to 20 m in the Irie area of Toyako Town and Takasago Town in southwestern Hokkaido, and consists of shell middens formed from the final phase of the Early Jomon period to the middle phase of the Final Jomon period (approx. 3,500–800 BC).

Shell middens present a real picture of the long period of settlement and adaptation to environmental changes. Their repetitive use as a burial ground also indicates that they were regarded as sacred. The site is made up of shell middens, remains of pit dwellings and pit graves, etc. In addition to shells, the bones of marine animals and fish were discovered in the shell middens, showing the characteristics of the region, where a fishing culture, including harpoon and rod fishing, developed. The remains of pit dwellings from the Early to Late Jomon period have been discovered mainly in the Irie Shell Midden.

Remains discovered in the Irie Shell Midden include human bones of 15 bodies, including four bodies from the end of the Early Jomon period, four bodies from the Middle period and seven bodies from the early phase of the Late period. In the Takasago Shell Midden, one pit grave from the early phase of the Late Jomon period and 28 such graves from the middle of the Final period have been discovered. These excavated remains reveal the existence of a large grave site and present important evidence of the living conditions that adapted to changes in the environment over a long period of time. In addition, boar tusk products, shell bracelets made of otsutanohagai (Patella optima) and other items that are not indigenous to Hokkaido have been discovered, indicating active exchanges with other areas.

Library *Click to enlarge.

Literature

Basic Information

Display the Irie–Takasago
on an enlarged map.

Site Location

Irie, Toyako-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido

Facility Exhibiting Excavated Articles

Irie–Takasago Shell Midden Center
Address
Takasago-cho 44, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, 049-5605
Tel
0142-76-5802 / +81-14-276-5802
Website
Irie–Takasago Shell Midden–A Historic Site in Toyako Town
Hours
9:00–17:00
Closed
Mondays
Following day after national holidays
Admission
fee
[Individuals] Adults: 150 yen; elementary, junior high and high school students: 100 yen
[Groups of 15 or more] Adults: 100 yen; elementary, junior high and high school students: 50 yen
Access
■~15 min. on foot from JR Toyako Station (Muroran Line)
■~10 min. by car from Abuta-Toyako IC on the Hokkaido Expressway

Inquiries

Social Education Department, Toyako Town Board of Education

Address
Sakae-cho 58, Toyako-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, 049-5692
Tel
0142-74-3010 / +81-14-274-3010
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