Kazuno City, Akita Prefecture

Special historic site

Oyu Stone Circles

Designated as a historic site on July 19, 1956

Time division - Late
Site overview

Site overview

This site featuring stone circles from the early to the middle phases of the Late Jomon period (approx. 2,000 – 1,500 BC) is located on a plateau at an altitude of approximately 180 m on the left bank of the Oyu River (a tributary of the Yoneshiro River) in the upper Yoneshiro River basin of northeastern Akita Prefecture.

The form of the stone circles is thought to be based on the shape of circular settlements that developed with the establishment of the era’s permanent settlements. The site features the two stone circles of Manza and Nonakado, each of which is surrounded by the remains of pillar-supported buildings, pits, storage pits and dumping grounds containing relics arranged concentrically. Along with these remains, clayware and stoneware (including everyday pottery and stone tools), clay figurines, clay tablets, bell-like clay objects, stone rods and stone swords have been excavated.

A large number of tools for worship and celebration have been unearthed around the stone circles, including clay figurines, animal-shaped clay objects and stone rods. These artifacts, which strongly represent the characteristics of monuments, provide material evidence of the period’s social structure and advanced sprit, which developed with the establishment of permanent settlements.

The center of the two circle stones and the sundial-like collection of stones form a line that points toward the sunset on the summer solstice, suggesting that Jomon people were aware of the summer/winter solstice, the vernal equinox and the sun’s movements. These typical Jomon stone circles were constructed in consideration of their positioning and the sun’s movements, and their formation would have been highly labor-intensive and required a strong spirit. These forms are very important in studies of the period’s spiritual culture.

Library *Click to enlarge.

Literature

Basic Information

Display the Oyu Stone Circles
on an enlarged map.

Site Location

Manza, Oyu, Towada, Kazuno, Akita prefecture

Facility Exhibiting Excavated Articles

Oyu Stone Circle Center
Address
Manza 45, Oyu, Towada, Kazuno, Akita prefecture, 018-5421
Tel
0186-37-3822 / +81-18-637-3822
Website
Oyu Stone Circles website
Hours
April 1 – October 31: 9:00 – 18:00
November 1 – March 31: 9:00 – 16:30
Closed
December 29 – January 3 (year-end and New Year holidays)
November – March
Mondays (Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday)
Admission
fee
Adults: 300 yen; children: 100 yen (discounts for groups of 20 or more)
Access
■20 min. by bus for Oyu Onsen from JR Kazuno Hanawa Station on the Hanawa Line
■15 min. by car for Towadako from Towada IC on the Tohoku Jukan Expressway

Inquiries

Kazuno City Municipal Board of Education

Address
Arata 4-1, Hanawa, Kazuno, Akita prefecture, 018-5292
Tel
0186-30-0294 / +81-18-630-0294
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