11 Kitaakita City, Akita
Isedotai Stone Circles
Designated as a Historic Site on January 29, 2001
Stage IIIa (ca. 2,000 BCE – 1,700 BCE) (Historic Site: ca.2,000 BCE – 1,700 BCE)
This site is located in Kitaakita City in northern Akita Prefecture, on a river terrace at an elevation of 42 to 45 meters between two rivers in the Yoneshiro River basin. It sits close to rivers where salmon and trout migrate upstream and can be caught as food sources. Deciduous broadleaved forests spread in the hinterland.
The site mainly consists of four stone circles and has also yielded stone arrangements, pillar-supported buildings, pit graves, storage pits, and the remains of a ditch. The terrace’s edge, where stone circles are concentrated, commands a sweeping view of distant mountains, including the world natural heritage Shirakami-Sanchi Range.
Each of the stone circles measures more than 30 meters in diameter, with the largest one measuring 45 meters in diameter. Nowhere else in Japan have so many stone circles been found so close together. From the area adjacent to the stone circles, large numbers of ritual tools have been unearthed, including clay figurines, animal- and bell-shaped clay objects, stone plates, three-pronged stone tools, and stone swords.
Below the stone circles are pit graves where the deceased were buried, suggesting that the stone circles were not only a cemetery, but also a ritual and ceremonial space.
This component part, dating from the first half of the maturation stage of sedentism, is a ritual archaeological site centering on four stone circles. It is an important archaeological site that attests to a livelihood and rituals and ceremonies in an inland area.
- Isedotai, Wakigami, Kitaakita, Akita Prefecture
Adjacent to the Isedotai Jomon Museum
- Site guides
Volunteer guides (free, in Japanese, for at least 30 min.)
- Weekdays, weekends and national holidays, and group of 10+: Reservations are required 14 days in advance.
Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (last admission: 16:00)
The property is open to the public only when the Isedotai Jomon Museum is open.
The property is closed in winter from November to late April.
- Isedotai Jomon Museum
- Ogatanakata 100-1, Wakigami, Kitaakita, Akita Prefecture, 018-3454
- 0186-84-8710 / +81-186-84-8710
- 0186-84-8715 / +81-186-84-8715
- 9:00 – 17:00 (last admission: 16:30)
Mondays (or Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday)
Year-end and New Year's holidays (December 29 – January 3)
- Facility guides
Volunteer guides (free, in Japanese, for 20 min.)
- Weekends and national holidays: Reservations are required 14 days in advance.
- Group of 10+ on weekdays: Reservations are required 14 days in advance.
From Jomon-Ogata Station (Akita Nairiku Jukan Tetsudo Railway):
- Approx. 5 min. on foot
From Takanosu Station (JR Ou Main Line):
- Approx. 15 min. by car
From Odate-Noshiro Airport:
- Approx. 5 min. by car
From Isedotai IC (Akita Expressway):
- Approx. 5 min. by car
Isedo-kun, the mascot of the Isedotai Stone Circles, was inspired by a flat clay figurine unearthed at the site.
Lifelong Learning Department, Kitaakita City Board of Education
Kitaakita Citizens Fureai Plaza, Hanazono-cho 10-5, Kitaakita, Akita Prefecture, 018-3312
TEL： 0186-62-6618 / +81-186-62-6618 ／ FAX：0186-62-1669 / +81-186-62-1669
[leaflet in Japanese, April 2016]
[leaflet in English and Japanese, April 2020]