Harunotsuji Archeological SiteIki
The archeological site of Harunotsuji in Fukaetabaru lies on the second largest plain in Nagasaki Prefecture. It is one of Japan’s best examples of a Yayoi-period moated settlement, a type of settlement that flourished from the Yayoi period to the early Kofun period (about 2,200 to 1,650 years ago), and has been designated as a national Special Historical Site. Iki Island appears as Ikikoku (Iki Province) in the Chinese historical text, Records of the Three Kingdoms, specifically, the Gishi Wajinden, or Account of the Wa People As Recorded in the Books of the Kingdom of Gi. The island played an important role as a prominent center of trade in the Yayoi period.
Artifacts excavated from Harunotsuji Archeological Site in Nagasaki PrefectureIki
More than 100,000 articles have been excavated from the Harunotsuji Archeological Site, 1,670 of which have been designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan. Japan’s oldest glass beads, brought to ancient Iki Province from over the seas, bronze parts that would have been attached to a horse-drawn carriage, a bronze weight for use on a steelyard balance, Japan’s only stone face statue, earthenware vessels made on the Chinese mainland and the Korean peninsula, and bronze coins used there – these are just some of the many artifacts that have been discovered at Harunotsuji, telling the tale of the area’s history of interaction with East Asia.
Artifacts excavated from Sasazuka Tumulus Artifacts in Nagasaki PrefectureIki
The ancient burial mound, Sasazuka Tumulus, is a two-level structure, with the burial mound built on top of a base level. The base is 70 meters in diameter and 3 meters high, while the mound section is 40 meters in diameter and 10 meters high. Many gilt bronze saddlery items have been excavated from Sasazuka Tumulus, including a tortoise-shaped horse brass, gyoyo saddle decorations, uzu crupper ornament, and tsuji-kanagu belt clasps. Besides the saddlery items, Silla earthenware was also discovered in the tomb, informing us of its connections with the Korean peninsula. 162 of the excavated items have been designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan.
Artifacts excavated from Soroku Tumulus in Nagasaki PrefectureIki
Artifacts excavated from Soroku Tumulus include a nisai ceramic bowl, which is Japan’s oldest surviving piece of nisai ceramics made in China’s Hokusei, earthenware made in the Korean kingdom of Silla, a semi-circular glass bead, one of only two discovered in Japan, and a gilt bronze tanhoukantou sword pommel, similar to ones discovered on the Korean peninsula. These items show how close the area’s connection was with the Chinese mainland and the Korean peninsula. 412 of the items excavated from Soroku Tumulus have been designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan.
Katsumoto Castle RuinsIki
A branch castle built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi when he invaded Korea (The War of the Bunroku and Keicho Eras), designated as an Historical Site of Japan. It was built on Mt. Joyama at Katsumoto Bay at the northern-most tip of Iki Island, with the cooperation of local feudal lords such as Matsuura Shigenobu (Hirado), who played a central role, Arima Harunobu (Shimabara), Ōmura Yoshiaki (Ōmura), and Goto Sumiharu (Goto Islands). Katsumoto Castle played a role as a military base that supplied food, weapons and repairs to the soldiers crossing over to the Korean peninsula.
Uchime Bay was the gateway for ancient ships visiting Harunotsuji, the capital of the kingdom of Iki Province. An illustration of Uchime Bay appears in Iki Meisho Zushi, a book of maps of Iki scenic beauty spots created in 1861, at the end of the Edo Period. This is a valuable record of Fukae Village, which gained its name from the way the village stretches out deep into the inlet of the bay, and the many vessels sailing in and out of Uchime Bay. The bay contains mysterious islands on which a path to Kojima Shrine emerges from the sea only at low tide. It is a place that has fascinated people throughout the ages.
Takenotsuji is the highest point (212.8 m) on Iki Island. Historical archives show that it played an important role as a strategic point of national defense, with beacons and look-outs located on the mountain’s peak since ancient times. A latitude marker, established by the Japanese Navy’s Waterways Canals and Waterways Division in May 1889, can be found on the summit. Of the numerous latitude markers that were established at that time, the stone marker on Takenotsuji is one of only two that still survive; the other is on Banshonotsuji on Madarashima Island (Karatsu City, Saga), which can be seen from Takenotsuji. We know from the inscription of the date carved into the stone that the marker on Takenotsuji is the oldest of its kind in Japan.
Karakami Archeological SiteIki
These are the ruins of a moated settlement that flourished in the Yayoi Period (about 2,000 years ago) along with Harunotsuji Archeological Site. Karakami was an intermediary trading post, acquiring iron goods and materials from overseas and supplying iron goods to the rest of Japan. It also existed as a blacksmith workshop, producing the kind of ironware that is representative of the Yayoi Period. It is easy to imagine what an important role the settlement of Karakami played in trade with East Asia.
Namaike Castle SiteIki
Namaike Castle was a mountain castle believed to have been built by Minamoto no Ichi, who was a member of the Matsuura Band in the mid 16th century. Vestiges of a double dry moat that circled the summit, which was the site of the feudal lord’s castle, and earthen bridges are still evident. Historical records show that Minamoto no Ichi, who resided at Namaike Castle, was held in high regard by the Korean royal household, and that he had official dispensation to conduct trade. His name also appears in the records of the restoration of the Korai-ban Daihannya-kyo (Goryeo Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra) conducted by Ankokuji Temple in 1539.