大境洞窟住居跡

Ōzakai Cave Dwelling Site - Ōzakai Dōkutsu Jūkyo Ato


Useful Information

Location: 196 Ozakai, Himi, Toyama 935-0412.
(36.922632, 137.030244)
Open: no restrictions.
[2022]
Fee: free.
[2022]
Classification: SpeleologySea Cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=35 m, W=16 m, H=8 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Ōzakai Cave Dwelling Site, 196 Ozakai, Himi, Toyama 935-0412, Tel: +81-766-74-8106.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

1918 a large number of human bones, animal bones, and earthenware excavated.
1922 designated a Historic Site.
1986 designated a National Historic Site of Japan.

Description

大境洞窟住居跡 (Ōzakai dōkutsu jūkyo ato, Ōzakai Cave Dwelling Site) is a huge sea cave close to the shore, where remains from the middle Jomon period to the early modern period were excavated. It is located at the northern end of the small harbour of Ozakai village. A Kanjii door and a staircase lead to the entrance of the cave, which is 16 m wide and 8 m high. The floor is 4 m above the current sea level. There is a small wooden Shinto shrine in the cave and parts of the huge shelter are fenced of to protect the archaeological remains. There are numerous explanatory signs which tell visitors about the important archaeological finds.

The remains were discovered in 1918, when the Hakusansha, the shinto shrine, was renovated. When they dug in the floor for this purpose they discovered human remains and informed the government. As a result a full-scale excavation was conducted by the Tokyo Imperial University. It revealed a large number of human bones, animal bones, and pottery. Six different layers where identified.

Layer 1: medieval and early modern earthenware, ceramics, and iron swords.
Layer 2: sue ware and earthenware from the Nara and Heian periods.
Layer 3: earthenware and animal remains from the mid- to late-Kofun period.
Layer 4: pottery, human bones, and animal remains from the late Middle Yayoi Period to the early Kofun Period.
Layer 5: Late Jomon to Late Yayoi pottery, stone tools, bone horns, human bones and animal remains.
Layer 6: earthenware, stone tools, and animal remains from the middle to early late Jomon period.

The site was the first cave ever surveyed in Japan. It was designated a Historic Site soon after.