National Historic Site “Akita Fort Ruins”

Hello, how’s it going?

Me? As usual, I was enjoying driving around the city and found a shrine gate.

It was a beautiful day so I felt like I wanted to take a walk in the attractive shrine.

Actually, I knew the place but never had a chance to visit in my 10-years of Akita-city life. Let’s explore together!

The place I dropped by was National Historic Site “Akita Fort Ruins” located in Terauchi, Akita city.

At the entrance, there was a cute mascot named Akimaro-kun.

Nice to meet you!

I was curious about the shrine gate, so I entered the place from there. Until then, I had no idea what the site was… haha.

Let’s go!

Beautiful flowers and trees were shining under the sun.

When I kept walking, the main shrine appeared in front.

The way to the shrine was so calm and relaxing!

When I was wandering, an old man who’s a member of “Akita Fort Ruins Volunteer” talked to me with a pamphlet.

He told me that this is Gokoku Shrine which was built to pray for people passed away due to war.

Today, the shrine is believed as a sacred place that give people more power to live as well as to bring good fortune.

After praying, I kept walking into the ruins.

History of Akita Fort Ruins goes back to 733. It lasted until the 10th century.

Surprisingly, it’s under investigation even today!

The name is Akita Castle, but it’s not really a castle. Actually, the facility was built as a governmental office between the Nara period and the Heian period in Japan. Having the head office in Nara prefecture today, this office was the northernmost office and a center of politics, army and culture at that time.

At the site, I could find restored piles only with information boards. Now, it’s time to use our imagination!

Here is a miniature reproduction of that time. Can you imagine?

The central compound of Akita fortified government was the most important area for such jobs as political affairs and serving banquets for the foreign missions. It was rebuilt six times because of some accidents like riots or a big earthquake!

After the central compound, I went to the opposite area where another gate was standing.

According to the local guide, this area was surrounded by 2.2km-long gate called “Tsuiji bei (walls)” made of clay. The height is about 4 meters.

Only a part of it has been restored today, so you can imagine the same longer one was standing there hundreds of years ago.

An old marsh soon appeared when I was walking into this gate. It’s called “Kodai numa” and was used as a place for prayers. It used to be deeper and bigger.

Today, ancient earthenware found in the marsh are exhibited at the museum near the site. Entry is 200 yen per adult, but admission free for kids under high school students.

Finally, I found an ancient flush toilet!!

This is estimated to have been built in the Nara period. Very rare!

After using the toilet, people “flushed” it by pouring some water from a big water bottle. Then, the stuff was flown down to a tank.

Don’t worry! The restroom was surrounded by walls for privacy.

According to the local guide, the toilet was used by foreign visitors rather than local people because there remained eggs of parasites that could be only found from pork or beef. This became the evidence since local people in those days didn’t eat meat.

By the way, can you see some wood sticks?

What’s for?

Actually, people used them to clean their privates after using the toilet… But how!? lol

Papers were very precious at that time, so they used wood sticks instead… but… I can’t imagine how to do it!

After this journey, I felt that it was really good chance to re-learn our city. It’s fun to find new things and communicate with local people.

Maybe I will come back again to enjoy taking a walk in sunny days.

Hope you’ll come here, too!

~~~ Information ~~~
In Terauchi, Akita city
Free entry

*About museum -> Open 9:00 ~ 16:30
Closed December 29th ~ January 3rd
Entry 200 yen per adult /

Admission free for kids under high school students

Written by Naomi in Ugo

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