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The Flame-style Pottery (National Treasure)

Life in a Jomon Village

Death and Burial

Oida Castle and Date-Hachimankan Ruins

Echigo Chijimi

Winter Tools

Echigo Angin

Silk Goods

Botanical Garden and Iseki Park

Oida Castle and Date-hachimankan Ruins
The Middle Ages of the Tsumari Region

During the Middle Ages in Japan, power was in the hands of the samurai who fought battles to extend their territory and political control. From around the 13th Century, the Nitta clan expanded its influence from its seat in the Tsumari Region. In the Nanboku-cho period (the period of Northern and Southern Courts, 1336 to 1392), the region was the center of power for the Nancho (Southern) forces. The castle ruins in and around Tokamachi City today are from this period.

In the 16th Century, under the rule of Uesugi Kenshin, the region played a crucial role as a gateway to the Kanto region. Its people cultivated crop fields, produced and developed hemp and Echigo Chijimi textiles, and sought salvation from religion.

An Oida Castle Restoration Model
An Oida Castle Restoration Model
It is said that during the Nanboku-cho period (around 650 years ago), the Oida Castle was the central stronghold of the Southern Count's Oida forces. The Oida and Nitta clans fought together in numerous battles. The Oida clan strategically constructed castles on mountains. It is thought that these were used from the late Kamakura period (1185-1333) through to the Sengoku period (approximately 1467-1568). Many remains were found in the areas surrounding the Oida Castle, including the residence of the Sasayama samurai family, which was located just at the foot of the mountains in the southeast.
Panoramic View of the Date-hachimankan Ruins (Aerial View)
Panoramic View of the Date-hachimankan Ruins (Aerial View)
When the Date-hachimankan ruins were discovered during land maintenance work in 1987, further excavation procedures were conducted immediately.

Archeologists discovered the ruins of lodgings of a powerful samurai clan which included many buildings, water wells and earthen bridges. The building remains were used over a long period of time thus a considerable amount of items had accumulated. Including, a Chinese celadon and white porcelain, dyes, chinaware, tea grinding mortars, lacquer coated bowls, Buddhist ritual staffs and flower vases.
Reconstruction of Date-hachimankan
Reconstruction of Date-hachimankan
Date-hachimankan, which dates from the early Muromachi period (around 600 years ago) to the Sengoku period, comprises of a central district, a secondary district and an outlying area. It includes the lodgings where the ruling family lived; this area was fortified defensively to protect it from enemy attack. Nearby in the southeast, the Date Castle was strategically positioned on a plateau in the steep mountainside, and acted as one of many mountain-castle strongpoints in battle. Although we do not know exactly who, it is thought that this castle was controlled by a substantially powerful family.
Buddhist Objects Excavated from the Date-hachimankan Ruins
Buddhist Objects Excavated from the Date-hachimankan Ruins
(From the left: candleholder; a flower vase; the head of a rod; a flower vase; a candleholder)

Among the Buddhist objects excavated from the Date-hachimankan ruins are the head section of a rod (used by monks and practitioners when walking), Chinese bronze flower vases and candleholders. These were used in Buddhist rituals and to decorate butsudana, a type of Buddhist altar. In the Middle Ages they were also used to decorate the inside of a house. (Designated as a prefectural tangible cultural property in March 2008).