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The Sannai Maruyama site radically changed the perception of the Jomon culture, which flourished in Japan from 12,000 to 2,300 years ago. Before the site's discovery, people thought the Jomon people were simplistic hunters and gathers; however, the 1992 discovery of the ruins proved that the Jomon people were much more complex, with the ruins of tall buildings, tools, and roads being unearthed. And the best part is: the site is right here in Aomori, and even more, it's FREE!
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Last Sunday, I took a trip to the site, which was beautiful covered in ice and snow. However, as most of the site is in fact outside (although there is an inside museum), I would recommend waiting until it gets a little warmer before going. Besides the inside museum, the site consists of ample fields with reconstructions of Jomon structures. You can even go inside them! Also, the site is a short walk to the Aomori Art Museum, so you can do both in a day if you're interested. I did!
For more information on what the ruins meant to Japanese history, check out the following article: Japan Times Article about the ruins
For more information, including instructions on how to get to the site and when it is open, check out the website: Official English website