We are celebrating the Summer Solstice weekend with the launch of the Online Jomon Matsuri, a festival exploring various aspects of this remarkable period of Japanese prehistory and its global significance for understanding human history.
We had planned to be at Stonehenge this weekend for the Midsummer sunrise itself on Sunday morning, following the opening of a special exhibition at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes of contemporary art inspired by the Jomon. The Covid-19 pandemic put paid to all of that – so we have moved online – and to kick off the Matsuri we have assembled some links to some Jomon stone circles. As you will see, some of them are aligned with the Midsummer sunrise, just as at Stonehenge – and find instructions about how you can live-stream the sunrise at Stonehenge here.
Four of the sites in the Jomon World Heritage Nomination, Oyu, Isedotai, Komakino and Omori-Katsuyama are all part of a bid to have a series of Jomon sites in northern Japan inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage. What better way to spend the weekend than taking yourself off to the beautiful countryside of northern Honshu.
If you are feeling even more adventurous then head across the Tsugaru Straits to the island of Hokkaido and visit another stone circle, at Washinoki, sadly no longer part of the World Heritage nomination (because of the road tunnel that was dug – by hand no less – to preserve it in situ) this site featured in our special exhibition about Jomon dogu figurines at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in 2010, unearthed.
In preparation for the exhibitions we visited northern Japan in autumn 2019: you can read the online diary of that trip by David Dawson, Director of the Wiltshire Museum, here and listen to English Heritage Historian Susan Greaney describe her visit to the stone circles of Isedotai and Oyu here.