An extensive collection of ammonites and other fossils from Hokkaido
Mikasa City Museum is known for having Japan’s largest collection of ammonite fossils. Hokkaido is one of the country’s best places to find ammonites, and the museum showcases 600 locally found specimens covering approximately 80 species. It also displays a variety of 100 million-year-old fossils of shellfish, fish, plants and other ancient life found in Hokkaido. The fossilized skull of a Yezo-mikasa-ryu (Mosasaurids; Cretaceous carnivorous marine reptile) found in Mikasa and designated as a National Natural Monument is a particular attraction.
The open-air museum along a 1,200 meter-long observation path near the museum shows vertical geological formations and coal beds, the remains of a closed coalmine and other exhibits.
Japan’s largest ammonite measures 1.3 m in diameter!
The museum’s fossil exhibition space features one of Japan’s largest ammonites (diameter: 1.3 meters) and a wide selection of other large ammonites. The history-focused exhibition space displays machines and devices used in coal mining, which thrived in Mikasa from the early Meiji period (1868 – 1912) to the late Showa period (1926 – 1989) and artifacts related to the Meiji-period Sorachi Shujikan prison. An annex located about 100 meters from the museum displays forestry-related resources and also includes local flora and fauna specimens among other artifacts.
Visitors can actually touch most of the fossils
The museum is known for having the largest ammonite collection in Japan, and showcases about 600 locally found specimens along with a wide variety of other fossils from marine reptiles, shellfish, fish, plants and other ancient life. The exhibited large ammonites and most other fossils that are not encased can be touched and photographed freely.
The museum offers hands-on programs in fossil preparation, replica making and other activities during Golden Week and the summer holidays. See the website for scheduling details.