UTSUNOMIYA, Tochigi Pref. — Tochigi Prefectural Museum, which opened in 1982, features exhibitions on the history, culture and natural features of the prefecture.

Located on the grounds of the Utsunomiya’s Central Park, the 11,000-sq.-meter museum includes a unique 72-meter, two-story ramp display that shows the distribution of plants and animals from Nikko to the summit of Mount Shirane, Tochigi’s highest peak.

Another permanent exhibit, “The Changes in Nature and Culture in Tochigi Prefecture,” traces the history of the prefecture from the origin of life on Earth through reconstruction after World War II. The exhibit includes such artifacts as dinosaur bones, prehistoric Japanese pottery and Edo Period armor, as well as a replica and facial reconstruction of a Jomon skeleton found at nearby Oyaji Temple.

This summer, the museum will unveil a 3,500-piece production titled “Excavations on the Japanese Archipelago ’98,” featuring a traveling exhibit of archaeological discoveries made in Japan over the past year, along with a second exhibit of finds from the Tochigi area.

For the public, the show is a rare opportunity to see important artifacts from all over the country in a single exhibit, said museum curator Toshihiro Kaburaki. The traveling exhibit will open Aug. 23 and last until Sept. 13, while artifacts from the Tochigi area will be on display from July 19 through Sept. 13.

The Tochigi Prefectural Museum is a few minutes’ bus ride from JR Utsunomiya Station. From the station, take bus No. 37 bound for Tsuruta via Sakura-dori from platform No. 14 and get off at Chuo Koen Hakubutsukan-mae.

The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed Mondays, except on national holidays. The museum is also closed the day after a national holiday, excluding weekends. Admission is 200 yen. Call the museum at (028) 634-1311 for more information.

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