Imperial residence found in Asuka ruins
The Yomiuri Shimbun
The remains of what is thought to have been the living quarters of
ancient emperors were discovered in the ruins of the Asukakyo Imperial
palace in Asukamura, Nara Prefecture, the Nara Prefectural Kashihara
Archeological Institute announced Tuesday.
The building was one of the central facilities of Asuka Kiyomihara no
Miya, or Asuka Kiyomihara Palace. The building was used by Emperor Tenmu
and Empress Regnant Jito from 672 to 694, during the Asuka period (593-710).
The find, along with the unearthing of other ruins last year, helps
explain the layout of the palace.
Other palaces built after the Nara period (710-794) have similar layouts
to Asuka Kiyomihara Palace, leading experts to believe that the palace
served as a model.
The institute uncovered three 12-meter rows of holes about 80
centimeters in diameter, which are believed to have held the pillars of
the western half of the 24-meter-wide Imperial residence, “uchi no andono.”
The institute also discovered paving stones, flagpole holes and the
remains of a side hall.
In March last year, the remains of a building of similar structure and
size were unearthed about 20 meters south of the recent discovery. These
discoveries have led the institute to believe that the two buildings
Because the southern building had a stairway, it is probable that
ceremonies were held there. The northern building is thought to be a
private Imperial residence, where only a limited number of people were
The remains of walls were discovered in an area between the two
buildings, where special rituals may have been performed, according to
According to Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan), written in 720, there
were three major buildings at Asuka Kiyomihara Palace. To the “uchi no
andono” building, Emperor Tenmu invited princes and other relatives. At
the “o andono” building, parties and other entertainments were held,
while the emperor’s followers gathered at the “to no andono” building.
The institute believes the recently discovered remains are of “uchi no
andono” and the building next to it “o andono,” south of which stood “to
(Mar. 9, 2006)
Source: The Yomiuri Shimbun