Recommended Field Trips: Chikatsu Asuka Kofun, Join the Kofun Walkers’ Circle (Japanese only)

Daisen Kofun, Osaka Prefecture Chikatsu Asuka Museum

Diorama of the Daisenryo Kofun, at the Osaka Prefecture Chikatsu Asuka Museum Source: Wikimedia Commons

We highly recommended field trips to and walking tours of

1) the Daisen Kofun at Osaka Prefecture’s Chikatsu Asuka Museum;

Haniwa at the Osaka Prefecture Chikatsu Asuka Museum Source: Wikimedia Commons

Haniwa at the Osaka Prefecture Chikatsu Asuka Museum Source: Wikimedia Commons

2) the Sakai city’s Ancient Tumulus Clusters 

Highly recommended are visits to the Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun and current candidate for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage. It includes the three largest kofun in Japan, some of the large-scale kofun that served as the models for kofun construction during the course of the 5th century in other areas. In addition, the property includes many representative and typical examples of smaller tumuli, contributing to the integrity of the property as a whole. The Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun is a group of one hundred and twenty-three kofun or tumuli in FujiideraOsaka PrefectureJapan. Thirty-one of the burial mounds are keyhole-shaped, thirty round, forty-eight rectangular, and a further fourteen are of in determinate shape.

Add: 299 Higasiyama Kananncho Minami Kawachi-Gun 585-0001

Access: Kongo Bus Hannan Line Hannan Neo-police bus stop
金剛バス阪南線阪南ネオポリスバス停[Accessability from the nearest station]On foot (from the nearest station) 10 minutes

9:45-17:00
Exhibition Room 10:00-16:30

【Closed】Every week Monday If Monday is a public holiday then Tuesday would be our holiday.,28/12/2011-4/1/2012
Subject to temporary closure (once a year)

Take the TOUR SAKAI No. 1  the popular course that is the favorite of professional travel agencies.

The romantic course starts at the 21st story lobby of the Sakai City Hall from which you can enjoy a 360 degrees panoramic view of the city, and includes the old part of city, a tour of the historic old shops that produce incense and knives, which are the traditional industries of Sakai, Myokokuji Temple, which is famous for its cycad tree, which is said to be 1100 years old, Zen temple Nanshuji at which famous masters of ceremonial tea such as Sen-no-Rikyu undertook ascetic training, and the Nintoku-ryo Tumulus, which is one of the Mozu Tumulus Cluster.
Why not try some treasure hunting in Sakai, which has been transformed into a tourist attraction?

Free access 365 days a year 9 am – 9 pm: Take the Nankai-Koya Line and get off at Sakaihigashi Station.

Tourist Information: 072-233-1101 (Sakai City Hall)
※Hours:10:00 am-4:30 pm (closed on the first Monday of each month and for end/new year holidays)  Source: Sakai Tourism Guide. Read more here and also about the related Nonaka Kofun and its relationship to the Kawachi Dynasty.

3) In Gunma Prefecture, there are many splendid Kofun tumuli some with watery moats, worth visiting. Among them are:

— The Sakitama Kofun Park which includes the Maruhakayama Kofun which with a diameter of 105 meters, is Japan’s largest circular Kofun. The 19m high of the Kofun is the Kofun is the highest of all tumuli in Sakitama Ancient Burial Mounds. It is estimated that this particular Kofun was built around the first half of 6th century. Part of the same group includes the Inariyama Kofun totals 120 meters in length, is surrounded by two rectangular moats. This is considered to be the earliest of a series of Kofun built in Sakitama, and is believed to have been created in the mid to late 5th century. At the nearby museum, you can view the iron Inariyama burial-mound sword (inariyama kofun shutsudo tekken) or kinsakumei tekken (金錯銘鉄剣?) that was excavated at the Inariyama Kofun in 1968. In 1978, X-ray analysis revealed a gold-inlaid inscription that comprises more than 115 Chinese characters. The sword has been designated a national treasure.

From Wei Wang’s Inariyama Kofun and the Sakitama Kofun Group in Japan as seen from China (Abstract)

“There is a gold-inlayed 115-character inscription on the iron sword unearthed from the Inariyama Kofun, the earliest tomb in the Sakitama tumulus group of Japan. It records that the sword owner Owake no Omi was “Sword-bearers’ Chief (maybe captain of the guard)” of the King Wakatakeru and assisted the ruler in “assisting in the governance of the realm.” The Sakitama Kofun roup was built in the late 5th to the 6th centuries with the Inariyama Kofun as the initial structure. These large-sized keyholed-shaped kofun must be the burials of rulers of the Musashi area, i.e. the tombs of the members of the wealthy and influential family who generation after generation acted as the king’s “Sword-bearers’ chief” and enjoyed backing from the Yamato royal power in their dominating the Musashi area. In other owrds, the support from the Yamato royal power may have been one of the important factors that enabled the rulers of the Musashi area to control this land.

The iron sword unearthed from Inariyama Kofun in 1978 bears a gold-inlayed inscription consisting of 115 characers. The inscription notes that the owner of this sword was a “Sword-bearers’ Chief” who was “assisting in the governance of the realm” of King Wakatakeru.

Who was buried in this kofun? Was he a military governor assigned by the Yamato Court to Sakitama, or a local aristocrat who had a strong relationship with the Yamato Court? Inariyama Kofun is the oldest in a series of keyhole-shaped kofun constructed by successive gnerations of high-ranking aristocrats in the Kita Musashi (the old name of Saitama) region; what is their historical backgroudn? The explorations of these are important issues may lead to a better understanding not only of the ancient history of Saitama Prefecture, but also of the history of Japan in its wider East Asian contexts during the 5th and 6th East Asian contexts during the 5th and 6th centuries CE.”

Read more

The Hodota Hachimanzuka Kofun

Add.: Takamatsu-cho 35-1, Takasaki city, Gunma pref. JAPAN
Tel.= 027-321-1111

Access: Take a train for Takasaki of JR Jhoetsu line at Ueno station, Tokyo, and take off it at Takasaki station, then take a Ohyagi line of Takaasaki city Gurulin bus at west exit of Takasaki station. Take off it at Ide-Jyujiro bus stop, the walk five minutes for North

Also recommended are the Omuro Kofun-gun for the magnificent haniwa display in the natural setting.

Notes: There are numerous Kofun Era sites in Gunma Prefecture, that are fairly accessible from Tokyo. In 1935, a comprehensive study of Kofun sites in Gunma was undertaken, and the results were published under the title, “A Representative List of Jomo Kofun”. According to this publication, there are some 8,412 sites in all. It is believed that many sites have been excluded from this research, making the actual number of sites closer to 10,000.
The area known now as “Gunma” was, during the Kofun Era, referred to as “Kenu”. This area was developed over many generations from around the 5th century. Although Gunma has many plateaus and mountains, its rich fertile soil made it very attractive for development during the Kofun Era. This area is located centrally in the eastern, or Kanto, part of Honshu. The Tenjinyama tumulus in Ota, the Ofujiyama tumulus in Isesaki, and the Sengenyama tumulus in Takasaki are all large-scale burial mounds indicating the presence of powerful ruling elite in the area during this period. To see more of Gunma prefecture’s many tumuli, click here.

***

古墳にコーフン!?

最近、若い女性の間で広がりつつある古墳ブームについて取り上げました。古墳は3世紀後半から7世紀前半にかけて築造された墳丘をもつお墓です。この古代のお墓に今、女性の視線が集まっているのです。
女性たちが注目しているのは、古墳の“形”です。特に前方後円墳のように丸い部分から突き出したフォルムがかわいいのだといいます。
また前方後円墳の形をあしらったグッズも人気が急上昇中で、一番人気のクッションには注文が殺到し、入荷3か月待ちの状況です。
こんな現代の女性の間に巻き起こる古墳ブームについて、考古学界の重鎮、明治大学名誉教授の大塚初重さんは「形がかわいいと捉える若い世代の視点には驚いた。ただこれがきっかけで考古学に興味を持ってもらえたらうれしい」とお話しされていました。

古墳の愛好家が集まるサークル

「古墳にコーフン協会」

古墳グッズを扱っている雑貨店

「旅とくらしの玉手箱 フルコト」
奈良県奈良市東包永町61-2 2階 0742-26-3755

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