Kofun: the ancient tombs of Japan

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Historical ruins are important sources of information that help us understand the life and culture of the respective eras in which they were built, and Japan has many such ruins that fascinate and captivate those interested in ancient Japanese history and history buffs in general. Among these remains is a type of ruin called head (古墳, ancient burial mounds) that you can find scattered throughout Japan, many of which are famous tourist attractions. but what exactly are they head, and how were they formed? In this article, we take a closer look at this interesting part of Japanese history.

What is a Kofun?

Kofun have been built in many different shapes and sizes

A head It is a mound within which an influential or important person has been buried. The tradition of burying people in head they started around the 3rd century and lasted for about 400 years, and were only built by people of high rank. There are different types of burial mounds, including zenpokoenfun (前方後円墳, keyhole mounds) and fun (円墳, round mounds). They have been built in many different sizes ranging from just 10 meters up to 400 meters. Burial facilities were built within the mounds, and grave goods were often added as well. Funeral accessories can be anything from weapons and farm tools to decorative ornaments and tools believed to have magical powers. It is believed that it is possible to determine the wealth and power of a person buried at that time from the grave goods placed inside the head with them. The period when head were built in Japan is also called the “head period » (Kofun period).

kofun’s story

clay figures
Funeral accessories, such as tools, weapons or clay figurines, were often placed inside the head

the appearance of head It is believed that it had a lot to do with the Yamato Diet. The Yamato regime unified Japan and did so in just over 100 years from the late 3rd century. As the power of the Yamato regime expanded, local warlords came under their control and are believed to have begun building head graves at that time. Since building a head The mound required considerable manpower and financial resources, it is very likely that the person who had the tomb built had abundant financial means at that time. The remains of the burial mounds provide valuable clues to the civil engineering technology of the time, and the ornaments and other funerary accessories offer a fascinating insight into the lifestyle and culture of the people who lived there at the time.


Some haniwa have funny or cute facial expressions

If you are already interested in head and ancient Japanese history you’ve probably heard of haniwa as much as. haniwa are unglazed clay figurines that are placed on or around the head grave. haniwa It is said that it played the role of a talisman to protect the souls of the dead. There are different ways of haniwaincluding circulars and haniwa modeled after people and things. There are especially many haniwa based on the form of human beings with expressive faces, and some of them are undeniably cute!

Places to see Kofun in Japan

Now that you have gained some knowledge of head, we will introduce you to some places where you can see the remains for yourself. Most of them are in Nara and Osaka prefectures, where you can see many different sizes of head mounds

1.Takamatsuzuka Kofun

Takamatsuka Kofun
Takamatsuzuka Kofun is famous for its colorful murals

Takamatsuzuka Kofun is a burial mound located in the Asuka Historical Park in Nara Prefecture and is believed to have been built between the late 7th and early 8th centuries. The person buried there is still unknown and the search continues. The most notable feature is the colorful murals inside the stone burial chamber which is believed to be influenced by ancient Chinese Taoism.

2. Daisenryo Kofun

Daisenryou Kofun
Daisenryo Kofun is even more impressive from the sky

Daisenryo Kofun is a gigantic keyhole-shaped burial mound located in the Sakai district of Osaka, and is one of the largest burial mounds in Japan, with a length of approximately 486 meters. It is believed that the deceased was buried in the circular part of the mound and the edges were covered with numerous haniwa The figures. The mound is so large that it would have taken over 15 years to complete with 2,000 people working on it every day. Therefore, the person buried here is considered a very powerful man of his time.

3. Groupe Mozu-Furuichi Kofun

The Mozu area has many kinds of head

The Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group is a group of mounds built in the late 4th or 5th century, the peak of the head period, and is located in the Sakai district of Osaka. These are primarily the tombs of ancient royalty and include several different types such as keyhole and round mounds.

Tsukuriyama Kofun
Tsukuriyama Kofun is surrounded by nature and fields

Tsukuriyama Kofun is the 10th largest keyhole mound in Japan and is located in Okayama Prefecture. It is believed to have been built in the mid-5th century. The mound is surrounded by nature and has a huge monument said to have been placed there to display the power of the Kibi warlord. However, the usually circular part is actually oval, and the front part is somewhat distorted, suggesting that Lord Kibi must have been struggling financially.

5. Maruyama Kofun

maruyama kofun
Maruyama Kofun’s height is impressive

The Maruyama Kofun is located in Nara Prefecture and is the largest keyhole mound in the prefecture, believed to have been built in the second half of the 6th century. Au début, on pensait qu’il s’agissait d’un tumulus rond car il était trop grand pour saisir toute la disposition, mais plus tard, il a été conclu qu’il s’agissait d’un tumulus en forme de trou de to block. It is a huge mound with a total length of about 420 meters, which is a very large size for a mound built at the end. head final point.

In this article, we have presented facts and details about head, the ancient tombs of Japan. They are a valuable source for studying the life and culture of the people who lived during the head period, and continue to fascinate history buffs even today. If you are also interested in Japanese history, why not add a head place or two on your itinerary when visiting Japan?

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