Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
Sakitama Kofun Park In Saitama - Feel The Flow Of Time
Huge tombs said to be made by the powerful families of ancient Japan: Kofun. Sakitama Kofun Park of Saitama prefecture is a nature park making use of these kofun. Gazing at these magnificent kofun, you'll be able to feel the flow of time. We will introduc
Written by LIFE STYLE, Inc.
There are approximately 161,560 kofun in Japan. A kofun is a tomb of a powerful family made in ancient Japan.
They can be found in various sizes, and the Nintoku-tennō-ryo Kofun (Kofun of Emperor Nintoku) in Sakai, Osaka, is said to be the largest with an area of 470,000 square meters. There are also various types: some are circle-shaped, others are square. The zenpō-kōen-fun or keyhole-shaped kofun has characteristics of both. Kofun shapes differ depending on the era and area in which they were built.
There are also areas where kofun are concentrated, indicating to us that there used to be a culture that flourished there long ago. Sakitama Kofun Park (Sakitama Kofun Kōen) in Saitama prefecture is also one of those concentrated kofun areas. It is now known as Kofun park and is well-loved by the locals leaving near it. Today we'll be using Google Street View to explore Sakitama Kofun Park.
Futagoyama Kofun is the only kofun in the park that is surrounded by a moat. Unfortunately you can't step inside it but it's the largest kofun in the park, so you can admire the magnificent hill from afar.
Who's entombed with this kofun is unknown, but being extremely large, and as countless cylindrical haniwa (*1) have been found from around it, it's thought to be the grave of a highly powerful person, perhaps even royal. It is thought to have been made around the 6th century.
*1 Haniwa: unglazed clay figures of humans, horses, and others shapes; typically funerary goods.
At present, in order to prevent erosion of the kofun, the water of the moat has been drained and it is under construction to become a dry moat.
Unlike the Futagoyama Kofun, the Maruhakayama Kofun has a circular shape.
This place was made camp in the 16th century by the military in order to attack the Oshijō Castle that used to stand not far from here. The "Oshijō-zeme" (Attack of Oshijō), where the castle was surrounded by water, is well-known to Japanese history-fans.
The road on the left side of the screen is the remains of the "Ishida-Dutsumi", the levee that was made during the Attack on Oshijō. The Maruhakayama Kofun is a stage of history.
This is the view from the top of Maruhakayama Kofun.
Maruhakayama Kofun is known not only as one of Japan's largest round kofun, it's also famous for being climbable. The only climbable kofun in Saitama prefecture are the Inariyama Kofun found in the same park, and the Maruhakayama Kofun.
This kofun is thought to be very important archaeologically as well. Many artifacts including the Inariyama Sword (Inariyama Tekken) have been found here. Many of the artifacts found from this kofun are designated as a national treasure as "Artifacts from the Saitama Inariyama Kofun". This kofun is the oldest of the Saitama kofun group, and is thought to have been made in the late 5th century.
Unfortunately, part of the front has been lost by erosion.
It's a large keyhole shaped kofun, so just walking around it is enjoyable. It's said that if the center line of it is extended it will reach Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji may have already been believed to be a sacred mountain even in this early era.
What do you think?
Today we introduced three of the most famous kofun, but there are six other kofun in Sakitama Kofun Park. There is also a museum where artifacts from the kofun and area are on display, so we encourage you to visit and check out the rest with your own eyes.
Sakitama Kofun Park
Address: Saitama Gyōda-shi Sama
Other Languages: No
Menus in other languages: No
Nearest Station: JR Gyōda Station or Gyōdashi Station, Chichibu Railway
Access: 15 minutes by city loop bus (sightseeing hub tour course) from Gyōda station East exit, get off at Saitama Kofun Koen Mae and walk 2 minutes
21 minutes by city loop bus (sightseeing hub tour course) from Gyōdashi station, get off at Saitama Kofun Koen Mae and walk 2 minutes
Price range: Free
Phone number: +81-48-559-1111
Website: Sakitama Kofun Park