Replies: 12 - Last Post: Oct 29, 2012 8:26 AM Last Post By: bamse
Oct 25, 2012 3:32 PM
Oct 25, 2012 5:21 PM
Oct 25, 2012 11:55 PM
2Thanks for the reply. But how about recent tombs such as this? Or are they also called kofun?
Oct 26, 2012 4:58 AM
3Interesting question - I believe the term "kofun" only refers to the keyhole-shaped mounds that are found in the Osaka/Nara region, and which date from between the 3rd and 7th centuries CE.
I don't know about the more recent imperial tombs, but I've ridden by kofun along the Kibi Plain cycling route, and walked by a couple in Tenri. They're interesting if you know what they are and the history behind them; otherwise they're just large, grassy mounds or small hills. I wouldn't make a special trip just to see some, but they're worth stopping to have a look while bike riding or walking. Asuka (near Nara) is one place where you can rent a bike and see some kofun while cycling around.
Edited by: Kaminoge
Oct 26, 2012 7:19 AM
4Hmm.. I'm not so sure, I am almost certain they were called kofun.
A google found this in Saitama.
Oct 26, 2012 10:12 AM
5As # 3 says kofun by definition were tombs built between the 3rd and early 7th Centuries. They can be anywhere in Japan not just in the Kinai region.
I have actually seen a number of post kofun imperial tombs. Just about all are in the Kinki Region, with two in Tokyo, and most of the rest are in Kyoto, which makes sense since that was the imperial capital from 784 to 1869.
A major cluster of them are Sennyuji in Higashiyama. Here lie buried nine emperors, including every single emperor from Go-Mizunoo to Komei, 1611 to 1867, just about the entire Tokugawa Period. Here is the link to the Palace Agency site on imperial tombs. Just click on a number for the corresponding imperial tomb.
An accessible set of them are at the rear of Ryoanji, a fairly popular temple in Higashiyama. There are tombs of five Heian Period emperors there, like #66 Emperor Ichijo in the link above. I have seen these. But unless you are really into imperial history, they'll quickly blend into each other.
Let me put in a boost for imperial tomb tourism though since I am a big fan of imperial history. #71 Go-Sanjo was a pivotal figure in mid Heian history as the first emperor to push the Fujiwara regents aside and usher in the late Heian Insei Period. I have also seen #77, the tomb of Go-Shirakawa. Anyone who has read the story of the Genpei War knows the influential role played by this retired emperor.
Oct 26, 2012 12:00 PM
6Perfect, thank you for all the replies, particularly alexander_vi. I am quite into Japanese history at the moment, and could see a couple of those tombs, but perhaps not all 124 of them... You mention that they are very similar. Looks like they all consist of a fence, torii and trees. Is there anything beyond the fence such as a mound or something? Also, I believe one cannot get past the fence, correct?
As # 3 says kofun by definition were tombs built between the 3rd and early 7th Centuries. They can be anywhere in Japan not just in the Kinai region.
Well, almost anywhere, as far as I remember reading, they are mostly found around Yamato (Kansai) and down to Kyushu, i.e. where most of early Japanese civilization happened.
Oct 26, 2012 4:02 PM
7The tombs in the Tokyo region are walking distance from Takao station on the Chuo line (orange). Interesting but not worth a huge detour.
Oct 29, 2012 1:21 AM
8Quite a few around Osaka especially south, Nintoku being the most prominent. Very cool sight from an airplane. Far as I know the powers-that-be still won't open up the interiors to scrutiny for fear of exposing mounds of empty kimchi jars and murals of Lees and Kims doing the Gangnam Style.
Oct 29, 2012 4:23 AM
Oct 29, 2012 5:10 AM
As I have said kofun can be found anywhere in Japan and any tumuli from this period found in Japan are called kofun. I just looked it up and here are the prefectures with the most number of kofun:
After all kofun simply means "ancient tumulus". Nothing in your last sentence contradicts what I have written.
No, just about all of those tombs are from the kofun period. The OP asked for post-kofun imperial tombs. Imperial tombs logically follow imperial capitals and after the kofun period the capital was located within present day Osaka for two brief periods. During one such period an emperor, #36 Kotoku, was buried there but that's it.
I believe they do close. Many are located within temple grounds, such as the two groups I mentioned, and they would close with the respective temples. I am also fairly certain that the Tama Imperial Tombs, those of emperors Taisho and Showa, also close.
Oct 29, 2012 5:27 AM
11Well, almost anywhere, as far as I remember reading, they are mostly found around Yamato (Kansai) and down to Kyushu, i.e. where most of early Japanese civilization happened.
Without wanting to be overly politically correct there, as far as I understand Emishi also build kofun. Emishi civilization has been essentially obliterated, but I'm not sure it's fair to say most Japanese civilization happened there, just most of the civilization that remains today. I don't know if Ainu built them though.
Oct 29, 2012 8:26 AM
12re #11: Sorry for sloppy formulation. Indeed I meant today's Japanese civilization whose origins are thought to lie somewhere around Kyushu to Kinki and which initially did not stretch north into Tohoku/Hokkaido. Didn't mean to imply there was no civilization up there.
re #10: From what I understand not all tombs contain remains of Emperors and not all were built at the time of the death of an emperor. Also the existence of some of the emperors are doubtful. So drawing connections between capital location and tomb location might be tricky.
Edited by: bamse
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