Akasaka Tennozan-kofun Tumulus (a tumulus in Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture) (赤坂天王山古墳)

Akasaka Tennozan-kofun Tumulus is a tumulus in Kurahashi, Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture. It is thought that the tumulus was constructed in the late sixth century, in the latter part of Kofun period (tumulus period). It was designated as the national historic site in December 25, 1954. In order to distinguish from the neighboring tumuli, it is also called Akasaka Tennozan No.1 Tumulus.


Akasaka Tennozan-kofun Tumulus is a square borrow constructed on a ridge extending toward northwest. The tumulus has the three stage construction and is 45.5 meters long in east and west, 42.2 meters long in north and south, and about 9.1 meters high. Four sides of the tumulus are oriented almost exactly in the east and west direction and the north and south direction.

The main part is a horizontal stone chamber with ryosode-style (a horizontal stone chamber with the passage connected the center of the wall of burial chamber) opened to the south. The stone chamber is 17 meters long, the burial chamber is 8.5 meters long, about 3 meters wide, and 4.2 meters high, and the passage is 8.5 meters long, 1.8 meters wide and about 2 meters high. The stone chamber is structured with granite fieldstones, and corbels are provided on the burial chamber wall. The floor is paved with small stones, and blocking stones remain at the entrance of the passage.

In the center of the burial chamber, Kurinuki style iegata sekkan (house-shaped hollowed stone coffin) made of white tuff produced in Mt. Nijo (Nara Prefecture and Osaka Prefecture) is placed. There are six Nawakake tokki (projection portions for roping) on the lid of the coffin, and the square-shaped small hole is pierced through the upper hem of the coffin body facing the passage. The stone chamber has been opened early, thus little is known about excavated relics.

Constructed time and buried person

There is no relic left, but seen from the styles of stone chamber and the stone coffin, it is believed that the tumulus was constructed in the end of the sixth century.

In the "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), it is written that Emperor Sushun was buried in Kurahashi after being assassinated. There is no tumulus that fits the description in this area except Akasaka Tennozan-kofun Tumulus, therefore the tumulus is considered as the Mausoleum of Emperor Sushun. In addition, until the current Kurahashi Okanoueno Misasagi, which is 1.7 kilometers away in the southwest, is determined as Mausoleum of Emperor Sushun in Meiji period, Akasaka Tennozan-kofun Tumulus has been regarded as Mausoleum of Emperor Sushun from Edo period.

Neighborhood area

Five tumuli having a horizontal stone chamber form clustered minor tumuli on the ridge that Akasaka Tennozan-kofun Tumulus is present.

Akasaka Tennozan No. 2 Tumulus: The square barrow 25 meter on each side, which is located west of No. 1 Tumulus. Akasaka Tennozan No. 3 Tumulus: The tumulus with the 10-meter-long horizontal stone chamber, which is located north of No. 1 Tumulus.


Take Nara Kotsu Bus from Sakurai Station (Nara Prefecture) on Sakurai Line, West Japan Railway Company or on Kintetsu Corporation Osaka Line, get off at the bus stop Sagarioguchi, and five minutes on foot.

[Original Japanese]