Hokenoyama-kofun Tumulus (a keyhole-shaped mound in Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture) (ホケノ山古墳)

The Hokenoyama-kofun Tumulus is a so-called Makimuku type escallop-shaped, large keyhole-shaped mound in the early first half of the Kofun period (Tumulus period), located in Aza Hokenoyama, Oaza Hashinaka, Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture.

On January 26, 2006, it was designated as a national historic site. At present restoration and preparation work being over, it is open to the public.


Location: At the west foot of Mt. Miwa, in the east of the Hashihaka-kofun Tumulus
Buried person: Unknown (Omiwa-jinja Shrine takes it as Toyosuki iribime no mikoto's tomb). Time of construction: Judging from grave goods and burial facilities, it is thought to be a large keyhole-shaped mound in the period dating back some years to the period in which stylized large keyhole-shaped mounds typified by the Hashihaka-kofun Tumulus appeared, and therefore it is presumed to have been built in the era of Yamatai-Koku kingdom. There are two views about the tomb; one is that it is a keyhole-shaped Yayoi mound tomb and the other a tomb in the Kofun period.

Tomb shape: A Makimuku type keyhole-shaped mound (some fukiishi [a layer of stone covering the soil over a burial mound] found), with a short front square part attached to the circular part.

Size: It is approximately 80 meters in full length, with the three tiered back circular part approximately 55 meters in diameter, and with a shugo (surrounding moat) approximately 10.5 to 17.5 meters in width. Excavation investigation: Started by the Kashihara Archaeological Institute, Nara Prefecture and the Sakurai City Board of Education from September, 1999.


Burial facilities

A 'stone-fenced mokkaku' (wooden burial chamber) was found in the center top of the tomb. In the inside of a large doko (dug-out hole) there was a stone chamber-like facility approximately 7 meters in length and approximately 2.7 meters in width. There was a large size mokkaku in which 5 meters hollowed-out coffin made of Japanese umbrella pine was placed inside it. Split bamboo-shape mokkaku in a broad sense. The ceiling was made of lumber, on which local riverbed stones were piled up. It seems to have been covered with cinnabar mercury.

A part of hem fukiishi in the front square part was removed and a wooden coffin was buried. One simple burial facility in the constricted spot.

A corridor-style stone chamber (around the end of sixth century on the west side of the main body the burial was done using the mound)
The stone chamber is more than 14 meters in full length. In the burial chamber there is a sectional house-shaped stone chamber.

Grave goods and unearthed goods

Large size jars (Setouchi type, 77 centimeters in height, 65 centimeters in maximum diameter)
Middle size jars (Tokai style, 26 centimeters in height, 24 centimeters in maximum diameter)
Approximately 60 copper arrowheads
Approximately 60 iron arrowheads
One sokantotachi (an iron sword with a ring pommel)
10 iron swords
Decorated jars
Gamontai Dokoshiki Shinju-kyo Mirror (Mirror with figures of deities and sacred animals which all the images face in the same direction)
Fragments of possibly two Gamontai Shinju-kyo Mirrors (Mirror with figures of deities and sacred animals), fragments of Naiko Kamon-kyo Mirror (Mirror with patterns like a flower-petal)
Iron farming tools
20 Niju Koen tsubo (double rim pot) (Shonai-type)

[Original Japanese]