Ioto no miya (Ioto Palace, an imperial palace in the capital of ancient Japan [in the early days of (庵戸宮)

According to the "Kojiki" (The Records of Ancient Matters) and the "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan), Ioto no miya was an imperial palace established in the capital of ancient Japan (in the early days of the Yamato dynasty).


Legend has it that the seventh Emperor, Korei, transferred the capital to a place near an area of present-day Kuroda in Tawaramoto-cho Town (Shiki County, Nara Prefecture), establishing Ioto no miya there in 291 B.C. As a result, Ioto no miya is also called Kuroda Ioto no miya. However, opinions vary as to its true location.
(According to the "Yamato Shiryo," the historical sources of Nara Prefecture, one suggestion is that it was located in not Kuroda but aza Miyako [Miyako block] in the same town, and the other suggestion is that it was located in Iyoto in the aza guessing from the pronunciation 'i-o-to.')
In either case, while legends have it that many imperial palaces built before Emperor Korei were located in the mountain area of Nara Prefecture, it is estimated that relocation of the capital to Ioto no miya to the Nara basin the center of Nara Prefecture enabled early Yamato dynasty to extend dominating areas including advance from Yamato Province to Kawachi Province and conquest of Kibi Province.

It is believed that Ioto no miya functioned as the center of the government until when Emperor Korei died in March 215 B.C. and the eighth Emperor, Kogen, relocated the capital in Karu no sakaihara no miya (Karu no sakaihara Palace; that is said in the vicinity of current Mise-cho Town, Kashihara City, Nara Prefecture).
(On the other hand, since this period corresponds to so-called Kesshi-Hachidai [Eight Undocumented Sovereigns] to the era of the ninth Emperor, Kaika, some views persist that the credibility of the "Kojiki" and the "Nihonshoki" themselves is doubtful in the first place.)


Io' of Ioto no miya refers to "Anshitsu," i.e. a humble cabin, which a person who lives a life aloof from the affairs of the world such as a person of refined taste, or a priest uses at work, or refers to a camp for controlling the army (adapted from "Wamyoruiju-sho" [famous Heian-period Japanese dictionary]), so that Ioto no miya is believed to be derived from the residence of Emperor Korei who was literally the governor of the government.

At present, a few families having a rare surname 'Ioto' (or Ando) exist centered in Nara Prefecture or Wakayama Prefecture.
(This clan is told for generations that descendants of the founder, the third prince of the seventh Emperor, Korei, however it is not exactly known which prince was that among five princes whose names are identified [Emperor Kogen, Hikosashi Katawake no Mikoto, Hikoisaseribiko no Mikoto, Hikosashima no Mikoto, and Wakatakehiko no Mikoto].)

Present condition (Palace site)

There is a shrine called Ioto-jinja Shrine (also known as Korei-jinja Shrine) in Kuroda, Tawaramoto-cho Town, Shiki County, Nara Prefecture, which is told the traditional place of Ioto no miya. However, since the shrine originally was located in precincts of Horaku-ji Temple (Shingonshu sect, founded by Prince Shotoku) in the same town as a chinju-sha shrine (Shinto shrine on Buddhist temple grounds dedicated to the tutelary deity of the area), then was transferred to the current place by the Ordinance Distinguishing Shinto and Buddhism in early Meiji period to take over ujigami (a guardian god or spirit of a particular place in the Shinto religion) of Kuroda village (confirmed by a pair of stone lantern with the inscription of the transferred year as '1770'), the present location of Ioto-jinja Shrine technically is not the palace site.

On the other hand, Horaku-ji Temple has a stone monument indicating that it is the palace site of Ioto no miya. Horaku-ji Temple had 25 buildings such as temple's halls, pagodas and cathedrals, which were all lost in 1207, and only one building (rebuilt in 1222) remains today.

Ioto-jinja Shrine enshrines a total of seven gods including Emperor Korei, and other princes and princesses, such as Yamatototohimomosohime no Mikoto (Princess Yamatototohimomosohime), Hikoisaseribiko no Mikoto (Prince Hikoisaseribiko), and Wakatakehiko no Mikoto (Prince Wakatakehiko); Taisaishikireisai (great annual festival) is held in every October 9.


Legend described later has it that Ioto no miya is a place associated with Momotaro (Peach Boy, character of a Japanese folk tale) and Himiko (shaman queen of Yamatai-Koku kingdom in ancient Japan), and if accepting the legend on faith, Momotaro and Himiko were siblings as a prince and princess of Emperor Korei, therefore Ioto no miya is also told as a birthplace of the siblings. Therefore, some people use Momotaro and Himiko, which are both popular leading characters of the legend, as mascots for tourism public relations based on the legend (leaving aside the credibility of them).

Legends about the birthplace of Momotaro

It is thought that Hikoisaserihiko no Mikoto (also known as Kibitsuhiko no Mikoto) and Wakatakehiko no Mikoto brothers, the princes of Emperor Korei, as commanders of Yamato dynasty (Shido-shogun [Generals Dispatched to Four Circuits]), toured to the Kibi Province to subdue Ura, who were the armed forces there and advanced iron making skills (they are considered as powerful local clans and cooperating groups of toraijin, i.e. settlers from overseas). Further, troops of the both princes invaded Sanuki and Izumo Provinces, and thus it is believed that the domination by Yamato dynasty was expanded. It is said, incidentally, that one of the vassals in the positions called Inukaibe (position for breeding hunting dogs and watchdogs), Sarukaibe (position for breeding monkeys), and Torikaibe (position for breeding birds), who followed the both princes on this occasion, was Inukaitakeru no Mikoto, who was told the ancestor of former prime minister Tsuyoshi INUKAI.

The view that such great successes of the both princes and a confrontational relation between Yamato dynasty and Kibi Province in those days formed the basis of later legend of Momotaro is widely accepted
It may be associated with this view; there are several traditional places of the legend of Momotaro modeled on the both princes and legends which regards Ura as Oni (demon or ogre) in Okayama Prefecture (Kibi Province) and Kagawa Prefecture (Sanuki Province) even now.

Based on these old traditions, Ioto no miya that was the home of the both princes is believed as the birthplace of Momotaro today.

In addition, the legend of Oni extermination by Emperor Korei himself and following legend are handed down around the Yamato-gawa River (also known as the Hatsuse-gawa River) flowing near Ioto no miya.
Once upon a time, when Yamato Province had floods and the Hatsuse-gawa River swollen, a big pot floated down the river and stopped in front of a shrine in Miwa.'
When local people opened the pot, there was a pretty boy in it.'
Later the boy rode a small boat to Harima Province and became Osake myojin (God of Osake).' (adapted from Razan HAYASHI, "Honcho Jinja Ko" [a study of Japanese shrine] and Kunio YANAGIDA, "Momotaro no Tanjo" [The Origins of Momotaro])

Once upon a time, when Yamato Province had floods and the Hatsuse-gawa River swollen, a big pot floated down the river and stopped in front of a shrine in Miwa. When local people opened the pot, there was a pretty boy in it. Later the boy rode a small boat to Harima Province and became Osake myojin (God of Osake). These legends are also the base that Ioto no miya is known as a place associated with Momotaro. (However, as previously described, there are the views and opinions across the country that doubt the credibility of the "Kojiki" and the "Nihonshoki" or that are different from this article about the origin the legend of Momotaro since the legends are creation in later years after all.

Legends about the birthplace of Himiko

Under the adaption of the theory that the Yamatai-koku kingdom was located in Kinki region, the theory that Yamatototohimomosohime no Mikoto, the princess of Emperor Korei, was Himiko can be widely accepted (although various opinions exist), so that Ioto no miya, the home of the Yamatototohimomosohime no Mikoto, is believed as a place associated with Himiko.
(However, especially the Yamatai-koku and Himiko's identity often became the subject of fiercer debate and the reliability is questionable as similar to the previously mentioned legend of Momotaro.)

Neighborhood area

There is a pond called Ioto-ike pond (also known as Kuroda-ike pond) next to Ioto-jinja Shrine.

In the neighborhood area, there are several relics, such as Kuroda site and Karako-Kagi site in the Yayoi period, Hashihaka-kofun Tumulus, and Kuroda Otsuka-kofun Tumulus, which is a keyhole-shaped mound, built in Kofun period (tumulus period, sixth century).

Further, the road before the shrine is told 'Taishimichi' (also known as Sujikaimichi Road), the road where Prince Shotoku commuted from Asuka to Horyu-ji Temple.


Ioto-jinja Shrine: A few minutes' walk to south (about 250 meters) from Kuroda Station (Nara Prefecture) on Kintetsu Tawaramoto Line of Kintetsu Railway
Horaku-ji Temple (the old palace site): A few minutes' walk to west (about 200 meters) from the Kuroda Station

[Original Japanese]