Kiyotosaku Oketsu Cave Tumulus (a horizontal decorated cave tumulus in Fukushima Prefecture) (清戸迫横穴)

Kiyotosaku Oketsu is a horizontal decorated cave tumulus located in Oaza Shinzan, Futaba-machi, Futaba County, Fukushima Prefecture. There remain mural paintings of persons, animals and a spiral on the inner wall. It was designated as a national historic site.

Discovery of the decorative mural paintings

Kiyotosaku Oketsu Cave is one of more than 300 horizontal decorated cave tumuli cluster and officially called 'Kiyotosaku 76th Oketsu Cave Tomb.'

At the 76th Tomb, one of the round tumulus and a horizontal cave tombs which were known since ancient times to be existing on the Kiyotosaku Hills, excavation researches were conducted in November 1967, using the opportunity of a site preparation work for a new school building of the Futaba Municipal Minami Elementary School. In November of the same year, a mural painting drawn with Bengara (iron oxide red pigment) was discovered in the 76th Oketsu Cave Tomb when some of the horizontal cave tombs on the site were excavated and researched.

The horizontal cave tomb has its openings on the southeast side and a painting of Uzumaki-mon (a decorative spiral pattern) in the center of which two persons and others on both sides were drawn on the inner wall of the burial chamber with a total length of approximately 2.6 meters. This mural painting is the northernmost among the decorative mural paintings discovered so far.

Furthermore, it was designated as a national historic site in November 1967 of the following year and is presently preserved in the premise of the Futaba Municipal Minami Elementary School.

Structure of a horizontal cave tomb and mural paintings

The cave is 3.15 meters long from the entrance to the inner wall, 1.56 meters high and 2.34 meters wide on the inner wall. As for the objects of the mural painting, a person on the left hand side of the painting wears a hat and Mizura (an ancient hair style, bunch of hair is wrapped round and hangs beside the ears), Hakama (formal men's divided skirt) and shoes. What the Uzumaki-mon pattern drawn in the center symbolizes has not been known. A person on the right of the Uzumaki-mon wears Kabuto (helmet) raising its left hand and take a horse along on its left side. In addition, a person shooting an arrow, a wild boar, a deer and a dog and so on are drawn.

Furthermore, it is likely that this horizontal cave tomb was constructed in the early seventh century.

Open to the public

Kiyotosaku Oketsu Cave is presently preserved under the covering roof and opens to the public only limited number of days due to the problem of maintenance. It is open to the public on the second Sunday in April, May, July and October from 9 am to noon and from 1 pm to 3 pm.

[Original Japanese]