[t Kushiyama-kofun Tumulus (a candy-wrap-shaped tumulus in the latter half of the early Kofun period (櫛山古墳)

Kushiyama-kofun Tumulus is a candy-wrap-shaped tumulus (keyhole shape with one more handle) constructed in the latter half of the early Kofun period located in Yanagimoto-cho, Tenri City, Nara Prefecture.


As one of the Yanagimoto-kofun Tumuli Cluster, Kushiyama-kofun Tumulus abuts on the back circular part of Andonyama-kofun Tumulus and is on the upper hill toward the mountains. It is a candy-wrap-shaped tumulus which is unique in shape. As for the tumuli with this unique shape, there are Tatetsuki-iseki Tumulus in Okayama Prefecture and Nekozuka-kofun Tumulus of the Iwase Oyama-kofun Tumuli Cluster in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture. Kushiyama-kofun Tumulus and Nekozuka-kofun Tumulus were constructed in the early Kofun period, but in the latter half of the same period, which corresponds to about 100 years later than Tatetsuki-iseki Tumulus was constructed.

Scale and shape

Kushiyama-kofun Tumulus has the irregular shape of an ordinary keyhole-shaped tumulus with another short protruding square-shaped part added to its back circular part of the front square part, not like Nekozuka which has two protruding square-shaped parts of almost the same size. Its whole length is 152 meters and the diameter of its middle circular part approximately 90 meters. It is a candy-wrap-shaped tumulus with a front square part on the west of its middle circular part and a back square part on the east of it. The middle circular part and the back square part were terraced three-tiered and the front square part two-tiered. It is understood that the soil over the whole burial mound was covered by approximately 30-centimeter fukiishi (a stone covering an old tomb). While the middle circular part is almost perfect circle, the front square part is regular square without the frontal expanse and the arc shape in front. It is not surrounded by moat. The back square part is short and slightly expanded in front. The drainage facilities were provided, and a 5-meter long, 3.4-meter wide tunnel was detected.

Burial facilities

At the time of the construction by the Japanese army of an airport in an open field nearby during the Pacific War, a part of Kushiyama-kofun Tumulus was messed up by digging. In 1943, an investigation was conducted as a cleaning-up work.

A 7.1-meter long, 1.4-meter wide vertical stone chamber was discovered on the top of the middle circular part, in which a part of an assembled slab Nagamochi-gata (chest-shaped) stone coffin was detected.

In the back square part, there was no burial facility but Saishi (religious service) facilities. After the burial was finished, a religious service was performed by throwing intentionally broken various articles for daily use, earthen Magadama (comma-shaped beads) and Kudatama (cylindrical beads) together with pebbles into a large hole dug in the ground.

Burial goods

Following items were excavated from the site of Saishi facilities in the back square part: Fragments of Hekigyoku (jasper) stone wristbands which are called Ishikushiro (stone bracelet), Sharinseki (carved stone objects with smooth radial fluting), and Kuwagata-ishi (hoe-shaped bracelets), fragments of clay artifacts copied from those three kinds of Hekigyoku products, Kudatama made of Hekigyoku, fragments of iron swords and Tosu (small knife), iron axes, relics called ancestral tablets shaped stone products which are presumed to be sample dolls' wreck, and Haji potteries including Takatsuki (small one-legged tray for one person) and jars. Since vast number of remaining Hekigyoku were excavated after the digging without any plans, such as 107 Ishikushiro, 105 Sharinseki and 23 Kuwagata-ishi counted by their original unbroken forms, it can be presumed how large the numbers Hekigyoku were used.

From a layer of accumulated gravels in the back square part, a Kuwagataishi-shaped clay artifact decorated with Chokko-mon (arc and straight-line pattern) was excavated.

Information for nearby spots

Mausoleum of Emperor Sujin
Mausoleum of Emperor Keiko
Tashiraka no Himemiko Fusumada-ryo (The Mausoleum of Tashiraka no Himemiko)
Kurozuka-kofun Tumulus
Tenri Municipal Kurozuka-kofun Tumulus Museum
Chogaku-ji Temple

[Original Japanese]