Shinjo Futazuka-kofun Tumulus (a tumulus in Katsuragi City, Nara Prefecture) (新庄二塚古墳)

Shinjo Futazuka-kofun Tumulus is a tumulus in Katsuragi City, Nara Prefecture (former Shinjo Town, Kitakatsuragi County) and is designated as a national historic site. The tumulus is known for its feature of having three different types of horizontal stone chambers in one tumulus, and is also called Zenitorizuka.


The tumulus is a large keyhole-shaped mound, constructed by dividing the tip of the hill ridge. It's located at an altitude of about 200 meters at the foot of Mt. Katsuragi, and there is a panoramic view of Yamato Basin in the east.

The mound has a two stage structure, and its total length is 60 meters. The back circular part is 36 meters in diameters and 10 meters high, and there is a narrow terrace on the western side of the narrowest part. The height of its back square part is over 10 meters and since it was mounded to make a stone chamber also in the back square part, it has a rounded shape like two round barrows were put together. There is no clear surrounding moats, but the west side of the tumulus is leveled nearly 10 meters wide, and the east side of the sunken rice field is considered to be the remain of a dry moat which shows the area of the tumulus.

The horizontal stone chamber of the back circular part was opened and known since early time, but by the excavation and research in 1958, it was discovered that there were also horizontal stone chambers in the back square part and the western narrow terrace. Nara National Museum houses the discovered artifacts.

From the analysis of the artifacts, the tumulus was believed to be constructed around mid-sixth century, the late Kofun period (tumulus period).

Burial facilities

The stone chamber in the back circular part
The stone chamber is with ryosode-style (a stone chamber with the passage connected the center of the burial chamber wall), and the total length is 16.7 meters. The burial chamber is 6.73 meters long, 2.98 meters wide and 4.1 meters high, and it opens to the south. A drain ditch was made at the passage part. It is believed to have housed a stone coffin made of tuff, but had already been destroyed so the detail is unclear. It was opened since early times, and from excavation and research, gilt bronze parts of flower-shaped seats, harnesses, iron arms, farming tools, and beads were found.

The stone chamber in the front square part
The stone chamber is katasode-style (stone chamber with the passage connected the side in the burial chamber wall), and the total length is 9 meters. The burial chamber is 3.9 meters long, 1.7 meters wide and 1.9 meters high, and only the bottom of the combined style stone coffin made of tuff remains. Harnesses, farming tools, and hollow center beads made of gold and silver were found.

The stone chamber in the narrow terrace
The stone chamber at the narrow terrace has a characteristic style which is seen in some part of Korean Peninsula. The stone chamber is musode-style (a stone chamber which passage is connected indistinguishably from the burial chamber) and the total length is 7.82 meters. The burial chamber is 4.48 meters long, 1.35 meters wide and 1.26 meters high. The burial chamber was made lower (0.9 meters) than the passage, and this makes it unique.

From the result of the excavation and research, natsumedama (jujube- shaped bead) made of amber, iron arms, and farming tools were found as well as sueki (unglazed ware) and Haji pottery. Not having been robbed, a total of 118 burial goods were found crammed in the stone chambers and this led a theory that it was a stone chamber for burial goods. However, there was two meters long space in between the burial goods, and a wooden coffin was considered to be placed.

Surrounding sites and facilities

The Museum, History of Katsuragi: Some of the artifacts and a diorama of the tumulus are shown.

Yashikiyama-kofun Tumulus (national historical site)

Fuse-jo Castle remains

[Original Japanese]