Umeyama Tumulus (梅山古墳)

Umeyama Tumulus lies at Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture. It is designated as the burial mound of Emperor Kinmei (Hinokuma no saka Ai no Misasagi) by the Imperial Household Agency.


The tumulus is a large keyhole-shaped tomb mound with the front square part facing west and with the principal axis running exactly from east to west, whose total length was 140 meters with its rear round part being 72 meters in diameter, and it is the largest tumulus in Asuka-mura. It is also well known because a great many fuki-ishi (stones covering an old tomb) are scattered around. At present the tumulus is surrounded by moats full of water, but this is a result of the drastic reconstruction by restoration in the Bunkyu era, and before that it had been surrounded by rice fields. By the way, some people have a view that the tumulus was renovated from a double round-shaped tomb mound to a large keyhole-shaped tomb mound during this restoration.

This Umeyama Tumulus, Hirata Iwaya Tumulus, Oni no Manaita (ogre's cutting board) and Oni no Secchin (Ogre's Toilet) Tumulus, and Noguchio no Haka (Prince Noguchi's Tomb, that is Joint Mausoleum of Emperor Tenmu and Jito) have been constructed using the southern topography of the same hills, and these four tumuli are aligned from east to west.

Construction Time

It is thought that Umeyama Tumulus was constructed in the late Tumulus period, but because the excavation and research has not been carried out, it is difficult to estimate exactly when it was constructed.

Who Lies Buried There

Umeyama Tumulus is designated as the burial mound of Emperor Kinmei by the Imperial Household Agency, but there are also many theories that connect the burial mound of Emperor Kinmei to Mise Maruyama Tumulus which lies about 800 meters to the northwest of Umeyama Tumulus and is the largest tumulus in Nara Prefecture. Besides, there is an opinion that SOGA no Iname was buried in Umeyama Tumulus.

Saruishi (Monkey stone)

A stone statue called Saruishi, which is placed in the adjoining tomb of Kibitsuhime Okimi, was dug out from the rice field (Koaza Ikeda) just to the south of Umeyama Tumulus in the Edo period and had been placed beside the tumulus since then, but in the early Meiji period it was moved to the present spot.

[Original Japanese]