Zuto (the earthen tower in Takabatake Town, Nara City) (頭塔)

Zuto is the earthen tower in Takabatake Town, Nara City. It has a seven-step pyramid structure of 30 meters on one side, 10 meters high. It was designated as a national historical site in 1922.


According to the record of "Todaiji Yoroku" (The Digest Record of Todai-ji Temple), Jitchu, a priest in the Nara period, built it. It is described as 'doto' (earthen tower) there. On the other hand, there is a tradition that it was Genbo's Kubi-zuka (burial mound for heads) since "Shichidaiji Junrei Shiki" (Private Journal of a Pilgrimage to the Seven Great Temples) in the Heian period. The sound of 'doto' changed to 'zuto' and with a relation of the theory of Genbo's Kubi-zuka, Chinese character '頭塔' (head tower) is thought to have been applied.

13 stone statues of Buddha of the ones on each step were designated as Important Cultural Property in 1977, and additionally 9 of those discovered in the later excavation, were designated as such in 2002.

After the completion of excavation and research by Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties from 1986, the north side was reconstructed and kept and the south side was kept same as the form before the excavation. It is located in Takabatake on the east side of Naramachi, and is currently managed by local citizen, so we cannot visit it without opening the gate which is locked.

As the remain which is similar in the form in Japan, there is 'doto' seen in Ono-dera Temple in Sakai City.

Designated cultural property

As follows, 22 stone Buddhist images are called 'Zuto Sekibutsu' (Zuto stone Buddhist image) and were designated as Important Cultural Property in a lump.


921 Takabatake-cho, Nara City

[Original Japanese]