Fukuhara-kyo (Capital of Fukuhara) (福原京)

Fukuhara-kyo is the name of a capital city which TAIRA no Kiyomori wanted to establish and promoted after a plan to build Wada-kyo had ended in failure 1180 (towards the end of Heian period).


The plan was build Fukuhara-kyo in an area extending from Chuo Ward, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture to northern Hyogo Ward, and it would stand at the foot of a mountain looking down over an expanded Owada no Tomari (present-day Hyogo Port/western Kobe Port), a trading port and one of the bases of the Taira clan, where an artificial island named Kyogashima Island was to be built.

TAIRA no Kiyomori forced through his plan for the transfer of the capital, despite objections from Emperor Takakura and the Taira family, and it is said that he was aiming to establish a maritime state by expanding trade with the Sung (dynasty), and that if the city had been built, a powerful feudal government under the control of the Taira clan, a kind of 'Fukuhara Bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun)', would have been established. However, the groups of buildings of Fukuhara-kyo were completely burned down by MINAMOTO no Yoshinaka.

Imperial Visit to Fukuhara

On June 2, 1180, Emperor Antoku, the retired Emperor Takakura, and the Cloistered Emperor Goshirakawa left Kyoto on an Imperial visit to Fukuhara, Settsu Province, and an Angu (temporary lodging) was built in Fukuhara to accommodate them. The Taira clan administration further planned to establish 'Wada-kyo' in Wada, a territory which bordered on Fukuhara. Wada is the area extending from present-day South Hyogo Ward to Nagata Ward.

The plan was to build a capital with the same street plan as Heian-kyo (ancient capital and present-day Kyoto), but the land of Wada was not broad enough and the plan soon got bogged down. Proposals were then made to build the new capital in Koyano (Itami City, Hyogo Prefecture), Settsu Province and then in Inamino (Kakogawa City, Hyogo Prefecture), Harima Province but these came to nothing, and in July the Imperial Palace was temporarily set up in Fukuhara, and some roads were built and land was granted for houses to some Taira clan associates. However, the retired Emperor Takakura, who was governing by Insei (rule by the retired Emperor) in place of the Emperor Antoku who was still a young child, did not abandon Heian-kyo (ancient Kyoto), but built a rikyu (an imperial villa) in Fukuhara and insisted that a Dairi (Imperial Palace) and Hassho (eight ministries and agencies) were not needed there. TAIRA no Kiyomori countered by not moving the Dairi, personally supervising the construction of a Palace in time for the Niiname-sai festival (ceremonial offering by the Emperor of newly-harvested rice to the deities) in November and building the Hassho and other government offices in the following two years.

Then in November, Kiyomori gave the palace, which he had built in the image of the Imperial Palace, to the Emperor, and from the 17th through 20th held the Gosechi (annual court ceremony of girls music) part of the Niiname-sai festival in Fukuhara (a new Niiname-sai festival was held in Kyoto), and the Emperor returned to Kyoto on the 23rd. It is said the Emperor's return to Kyoto was to deal with the army of the Minamoto clan and was decided by Kiyomori.

Major historic sites

Heisho-Kokubyo (a monument to mourn the Bodhi of TAIRA no Kiyomori) (in the precincts of Nofuku-ji Temple)
Kiyomori's grave mound
Memorial of Kaya-no-gosho ruins (in the precincts of Yakusen-ji Temple)
Memorial of Yukimi-gosho remains (remains of TAIRA no Kiyomori's villa)
Memorial of Emperor Antoku Anzaisho remains (remains of TAIRA no Yorimori's villa, in the precincts of Arata Hachiman-jinja Shrine)

[Original Japanese]