Kunikyo (恭仁京)

Kunikyo (also called Kuni no miya) was a place in Soraku District, Yamashiro Province that was designated as a capital for a period of time during the Nara period. It is located in what is now Kizukawa City, Kyoto Prefecture. It is also referred to as "Yamato no kuni no omiya."

Although it was designated as a national historical site of the remains of the Yamashiro Kokubun-ji Temple since July 1, 1957, the change of the place name as Kuni no miya ato/ Kunikyu seki (the remains of Kunikyo) (the remains of the Yamashiro Kokubun-ji Temple) was requested at the Council for Cultural Affairs on November 17, 2006, and the new name was announced through the official gazette on February 6, 2007. As a result, the area designated a historic site was also expanded.


After the Rebellion of FUJIWARA no Hirotsugu, the capital was transferred from Heijokyo to Kunikyo by Emperor Shomu on January 10, 741. It is said that the reason why Soraku was chosen as a place for the capital was that it was the stronghold of TACHIBANA no Moroe, who was Sadaijin (the Minister of the Left).

In September 741, the areas for Sakyo (Left Capital) and Ukyo (Right Capital) were designated, and in November of the same year, the official name 'Yamato no kuni no omiya' was decided upon and the Palace was built. Kunikyo did not see the light of day as a capital, because the construction project was called off at the end of 743 and Emperor Shomu moved to Shigaraki no Miya Palace. The capital was then moved to Naniwa-kyo in 744, and finally moved back to Heijo-kyo in 745.

Although Kunikyo was a capital for only about three years, the Imperial Decree for the Construction of Kokubun-ji Temple and Kokubun-niji Temple and the Imperial Decree for the Construction of the Great Buddha, both significant events in Japanese cultural history, were issued and carried out at this place.

Yamashiro Kokubun-ji Temple

After the capital was moved away from Kunikyo, the remains of the palaces were utilized for building Yamashiro Kokubun-ji Temple. The building of Daigokuden was used as Kon-do or the Golden Hall.

The temple occupied a large area of three blocks in the north-south direction (about 330 m) and two and a half blocks in the east-west direction (about 275 m). On the east side of Kon-do was the grounds of Goryo-jinja Shrine (in Kamo-cho), a Chinju-sha Shrine (a protecting shrine) of Kokubun-ji Temple.

The place is now a vast field, and the foundation stones of Kon-do/Daigokuden and Nanajunoto (Seven-story pagoda) remain on the grounds.


It is a thirty minute walk from Kamo Station (Kyoto Prefecture) on the Yamatoji Line.

Information about nearby spots

Kuni Elementary School (adjacent to the remains of Kunikyo)

Kaijusen-ji Temple

Jonen-ji Temple

Goryo-jinja Shrine (Kamo-cho)

[Original Japanese]