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亀塚古墳 Kameduka-kofun Kamezuka Tomb

Jp En

Kamezuka Tomb is located at the eastern end of Niyuu Plateau which is on the left bank of the estuary of Niyuu River that runs through Sakanoichi Town, Ooita, Ooita Prefecture.
The tomb is a keyhole-shaped tumulus with the front facade facing southwards. It is thought to be built in the early 5th century during the Tumulus period. There are scores of other burial mounds nearby and the whole area is now recognized as a Kamezuka Tomb Cluster.
The tomb is built on three levels, and has a total length of 120m, with its rounded rear part 64m wide. It is known as the largest keyhole-shaped tumulus in Oita Prefecture.
In ancient times, the area was controlled by the Amabenotami people who ruled Bungo Channel, traveling and trading freely through it, leading to a theory that Kamezuka Tomb belongs to the head of Amabenotami.
In 1996, the tomb was designated as a historic location and excavation began. More than 150 artifacts were found there including Magatama, earthenware, glass beads, swords and compasses.
After the excavation, the area was restored as a park with replica Haniwa burial mound figurines, so visitors can imagine the ancient times in their heyday.
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奈良 若草山 Nara Wakakusa-yama Wakakusayama

Jp En

Wakakusayama in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, is the 33 ha. hill rising 342 m above sea level. As three round hills stand in a row, it is also called “Mikasayama (three sedge hats mountain). On the top of Wakakusayama lies the Uguisuzuka Kofun (an ancient Imperial tomb). Built in around the 5th century, it is one of the largest kofuns in Japan. The whole mountain is covered with beautiful grass and it is closed for the greater part of the year to protect the grass except the certain periods of time in spring and fall. The view from the top of the hill can command wonderfully a whole view of a Nara City. It is one of the Newly Selected Japan’s Three Finest Night Views. The Yamayaki festival (the turf fire festival) held on the day before Adults Day is dynamic and nationally famous.
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叡福寺 Eifukuji Eifukuji Temple

Jp En

Eifukuji Temple is known as the site of the kofun (tomb) of Prince Shotoku. It is one of the New Saigoku Pilgrimage of 33 Temples, which was newly selected based on Prince Shotoku’s idea of “harmony” as a priority over all other virtues. In 724, after the death of the prince, the emperor Shomu ordered to build a temple to repose the soul of Prince Shotoku. The temple was burned down by the attack of Nobunaga Oda during the Warring States period, but it was rebuilt by Hideyoshi Toyotomi. If you go up the stone steps, you will see the South Gate. Walk through the gate, and then you will see the houtou (a treasure pagoda), the main hall, and the Shoryo-den (a memorial hall of Prince Shotoku) on your left. In the back of the precinct is the Prince Shotoku’s tomb. Shoryo-den is a designated Important Cultural Property. The principal image worshipped inside is said to be Prince Shotoku’s life-size statue when he was 16. It is said to have been placed in the ancient Imperial Palace in Kyoto but donated to this temple by the emperor Gotoba in 1187. Around the temple there are a lot of places associated with Prince Shotoku. You will be impressed by the length of the history all through which people have paid respect for the Prince.
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遠見塚古墳 Toomizuka-kofun Toomizuka Kofun

Jp En

Toomizuka Kofun in Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, is a keyhole-shaped kofun built from the end of 4th century to the early 5th century. With a total length of 110 m and a height of 6.5 m, it is the 5th largest kofun in the Tohoku region. It is designated as a Historic Site by the national government.

The characteristic of this keyhole-shaped kofun is that the square front part is extremely lower than the round rear part. The kofun is surrounded with an irregular-shaped moat, which is about 10 to 40 m wide. The number of burial accessories is extremely small for the size of the kofun. Only 1 quartz cylindrical jewel, 4 glass balls and 18 combs made of lacquered bamboo were excavated.

The half of the round rear part was destroyed when the U.S. Air Force expanded its Kasumime Air Base. The kofun site is converted into a park now. The excavated articles are preserved and displayed at Sendai City Museum.
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勘八峡 Kanpachi-kyou Kanpachi Gorge

Jp En

Kanpachi Gorge is a scenic spot extending 2.6 km from the Hirato Bridge to Koshido Dam in the mid-stream of the Yahagi River in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture. It is counted as one of the ten scenic spots in Aichi Prefecture.

Before the dam was constructed, the torrent ran through the sheer cliffs with oddly-shaped stones and rocks. It used to be famous for rafting to carry lumbers to lumber dealers’ shops in Fuso Town and the lumberyard in Dodo Town in the down stream of the river. A lot of historic sites including groups of kofun are dotting around the gorge.

Surrounded with cherry trees and azalea trees, the dam lake is visited by a lot of people in the blooming seasons. It is also a popular spot for canoeing as well as for boating and fishing. Its clear water is suitable for various outdoor activities.
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山前遺跡 Yamamae-iseki Yamamae Ruins

Jp En

Yamamae Ruins spreading on the south slopes of the terraced land located between the Naruse River and the Eai River in Misato Town, Miyagi Prefecture, are the complex of the colony ruins built from the early to mid-Jomon period and from the Kofun to Heian periods. The ruins site is nationally designated as a Historic Site.

From the Jomon ruins, pit dwellings and shell mounds were found. The colony of the Kofun period and the large moat surrounding the colony were also found. Wooden fork heads, wooden blocks for beating cloth, thrusting sticks, bamboo baskets were excavated from the moat. Other ruins of colonies and relics in the Nara through Heian periods were also excavated. It is considered to be an academically important historic site, which had been used for thousands of years.

The ruins site has been converted into a history park and is open to the public.
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火の国まつり Hi-no-kuni-matsuri Hinokuni Festival

Jp En

Hinokuni (Land of Fire) Festival is held in Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture from August 11 to 13 every year. Being nicknamed “Land of Fire,” Kumamoto Prefecture has a lot of history and folklore pertaining to “fire” including the Shiranui (Unknown Fire) legend concerning Emperor Keiko, the legendary hero Hinokimi (King of Fire Country) in the Kofun period (3rd to 6th centuries) and the fire mountain Mt, Aso. Hinokuni Festival was first held in 1978 as an event to cerebrate this land of fire.

On the first day of the festival, the fire ignition ceremony is held at Kinpo-zan Youth Outdoor Learning Center. The fire is then brought to the torch at the symbol tower placed in the Kumamoto Castle ruins site. It is called “Fire of Hope” and keeps on burning during the festival.

The main event is the colorful rhythmic Otemoyan Grand Dance, in which as many as 6,000 citizens wind through the streets of the downtown area, dancing to a famous and happy folksong “Otemoyan (Did you get married?)” and the lilt music of “Samba Otemoyan.”
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群馬 榛名山 Gunma Haruna-san Mt. Haruna

Jp En

Mt. Haruna (1,449 m) is an active volcano in Harunako-cho, Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture. Together with Mt. Akagi and Mt. Myogi, it is one of the Three Mountains in Jomo (present-day Gunma Prefecture). The volcano has a summit caldera, which contains over fifteen peaks including the symmetrical cone of Haruna-Fuji, along with a crater lake, Lake Haruna. Although it has been inactive for a long time, it eruppted many times from the 5th to the 6th centuries. At Kuroimine Ruins in Shibukawa City at the eastern foot of the mountain, the intact remains of dwellings in the late Kofun  period (A.D. 300-700) were excavated under the 2 m deposition of volcanic ashes.

The mountain itself had long been worshipped as the deity that symborizes the town, and it has Haruna Shrine and Mizusawa Kannon Temple inside the mountain area. There also remain many legends and folk tales, which include the tales of the Giant Daidarabocch and the well that was dug by Kobodaishi. There are a lot of hot springs around the mountain including Ikaho Hot Springs.
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