The First World Heritage in Osaka
News flash! As of July 6, we have a World Heritage Site in Osaka!!
Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun, Mounded Tombs of Ancient Japan located across Sakai, Fujiidera, and Habikino cities just south of Osaka city, was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for its “outstanding universal value”, a must have criteria to be included on this prestigious list.
At Last, A Long-Awaited
It’s been a long 12 years since the site was initially proposed for World Heritage inscription in 2017.
After years of ups and downs—efforts by Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun mascot Sakai City’s Haniwa Bucho (modeled after clay figures buried in kofun), introduction of kofun themed food, and several delays despite the high hopes for the inscription on the World Heritage List—the Kofungun has, finally, made the List!!
The long-awaited Osaka’s World Heritage has been born♪
What’s The Big Deal?
Kofun is an ancient mounded tomb built during the Kofun period (3rd to 6th century), usually in the shape of keyholes, scallops, squares or circles. A cluster of these tombs are called Kofungun (Kofun Group).
So, what’s so amazing about Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun? The sheer size and the number of kofun included in the group!
This group of tombs includes 49 kofuns, 11 of which are large keyhole shaped kofun. At 486 meters in length, Nintoku-tenno-ryo Kofun is the largest of the group as well as in Japan and is also said to be one of the world’s three largest ancient tombs along with the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt and the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor in China.
While it is difficult to grasp its scale on the ground—it just looks like a big round forest when standing close—you’d be surprised of its size when you see it from above.
High up in the sky, you can clearly see the keyhole shape and the many surrounding ko-fun. And, when compared to the sizes of nearby parks and houses, its expansive reach is evident.
Take A Look From Above
The observation lobby on the 21st floor of Sakai City Hall is a great place to catch this view. Going higher surely would give you a better view of the entire Kofungun but, when you overlook the Kofungun from 80 meters above ground, you can definitely get a feel of its grandness. I just think it’s precious that these tombs have been protected for more than 1,600 years since they were built!
If you want to learn more about the Kofungun, check out the Sakai City Museum which has a permanent exhibit that focuses on the history and culture of Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun and Sakai City. You might get lucky and catch a special exhibit on the Kofungun, too.
Daisen Kofun (Tomb of Emperor Nintoku)
[Access] About 27 mins walk from Exit 6 at Nakamozu Station.
[Address] Daisencho, Sakai-ku, Sakai, Osaka
Sakai City Hall Observatory Lobby
- [Access] About 40 mins walk from Exit 6 at Nakamozu Station.
OR Take Nankai Koya Line to Sakaihigashi Station; 4-minute walk from there
- [Address] 43-1 Minamikawaramachi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi
- [Website] https://www.sakai-tcb.or.jp/en/spot/detail/73
Sakai City Museum
- [Access] About 30 mins walk from Exit 6 at Nakamozu Station.
OR Take Nankai Koya Line to Mikunigaoka Station; 18-minute walk from there
- [Website] http://www.city.sakai.lg.jp/kanko/hakubutsukan/
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