Takarazuka Kofun (Mie)

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Boat-shaped haniwa from Takarazuka Kofun

The Takarazuka Kofun (宝塚古墳?) is group of two keyhole-shaped kofun burial mounds located approximately three kilometers to the south of the center of the city of Matsusaka, Mie Prefecture Japan. They are protected as a National Historic Site by the Japanese government.


Located on a hill measuring roughly one square kilometer, the site was excavated in 1928 by a team from Mie University under the direction of Dr Toshio Sato. The team found a total of 88 kofun burial mounds, of which 26 were relatively intact. The site was named the Hanaoka Kofun Group (花岡古墳群?) and was proclaimed a National Historic Site in 1932. However, by 1965 encroaching urban development had destroyed 81 of the kofun, and a movement was begun to preserve the remaining seven. However, in the twenty years it took to obtain official injunctions against further destruction and urban development, another three of the remaining kofun were destroyed. Despite official protection, a road was built directly through the site in the 1980s, destroying another two of the remaining four kofun, and physically separating the remaining pair.

Takarazuka Kofun No.1[edit]

This is a keyhole-shaped tomb, with a total length of 111.0 metres (364.2 ft), making it the largest found in Ise Province. The tomb was unusual in that it had a small rectangular stage extending from one side, presumably for ceremonial purposes. The tomb is attributed to Otokazuchi-no-mikoto (乙加豆知命?), the deified progenitor of the local Itaka clan and dates from the early 5th century AD. The kofun was re-evcavated by the Mie Prefectural Board of Education from 1999-2000, and numerous haniwa and other funerary objects were uncovered. These, as well as the artifacts uncovered in the 1928 excavations, are preserved at the Matsusaka City Cultural Center. Of especial note is a large boat-shaped haniwa, which is registered by the government as an Important Cultural Property of Japan, as well as haniwa in the shapes of single and multistory houses and of men in armor.

Takarazuka Kofun No.2[edit]

Slightly smaller than Kofun No.2, this tomb is described as “scallop-type” as its keyhole shape is not fully developed. The round burial chamber has a diameter of 89 metres (292 ft) and a height of 10.5 metres (34 ft). The extent of the rectangular portion is uncertain due to partial destruction of the site by the construction of nearby modern residences, despite its official protected status. As with Kofun No.1, numerous haniwa have been uncovered, and the tomb dates from the early 5th century AD.

Takarazuka Kofun No.2

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Coordinates: 34°33′00″N 136°30′55″E / 34.55000°N 136.51528°E / 34.55000; 136.51528