Mitsujo Kofun – Hiroshima | Travel Information

view of mitsujo kofun

Sitting behind the Saijo library in Higashi-Hiroshima, alongside the main road from Saijo station is the Mitsujo Kofun, a Kofun-period burial mound. The Kofun period, which lasted from about 300AD to 550AD, was known best of all for its enormous tumulus burial mounds made for its rulers, similar purpose as the pyramids in Egypt. The most famous kofun are all shaped like keyholes, but there are many different types of kofun. This site features three different styles, all made at different times during the Kofun period.

Japan has over 600 kofun scattered around the lower half of the country, however most of these aren’t maintained or excavated as they are thought to be royal tombs and are therefore sacred. However this kofun and its neighboring two have been excavated and then restored to what is believed to be their original condition. This includes the typical rings of haniwa clay pots and animals that adorn the ridges of the kofun. Haniwa are about the only forms of art that remain from the kofun period and can range from simple urns that are thought to have been used for offering purposes, to people, horses and even houses which has helped a lot with working out what sort of clothing Kofun period people used and what they lived in. Writing was bought to Japan from china near the end of the kofun period and so there are very few records dating from this period of Japanese history. (Although the first poem in the Manyonshu dates from the mid 5th century, 470BC)

The main kofun contains three burials and includes very helpful English and Japanese description plaques around the place for the curious. The main kofun dates to sometime around 400-450BC, behind it, is a smaller circular kofun with no haniwa that dates from an earlier date in the 400-450bc era and then above that a third burial dating from 500-550BC. All the excavated artifacts including some of the recovered haniwa (the ones on the mound are replicas) are on display in a small exhibit room just off the Saijo central library entrance next door. It includes several magatama (jewels shaped like claws or half of a yin-yang symbol), iron weapons, clay vessels and  a large diorama of the kofun under construction.

mound of mitsujo kofun

Access

The Mitsujo kofun complex is located either to minutes bus ride from the Saijo station (get off at the Saijo central library stop and walk to the other side of the library, its just across the road) or about 25 minutes walk, although it is a pleasant walk and there is a nice wide footpath all the way there. There are more details such as which bus to catch by the Higashi Hiroshima map in the station

Where To Stay

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Nearby Attractions

Senkoji Park

Senkoji Park, located in East Hiroshima Prefecture in a small city called ‘Onomichi’, is home to probably one of the best views in all of Japan – seriously, the camera can’t do it justice.Senkoji Park itself really does not offer too much in terms of activities. That being said, There is a fantastic view which can be attained by walking up to the observation deck at the peak of the hill the park is located on.

Job Dyer

Written By Job Dyer

Research Specialist & Field Operative, Off The Track Japan (2019-Present)

Job joined the team in February of 2019 as our Research Specialist & Field Operative. He is based around West Japan in Hiroshima Prefecture, and travels all around his region exploring all the top destinations for your entertainment and information. More By Job

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