Asuka village ("Asuka-mura" in
Japanese) is a
village located at the south end of Nara Basin.
It is located about 30 km south of Nara city.
Before the Japanese capital was set up in Nara city, here was the
capital in Japan.
It was the period from the late 6th century to the early 8th century.
During the period, many scattered local villages ruled by strong family
were unified gradually, and a state governed by Emperor was formed.
So this area has many ancient burial mounds as the tomb of the emperors
in the period.
Additionally, Asuka was the area where people had been living since
much earlier period.
So here is the important ruin of the earliest days of Japan.
The main area is on the east side of Kintetsu Minami-Osaka Line between
Kashihara-jingu-mae and Tsubosakayama stations, and is designated as
"Asuka Historical National Government Park".
It is about 5 km from north to south and about 3 km from east to west.
The area has gently undulating hills, and many ancient burial mounds,
ruins and temples are dotted.
To tour around this area, rental bicycle is available.
Main entrance points are Kashihara-jingu station or Asuka station of
Kintetsu Line, and there are several shops of rental bicycle.
A route bus runs. The terminal stops are also Kashihara-jingu station
and Asuka station, and it runs through central route of this area.
In this area, there are not so many restautants, cafes and shops.
So when you tour around this area, you had better provide drinks and
box lunch in advance.
Historical National Government Park official website
village official website
It is a circular burial mound, and was constucted around 700.
The diameters are 23 meters at the lower part and 18 meters at the
upper part, and the height is 5 meters.
Colorful wall paintings were found inside the stone chamber in 1972,
then it had been in the spotlight.
It is thought that this was the tomb of a person in a very high
To preserve the valuable wall paintings, the stone chamber is scheduled
to be repaired until 2017.
Ishibutai Tomb /2/
It is an ancient tomb constructed with about 30 huge stones.
The overall shape is nearly a cuboid, and there is a burial chamber in
it. We can enter the chamber.
The stones were carried from a mountain, about 3 km away from here.
total weight of the stones is over 2,300 tons.)
It is thought that this was the tomb of Soga-no-Umako (551?-626), a
strong politician in that period.
It is the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan.
It was founded around the end of the 6th century by Soga-no-Umako.
In the 8th century, the temple was moved to Nara city as Gangoji, but
the buildings were remained.
Since that, this temple had declined, but current temple were rebuilt
in 1825 by a donor in Osaka.
The copper principal image created in the 7th century is called
It is the museum in which many excavated articles and its replicas from
Asuka area are displayed.
It is a museum of the Nara Research Institute for Cultural Properties.
We can know the outline of Asuka Period.
Historical Museum Fan Club
around Takamatsuzuka Tomb
- Saru-ishi /11/
: Four stone statues with funny faces
near the Tomb of Princess Kibihime (?-643).
They were found around the Tomb of Emperor Kinmei (509-571) in 1702,
and were moved to here later.
"Saru-ishi" means "stones of monkeys". They look like monkeys.
/12/ : Remains of large
stone like a table.
The length is about 4.5 meters, the width is about 2.7 meters, and the
thickness is about 1 meter.
"Oni-no-Manaita" means "Devil's cutting board". It had been said that a
devil ate people after cooking on this board.
It is thought that it was a part of a tomb.
/13/ : Remains of large
"Oni-no-Setchin" means "Devil's lavatory". It had been said that the
devil relieved nature here.
It is thought that it was a part of the tomb same as Oni-no-Manaita.
- Kame-ishi /14/
: A large stone sculptured like a
tortoise. "Kame-ishi" means literally "Stone of tortoise".
It is unknown when and why this monument was created.
But this is popular for its humorous style.
around Ishibutai Tomb
temple /21/ : A Buddhist temple of
It is said that Prince Shotoku (574-622) was born near this temple, and
he founded this temple.
The first temple was very large, but it had declined since the 12th
Main temple was rebuilt in 1864, and the statue of Prince Shotoku has
temple /22/ : A Buddhist temple of
It is said that it was founded in the late 7th century.
There are many buildings in the precincts, and some of them were
rebuilt in the 17-19th centuries.
Itabuki-no-miya Ruin /31/ : The ruin of the
central palace in the capital of Asuka.
Around this, the central buildings were set up as the government of
This was the ruin of Itabuki-no-miya palace, and was set up from 643 to
Empress Kougyoku (594-661) lived here as the new empress, but
Soga-no-Iruka, her close aide, was killed in front of her in 645. It
was an important coup, and was a turning point in Japanese history.
/32/ : A stonework on a hill.
On the upper surface of a large and flat stone, some dishes and grooves
Some say that it was a tool to make sake, and the other say that it was
a tool to make medicine.
Around this stone, various stoneworks had been found since 2000.
Shrine /33/ : A Shinto shrine.
It is unknown that when shrine was founded, but it is true that it
existed in 686, and an ancient book says that this shrine was moved to
here in 829.
From the ancient times, this shrine was worshiped as the god of the
harmony of married couples.
So many stones like parts of male and female are enshrined in the
Kubizuka /34/ : An old monument of
When Soga-no-Iruka was killed in Itabuki-no-miya palace, it is said
that his severed hear flew to here.
It is said that it was built in the 14th century.
hill /35/ : A small hill
located northwest of Asuka area.
The highest point is at the level of 148 meters, and there is an
observatory on the hill.
We can enjoy the view of Asuka.
Scenic or Nature /
Park or Garden /
City, Town or Village /
Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine /
Museum or Laboratory /
Market or Commercial facility /
Other Building or Construction /
Historic place /
World Heritage Site
How to get to here
By Kintestsu Yoshino Line, get off at Asuka station or Kashihara-jingu
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