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Burial Mound Mania
- Adam Blackrock
Adam Blackrock first came to Japan in 1996 for the comics and giant robots, but stayed for the kofun (ancient burial mounds). The longer he stays, the more he realises how much he has yet to learn about the country, its culture, and its history. On his days off, he can often be found exploring a kofun or other archaeological site.
Location: Gifu-ken, Ibi-gun, Ōno-chō, Ōaza No
Designated a National Historical Site in 1957, the No group is one of a number of kofun groups,
with several burial mounds concentrated within a small area, that can be found in this part of
Thought to have been built between the late-5th and early-6th centuries as the
tombs of members of powerful local families, the No group currently consists of nine mounds
within an area of around 600 metres. (The remains of a further eight tombs have been confirmed
through archaeological excavations.) As such, this is a great place to see several fairly
well-preserved burial mounds with minimal physical exertion.
The remaining mounds, situated among persimmon orchards and rice paddies, consist of seven
keyhole-shaped tombs, a scallop-shaped tomb, and a square-shaped tomb. The largest is mound
Number 4, the keyhole-shaped Noborikoshi Tumulus (登越古墳), at around 83 metres long,
perhaps also the best preserved as the mound’s outline is still clearly visible.
The colder months are probably the best time to visit, as the grass and weeds that are left to
grow over the mounds during the warmer months are cut in the autumn by the locals,
making it easier to see the form of each mound.
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