FEATURE

Ancient Burial Mounds in Fukuoka! (West Area)

This article features the mounds in the Nishi Ward area of Fukuoka City. A number of mounds were found in the neighborhood of Imajuku, and they are collectively called, “The Imajuku Kofun Group”. Visitors can enjoy exploring the numerous mounds in the area, going from one to the next.

 

Explore a Beautiful Roadside Burial Mound

大塚古墳

Otsuka Kofun as seen from the front.

Otsuka Kofun, one of the burial mounds in Imajuku, has a distinctly keyhole-shaped mound with a full length of 65 meters and a height of 6.5 meters. It is entirely covered in greenery since grass was planted after its restoration, which is different from the original construction. It is thought to have been built in the late 6th century.

Otsuka Kofun

  • West, Itoshima Area

Take a JR train bound for Karatsu from Meinohama Station, get off at Imajuku Station, and walk 13 minutes.

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A Giant Burial Mound with a Double-size Stone Coffin

丸隈山古墳

Marukumayama Kofun, whose stone chamber is open at the back.

When you walk another 25 minutes towards Yudameike reservoir to the west of Otsuka Kofun, you will find Marukumayama Kofun. Built in the early 5th century, it is 85 meters long and 8 meters tall, one of the largest in Fukuoka City. You can go up the stone stairs at the front of the mound.

丸隈山古墳_石段

Stone stairs leading up to the top of Marukumayama Kofun (on a festival day)

There is an open area at the top of the stairs, and the tip of the burial mound can be seen protruding out of it. The stone chamber at the rear of the mound is open to give visitors a view of the interior.

丸隈山古墳_石室

There is a double-size stone coffin inside the stone chamber! Is this coffin for a married couple? The surrounding wall where flat stones were piled has traces of Bengara, a red dye used for painting.

The Kanzeon Festival is held on August 17th every year on the top of the hill mound, where dances using a colorful lion are performed. On the day of the festival, Myoshoji Temple near the mound displays artifacts found in the mound such as copper mirrors and Haniwa (clay figures). The festival also features an array of food stalls on the street towards Susenji Station, and there is a fireworks display at 7:45 p.m. that night. (In case of rain, fireworks will be delayed one day.)

Marukumayama Kofun

  • West, Itoshima Area

Take a JR train bound for Karatsu from Meinohama Station, get off at Susenji Station, and walk 10 minutes.

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Explore a Burial Mound in the Forest

兜塚古墳

The front part of Kabutozuka Kofun, now gone, was thought to be located here.

Next is Kabutozuka Kofun, which you will find in the woods after a 20-minute walk towards the mountains from Marukumayama Kofun.

兜塚古墳_石室

The stone chamber is open, but has no stone coffin.

It was built in the late 5th century. The mound seems to have been relatively large, as the diameter of the back circular part is 43 meters and approximately 6 meters high. The stone chamber here is also open, but compared to Marukumayama Kofun, it has a low ceiling and the stone walls are roughly-constructed, making for a very different atmosphere.

 

These three burial mounds of the Imajuku Kofun Group each have their own unique shape. Enjoy seeing for yourself what makes each mound special.

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