西都原古墳群

Saitobaru kofungun - Saitobaru Burial Mounds


Useful Information

Location: Saito. From Miyazaki City via Route 219. From Higashi Kyushu Expressway Saito IC. (32°7′14.95″N 131°23′17.84″E)
Open: All year Tue-Sun, Hol 10-18, last entry 17:30.
Closed 29-DEC to 04-JAN.
[2020]
Fee: free.
[2020]
Classification: SubterraneaCave Tomb
Light: electric
Dimension:
Guided tours:
Photography:
Accessibility:
Bibliography:
Address: Miyazaki Prefectural Saitobaru Archaeological Museum, No.5670 Aza Saitobaru West, Oaza, Saito City 881-0005, Tel:+81-983-41-0041, Fax:+81-983-41-0051.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

1952 designated by the national government as a special historical site.
APR-2004 Saitobaru Archaeological Museum opened to the public.

Description

Japan has a huge amount of burial mounds with underground burial chambers. This is probably the most important and biggest of those mounds. The site has numerous mounds and a new archaeological museum. The Saitobaru Tomb Area extends 4.2km from north to south and 2.6km from east to west, more than 58ha. Between the 3rd and 7th century 319 tombs were built here. Many are circular, the bigger ones are keyhole-shaped.

The most impressive underground chambers is the Underground Tomb No.4 from the late 5th century at Saitobaru Burial Mound No.111. It is 5.45m long and so far the biggest in Southern Kyushu. It contained iron armors, swords, arrowheads, a bronze mirror, and glass beads. The burial hill on top was built a few decades later, has a diameter of 29m, and has another shallow burial on the top of the mound.

The second interesting mound is Saitobaru Burial Mound No.206 (Oni No Iwaya Kofun). It is from the late 6th century and has a diameter between 36m and 33m. Inside is a 12.4m long stone chamber with a corridor. This is actually not an underground chamber, it was built with huge rocks and then covered by the mound. The chamber contained haji potteries, earrings, small swords, and iron arrowheads.