The number of Unesco World Heritage Sites in Japan has increased to 23 with the latest addition of two tumulus clusters in Osaka Prefecture known as Mozu-Furuichi. This collection of ancient burial sites consists of 49 tombs of various shapes and sizes, all dating back between the late fourth to late fifth centuries. They are a legacy of the sophisticated socio-political structures of that bygone period while also showcasing a complex burial and funerary system unique to East Asian cultures.
The Daisen Kofun mausoleum (pictured top) of Emperor Nintoku from the Mozu cluster is easily the most recognisable. It is not just the largest keyhole-shaped mound in Japan but also one of the largest mounded tombs in the world. In fact, Mozu cluster in itself is expansive, covering a 2km radius in Sakai City.
The Furuichi cluster is equally as sprawling. The site is spread out over a 2km radius across Fujiidera City and Habikino City. Here you’ll find the 425m-long mausoleum of Emperor Ojin, the second largest burial mound in the country.
The Mozu-Furuichi tumulus clusters are the first Unesco World Heritage Site in Osaka Prefecture. For more information, check the Sakai City official site.