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Decorated Tombs

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I had spent a time at Yoshinogari; I was hurry my way Yamaga-onsen. Just passing Yame City, sign of "Iwatoyama-kofun" on the roadside attracted my attention. Though there was getting dark, "I must go !" I turned the wheel to the right.


This ruin site was belong to the King of Iwai in 6th century

During the Kofun Period (ca.300 - 710) large mound tombs were built for the baronial family. At Kyusyu district, they had characteristic changed as "Soshoku-kofun" and "Stone-man & Stone-horse" culture.

Stone-man & Stone-horse

Around the volcano Aso, easy carved tuff is produced. They say that Stone-man and Stone-horse were made for tomb furnishings instead of "Haniwa (clay object)" at Kyusyu region.


In 527, the King of Iwai was rebelled against Yamato imperial court. I think it was not a revolt; it maybe was the war between Kyusyu court and Yamato.

Anyway, they were no produced after death of Iwai.

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Yamaga Municipal Museum

There are many mural-decorated tombs in Yamaga area. Yamaga Municipal Museum is placed the gateway to "Kodai-no-mori". It is ancient sites include some decorated tombs as "Chibusan-kofun".

Yamaga Municipal Museum

Exhibitions are the artifact from the tombs

Open : 09:00 to 16:30
Closed : Mondays(the following day when Monday is holiday)

Fees : Adult 200yen, under17 50yen

TEL : 0968−43−1145

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"Chibusan-kofun" has one of the most vivid wall painting coffin in this area. The tomb, a keyhole-shaped barrow with a shallow moat around it, is built in the 6th century. That is located 5minutes by car from Yamaga Municipal Museum.


"Chibusan-kofun" is admit to enter twice a day, 10:00 and 14:00.
You must appliciation at the Museum before the time

Wall painting of Chibusan-kofun

Immediately inside the chamber, I was wrapped up darkness and moisture air. The characteristic of humidity reminded me of "Pyramid of Kukulkan" at Chichen Itza in Mexico.


There is the house style stone coffin with decorated.
"Chibusan" means "God of the Breast", this name is derive from the motif of circular painted.


"Obusan-kofun" is within striking distance from "Chibusan-kofun". This round barrow surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped bank. The name "Obusan" is derives from its overall shape.


"Obusan" means "God of easy delivery". Since ancient times the tomb has been worship as the safety childbirth. What followed must be left to the imagination of you.

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Soshoku-kofun Museum

There are less than 500 decorated tombs in Japan. About 200 of them are found in Kumamoto Prefecture, especially 70 percent of them located along the Kikuchi River Basin. This Museum was established in 1992 for introduce the "Soshoku-kofun".

Soshoku-kofun Museum

The man is four times as big as the one at "Chibusan-kofun" in Yamaga. The statue was constructed as a symbol of "Higo-Kodaino-Mori" and the Museum.

(quote the leaflet)


Exhibition hall

The basement is the special exhibition room that show us full-size replica of decorated tombs, stone-coffins and stone-statue. Magic Vision and For References sections will be help you to understanding of a "Soshoku-kofun".

Ovservation Tower

Iwabara-kofun group

You can see the "Iwabara-kofun group" from the Observation Tower
The view of the Round Barrow group is similar to a scenery of Kyongyu in Korea.

Open : 09:30 to 17:00 (enter by 16:30)
Closed : Mondays(the following day when Monday is holiday)/Dec.25th to Jan.4th

Fees : Adult 410yen, University student 250yen under17 free

TEL : 0968-36-2151

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