Brief description of Kitora Tumulus

109The size of Kitora Tumulus indicates construction at the end of the Kofun period.

The Asuka period was a time of simplified burials.
Compared to previous eras, tombs became smaller in scale and their contents simpler.

Simplified burials meant the simplification of funerary acts as a whole. Asuka period tombs thus had smaller mounds compared to those of previous times. Stone chambers also became smaller, compact and lightweight wooden coffins replaced the heavy stone ones used until then, and burial goods changed while declining in quantity.

◎A comparison of the sizes of Daisen Tumulus (Emperor Nintoku’s mausoleum) and Kitora Tumulus

First half to the mid-5th century Daisen Tumulus (Emperor Nintoku’s mausoleum)

Shape: Keyhole-shaped mound
Size: Length, 486 m; height, 35 m
Coffin material: Stone Tomb perimeter: Moated

End of the 7th to the start of the 8th centuries Kitora Tumulus

Shape: Circular mound
Size: Diameter, 9.4 m (top tier) and 13.8 m ( bottom tier); height, just over 4 m (estimated)
Coffin material: Wood
Perimeter: No moat

The Kofun (Tomb) period, which began with huge keyhole-shaped mounds, came to an end around the time Kitora Tumulus was built.