Brief description of Kitora Tumulus

115Various tumulus shapes

The shapes and sizes of tombs varied according to the age, the persons interred, and so forth, but they all had burial facilities inside a mound made by piling soil or stones.

Keyhole-shaped tombs
The 44 largest tombs in Japan are all keyhole-shaped.
Gojono Maruyama Tumulus in Kashihara City is of this type.

Square tombs
This type was built throughout the Kofun (Tomb) period.
Miyakozuka Tumulus, located nearby Ishibutai Tumulus, is of this type.

Round tombs
This type is seen in large numbers throughout Japan. The size ranges from 2–3 m in diameter to over 100 m. Kitora Tumulus is of this type.

Dome-shaped, square-based tombs
This unusual type consists of a round mound placed on top of a square tomb. It was made around the end of the Kofun period. Ishibutai Tumulus is thought to have been of this type.

Octagonal tombs
This is another type built near the end of the Kofun period. It is seen in the Kinki region where it was used for tombs of the imperial family; the mausoleum of Emperor Tenmu and Empress Jito is of this type.