Takamatsuzuka Tumulus and Kitora Tumulus

Overview of Takamatsuzuka Tumulus

(1) Location

Asuka Village, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture

(2) Discovery

The full-color tumulus mural was discovered for the first time in Japan on March 21, 1972.

(3) Special Historic Site designation

The entire tumulus was designated as a Special Historic Site on April 23, 1973.

(4) National Treasure designation

The mural was designated as a National Treasure on April 17, 1974.

(5) Overview

The tumulus was built between the end of the 7th century and the early 8th century and features the mural of a constellation chart, images of the sun and the moon, four divine creatures, and groups of figures (female and male figures) on the walls inside the stone chamber (D2.6m x W1.9m x H1.1m).

Photos from the time of discovery (1972)

Recent photos (as of September 2006)

Overview of Kitora Tumulus

(1) Location

Oaza Abeyama, Asuka Village, Takaichi-gun, Nara Prefecture

(2) Designation

Designated as a Historic Site on July 31, 2000.
Designated as a Special Historic Site on November 24, 2000.

(3) Area

Approximately 4,381 square meters

(4) Overview

Kitora Tumulus features a mural from the end of the 7th century. The constellation chart on the ceiling is the oldest existing example in East Asia. This is the first of its kind in which all four divine creatures (the Azure Dragon, White Tiger, Black Tortoise, and Red Sparrow) remain.
Below the four divine creatures are the twelve zodiac signs featuring animal heads and human bodies. This presents significant historic and scientific value.

History of Preservation Policy and Measures