The Stonehenge of Nara. This is where a historical VIP called Soga no Umako, who was instrumental in propagating Buddhism in Japan, was reputedly buried. Worth a stop if you're passing through the area, if only to wonder for a little bit how they managed to move stones of this weight and size way back then by sheer manpower.
Outside the grounds of the tumulus is another field, wide and green and open - during spring and autumn this would be a lovely place to have a picnic or even a cherry-blossom viewing party. Pick up some snacks from the Yume-ichi tourist shop nearby (or pack a bento before visiting Asuka Village), spread out a blanket and enjoy the sunshine.
This impressive megalith is believed to be the tomb of Soga no Umako, a powerful figure who worked closely with Prince Shotoku in the Asuka period to promote Buddhism. At first, it was thought to be a stage for performances, but parts of a sarcophagus were found inside in the 1930’s. You can walk inside and marvel at the 75 tonne stone that forms the roof. In springtime, the area is illuminated and live music concerts are held under the cherry blossom trees.
●Address/254 Shimasho, Asuka, Takaichi
●Hours/8:30 - 17:00
●Holidays/Open all year round
●Admission/Adults 250yen; high school students 200yen; junior school students 150yen; elementary school students 100yen
◆Access/From Kintetsu Kashihara Jingumae Station South Exit:- Take the bus bound for Asuka Station and alight at Ishibutai.
From JR/Kintetsu Sakurai Station South Exit:- Take the bus bound for Ishibutai and alight at Ishibutai stop.
From Kintetsu Asuka Station:- Take the bus bound for Kashihara Jingumae Eki Higashiguchi and alight at Ishibutai.
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