A kofun tumuli group and a giant tree at Japan’s southernmost tip
Tsukazaki Kofun Tumuli Group comprises of five large keyhole-shaped and 39 round tomb mounds. It is the only one with large keyhole-shaped tombs at the southernmost tip of Japan. It became a national cultural property in 1945.
The largest tomb, Kofun No.39 (Hanamure Kofun), is keyhole-shaped and is about 80 meters long and 10 meters high. Since human dwellings from the Yayoi Period have been found in the area, it is believed the site developed considerably in the Yayoi Period, and that organized groups rapidly formed from the Kofun Period.
The Giant Camphor of Tsukazaki
The tree growing on top of Tsukazaki Kofun No.1 (round tomb) was designated as a natural monument of Japan in 1940. The fourth-largest tree after the giant camphor trees of Kamou, Shibushi, and Kawabe is approximately 1,200 to 1,300 years old. The 25-meter tall tree with a trunk circumference of about 14 meters is revered locally as the sacred tree of Tsukazaki Otsuka Shrine. Folklores linked to the tree include a massive serpent that lives in the large hole at the base of the tree and that of the tree’s branches breaking to predict an impending war. The tree has over 50 aerophytes, including the bird’s-nest fern.
The tumuli group also has a history and folklore museum run by the town. Be sure to stop by as it houses valuable exhibits.