Fujiwara-kyō (藤原京) was the Imperial capital of Japan for sixteen years, between 694 and 710. It was located in Yamato Province (present-day Kashihara in Nara Prefecture), having been moved from nearby Asuka. However, the name Fujiwara-kyō was never used in the Nihon Shoki. During those times it was recorded as Aramashi-kyō (新益京).

As of 2006, ongoing excavations have revealed construction on the site of Fujiwara-kyō as early as 682, near the end of the reign of Emperor Tenmu.[1] With a brief halt upon Emperor Tenmu's death, construction resumed under Empress Jitō, who officially moved the capital in 694. Fujiwara-kyō remained the capital for the reigns of Emperor Monmu and Empress Genmei, but in 710 the Imperial court moved to the Heijō Palace in Nara, beginning the Nara period.

Map of Fujiwara-kyō
Fujiwara-kyo Kashihara Nara pref Japan03bs5
Remains of Fujiwara-kyō (2012)


Fujiwara was Japan's first capital built in a grid pattern on the Chinese model (条坊制 jōbō-sei); recent investigation has revealed that the city covered an area of roughly 5 km, much larger than previously thought.[1][2] The palace occupied a plot measuring about 1 km², and was surrounded by walls roughly 5 m high. Each of the four walls had three gates; Suzakumon, the main gate, stood at the center of the south wall. The Daigokuden (大極殿) and other palace buildings were the first palace structures in Japan to have a tile roof in the Chinese style.

The area had previously been the domain of the Nakatomi clan, who oversaw the observation of Shintō rituals and ceremonies on behalf of the Imperial court. The city burnt down in 711, one year after the move to Nara, and was not rebuilt. Archaeological excavations began in 1934, and some portions of the palace were reconstructed. Close to 10,000 wooden tablets, known as mokkan, have been found, inscribed with Chinese characters.

This waka, written by the Empress Jitō, and describing Fujiwara in the summer, is part of the famous poem anthology, the Hyakunin Isshu:


haru sugite natsu ki ni kerashi shirotae no koromo hosu chō ama no kaguyama

Which translates[3] as Spring has passed, it seems, and now summer has arrived; For this, they say, is when robes of pure white are aired on heavenly Mount Kagu.

See also


  • Frederic, Louis (2002). "Japan Encyclopedia." Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
  1. ^ a b "Nara". National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
  2. ^ 藤原京ルネッサンス (in Japanese). Retrieved 2007-03-10.
  3. ^ "One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets (Ogura Hyakunin Isshu), poems 1-5". Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2010-08-02.

External links

Preceded by
Capital of Japan
Succeeded by

Coordinates: 34°30′08″N 135°48′26″E / 34.50222°N 135.80722°E

7th century in architecture

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6th century in architecture,

8th century in architecture and the

architecture timeline.

8th century in architecture

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7th century in architecture,

9th century in architecture and the

architecture timeline.

Asuka, Yamato

Asuka (飛鳥) was the Imperial capital of Japan during the Asuka period (538 – 710 AD), which takes its name from this place. It is located in the present-day village of Asuka, Nara Prefecture.


Asuka-Fujiwara: Archaeological sites of Japan’s Ancient Capitals and Related Properties is a cluster of archaeological sites from in and around the late sixth- to early eighth-century capitals of Asuka and Fujiwara-kyō, Nara Prefecture, Japan. In 2007, twenty eight sites were submitted jointly for future inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List under the ii, iii, iv, v, and vi criteria. Currently, the submission is listed on the Tentative List.Since 2011, the Cultural Landscape of the Asuka Hinterland has been protected as one of the Cultural Landscapes of Japan. An area of 60 ha is also protected within the Asuka Historical National Government Park. Related artefacts are housed at the Asuka Historical Museum.

Asuka Historical National Government Park

Asuka Historical National Government Park (国営飛鳥歴史公園, Kokuei Asuka Rekishi Kōen) is a National Government Park established in Asuka, Nara Prefecture, Japan in 1974. The park comprises five areas: the Amakashi-no-Oka Area, where there is an observatory with a view over the old capitals of Asuka and Fujiwara-kyō and of Yamato Sanzan; the Iwaido Area, similarly with views to Yamato Sanzan as well as over the terraced rice fields of "Inner Asuka"; the Ishibutai Area; the Takamatsuzuka Area; and the Kitora Tumulus Area.


Dairi may refer to:

The dairi (Japanese: 内裏), the Japanese Imperial family's official residence in the capital. In Kyoto, this was the Heian Palace or later, the Kyoto Imperial Palace, the latter considered a "town palace". Each of the former capitals, Fujiwara-kyō, Heijō-kyō, Nagaoka-kyō had a dairi, though now in ruins.

or by transference, indirect (now archaic) way of referring to the Emperor of Japan

A language spoken in Indonesia and written in the Batak script

Dairi Regency, one regency of North Sumatra province of Indonesia

The dahu, a legendary animal

Dahiri, Ivory Coast, a town that is sometimes spelled "Dairi"

Districts of Japan

The district (郡, gun) is today a geographical and statistical unit comprising one or several rural municipalities in Japan. It was used as an administrative unit in Japan in antiquity and between 1878 and 1921 and was roughly equivalent to the county of the United States, ranking at the level below prefecture and above town or village, same as city.

Hakuhō period

The Hakuhō period (白鳳時代, Hakuhō jidai, "white phoenix period") was an unofficial Japanese era name (年号, nengō, "year name") of Emperor Tenmu after Hakuchi and before Suchō. The duration of this discrete non-nengō timespan lasted from 673 through 686.The Hakuhō period is more often used as a general term which describes a wider range of years.


Heijō-kyō (平城京, also Heizei-kyō, sometimes Nara no miyako), was the Capital of Japan during most of the Nara period, from 710–40 and again from 745–84. The imperial palace is a listed UNESCO World Heritage together with other places in the city of Nara (cf. Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara).

Empress Genmei ordered the Imperial capital moved from Fujiwara-kyō to Heijō-kyō in 708, and the move to Heijō-kyō was complete in 710. Heijō-kyō was modeled after Chang'an, the capital of Tang-dynasty China, although Heijō-kyō lacked walls. In the city, merchants and traders from China, Korea and India introduced various foreign cultures to Heijō-kyō through the Silk Road. As a result, Heijō-kyō flourished as Japan's first international and political capital, with a peak population of approximately 100,000. The overall form of the city was an irregular rectangle, and the area of city is more than 25 km2.

Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara

The UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara encompasses eight places in the old capital Nara in Nara Prefecture, Japan. Five are Buddhist temples, one is a Shinto shrine, one is a Palace and one a primeval forest. The properties include 26 buildings designated by the Japanese Government as National Treasures as well as 53 designated as Important Cultural Properties. All compounds have been recognized as Historic Sites. The Nara Palace Site was designated as Special Historic Site and the Kasugayama Primeval Forest as Special Natural Monument. Tōdai-ji, Kōfuku-ji and the Kasugayama Primeval Forest overlap with Nara Park, a park designated as one of the "Places of Scenic Beauty" by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). UNESCO listed the site as World Heritage in 1998.

Kashihara, Nara

Kashihara (橿原市, Kashihara-shi) is a city located in Nara Prefecture, Japan.

As of April 1, 2015, the city has an estimated population of 124,829, with 52,034 households. Population density is around 3,176.79 persons per km², and the total area is 39.52 km².The city was founded on February 11, 1956. The former mayor was Yutaka Asoda, who was elected to his third term of office in 2003. The present mayor is Yutaka Morishita, who was elected in 2007.

The exact spot of Emperor Jimmu's descent to earth was debated for centuries until in 1863 an area that is now part of the city was claimed to be the exact location. The city was the location of the Imperial capital Fujiwara-kyō, from 694 to 710.

In the late 16th century it was said to be one of the two richest autonomous cities of Japan, as in Umi no Sakai, Riku no Imai (tr. "by the sea, Sakai – inland, Imai" - Imai or ja:今井町 is now a part of Kashihara).


Kokufu (国府) are the capitals of the historical Provinces of Japan.


Kombu (from Japanese: 昆布, romanized: konbu) is edible kelp from mostly the family Laminariaceae and is widely eaten in East Asia. It may also be referred to as dasima (Korean: 다시마) or haidai (simplified Chinese: 海带; traditional Chinese: 海帶; pinyin: Hǎidài).

List of Japanese imperial residences

This is a list of residences occupied by the Japanese Imperial Family, noting the seasons of the year they are traditionally occupied.

Members of the Japanese Imperial Family inhabit a range of residences around Japan. Some are official imperial palaces; others are used as private residences, although they are all owned and maintained by the state. Other imperial palaces are no longer residences (e.g. the Akasaka Palace). Some remain in irregular use for imperial occasions. Some of the Imperial Palaces and villas enjoy legal protection such as the Akasaka Palace which is a National Treasure or the Heijō Palace, which is a Special Historic Site and listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.

The occupied imperial residences are cared for and maintained by the Imperial Household Agency. Former palaces or sites are under the administration of various ministries or local authorities.


Rajōmon (羅城門), also called Rashōmon (羅生門), was the gate built at the southern end of the monumental Suzaku Avenue in the ancient Japanese cities of Heijō-kyō (Nara) and Heian-kyō (Kyoto), in accordance with the Chinese grid-patterned city layout. At the other far north-end of Suzaku Avenue, one would reach the Suzakumon Gate, the main entrance to the palace zone. As of 2007, the southern end of Suzaku Avenue and the possible remainder of the equivalent gate in Fujiwara-kyō (Kashihara) are yet to be discovered.

Suzaku Avenue

Suzaku Avenue or Suzaku Boulevard (朱雀大路, Suzaku Ōji) is the name given to the central avenue leading to the Imperial Palace from the south in Japanese capitals. Traditionally the Imperial palace complex faces south, whilst Suzaku Avenue leads directly away from the main gate. Cities were often based on a traditional Chinese grid pattern. Suzaku Avenue was typically the central road within the city grid, and as a result, the widest. Fujiwara-kyō, Heijō-kyō, and Heian-kyō had their own Suzaku Avenue.

The word "Suzaku" refers to the Guardian God of the South, who was said to appear in the form of a bird.


The Suzakumon (朱雀門, Suzakumon or Shujakumon) was the main gate built in the center of the south end of the imperial palaces in the Japanese ancient capitals of Fujiwara-kyō (Kashihara), Heijō-kyō (Nara), and later Heian-kyō (Kyoto). The placement followed the ancient Chinese palace model requirements at the time, where Suzaku (朱雀, Suzaku), the Vermilion Bird was the Guardian of the South. (See Four Symbols for more.)

It was said to be the site where foreign dignitaries were received by the Emperor. All of them were destroyed centuries ago along with the old imperial residences.


Yakushi-ji (薬師寺) is one of the most famous imperial and ancient Buddhist temples in Japan, that was once one of the Seven Great Temples of Nanto, located in Nara. The temple is the headquarters of the Hossō school of Japanese Buddhism. Yakushi-ji is one of the sites that are collectively inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, under the name of "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara."The main object of veneration, Yakushi Nyorai, also named "The Medicine Buddha", was one of the first Buddhist Deities to arrive in Japan from China in 680, and gives the temple its name.

Yamato Sanzan

Yamato Sanzan (大和三山) or "the three mountains of Yamato", in Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, Japan, are Mount Kagu (香具山), Mount Unebi (畝傍山), and Mount Miminashi (耳成山). Celebrated in Japanese poetry, they have been jointly designated a Place of Scenic Beauty. Jimmu, first Emperor of Japan, is said to have built his palace on the southeast side of Mt Unebi; he is enshrined at Kashihara Jingū. Archaeological study in the 1990s has shown that, rather than their surrounding Fujiwara-kyō on three sides, the "palace-city" was so large as to encompass the three mountains.



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