Japan’s 8th century capital’s street grid revealed

Researchers believe to have identified part of the street pattern of Kunikyo, the capital of Japan from 740 to 744 AD, while excavating the Okadakuni ruins in Kizugawa, Central Japan.

Road crossing found at the excavation site in Kizugawa (by Makoto Ito)

Archaeologists discovered a street running north to south that measures 6.7 meters wide and 41 meters long. It is crossed at a right angle by a 7-meter-wide, 21-meter-long road. Excavations also revealed traces of buildings arranged in an orderly fashion along one of the roads. The works were being conducted prior to construction of a bypass for National Road No. 163. The capital in Kunikyo was built on the orders of Emperor Shomu 701-756 AD. The capital was relocated from Heijokyo to Kunikyo, and then to Naniwanomiya in Osaka Prefecture. According to the researchers government offices or other facilities were likely removed in a short time, meaning the discovered ruins are highly likely part of Kunikyo.

(after Asahi Shimbun & Makoto Ito)

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