Naniwatsu (Naniwa Port) (難波津)
Naniwatsu indicates a port facility located in the Osaka bay in ancient times. It is supposed that the port was located around Chuo Ward, Osaka City.
It was in the Jomon period that Seto Inland Sea became like the present shape, but initially the shore line was extended as far as to present Higashi-Osaka City at the foot of Ikoma-yama Mountain. This bay was called the Kawachi bay. The place that protrudes to the south from the entrance of the Kawachi bay is the present Uemachi plateau.
After that, the entrance area of the Kawachi bay was buried by the earth and sand that had been piled up (making the Tenma-sasu sandbank), and in the era from the second century to the third century, the Kawachi bay was completely separated form Seto Inland Sea, becoming a lake called Kusaka no e (the Kawachi-ko lake). Entering the kofun (tumulus) period, a canal was dug out between Seto Inland Sea and the Kawachi-ko lake considering convenience of water transport, and was named Naniwa no Horie. In the innermost portion of the Kawchi-ko lake, there was a port facility called Kusakatsu, and the ships that entered the Kawchi-ko lake through Naniwa no Horie went directly to the east for Kusakatsu. A port facility was also constructed within Naniwa no Horie. This facility is Naniwatsu.
Ancient structural remnants of 16 warehouses were excavated in the head area of the Uemachi plateau in the east of Naniwatsu, revealing that Naniwatsu was a big distribution center at that time. By the way, although it was recorded in historical documents that there was a merchant house called 'Naniwa no Murotsumi,' but no remains of such a house has been found yet.
After the Taika Reforms, Naniwa Nagara Toyosaki no Miya Palace (earlier Naniwa no Miya Palace) was constructed, and the capital was moved there. However, after Emperor Kotoku died in 654, the capital was moved back to Asuka again, and Naniwa Nagara Toyosaki no Miya Palace was destroyed by fire in 686. In the Nara period, so-called latter Naniwa no Miya Place was built there. However, the palace facilities were disassembled when the capital was moved to Nagaoka, and with earth and soil having been piled up, Naniwatsu lost the functions as a port facility.
For port facilities in the medieval period and later, refer to Watanabe no tsu.
Poems concerned with Naniwatsu
Although having been hibernated in the winter, this flower in Naniwatsu is blossoming now in the spring (by Wang In). Could I live without seeing you even for a period of time as short as between the knots of reeds in the Naniwa-gata lagoon (by Ise). Being so lonely, I would rather like to die, unless I cannot see you (by Imperial Prince Motoyoshi).
Should I love you without considering my own life, because I slept with you for only a brief space of time like a root of a cut reed in Naniwa-e inlet? (by Kokamonin no Betto)
The location of Naniwatsu
The present location of Naniwatsu in Osaka City was not known for a long period of time. However, the location of Naniwatsu has become to be disputed seriously since around 1984, and its short list has been obtained. However, each of them lacked a decisive ground, and the exact location has not been fixed yet. Promising locations include around Mitsudera-cho, Chuo Ward (Osaka City) advocated by Minoru SENDA, and around Koraibashi, Chuo Ward in the same city, advocated by Masayoshi KUSAKA. Recently, the latter site has become more promising (refer to the external link).