Shigaraki no miya (紫香楽宮)
Shigaraki no miya is the detached palace in Koga gun (county side), Omi Province (present-day Shigaraki-cho, Koga City, Shiga Prefecture) that was operated by Emperor Shomu during the Nara period. Later, it was referred to as Koka nomiya, and turned into the capital.
Shigaraki no miya
After the FUJIWARA no Hirotsugu Rebellion in 740, Emperor Shomu moved to Kuni kyo (Kuni Palace) (present-day Kamo-cho Town, Kizugawa City, Kyoto Prefecture), and built and operated the detached palace in Shigaraki Village, Koga gun, Omi Province in 742; he often visited there. This is how Shigaraki no miya was built.
In October 743, the following year, the Emperor set his mind on building Rushanabutsu (statue of Buddha) in Shigaraki. It is assumed that he wanted to view Kunikyo as Luoyang in Tan, and attempted to actualize Rushanabutsu (statue of Buddha) of Ryumon sekkutsu (stone cave) which was deeply connected to Luoyang in Shigaraki. In December, he cancelled building in Kunikyo, and shifted his focus on building in Shigaraki.
Koka no miya
In 744, the change in Miya (palace) name (from Shigaraki no miya to Koka no miya) gradually appeared; in November, the body framework of Rushanabutsu (statue of Buddha) was built in Koga-ji Temple.
In January 745, it was called Shinkyo and Koka no miya turned into the capital, a spear and a larger spear were built at the gate of the palace. It is assumed that the area of the capital (Shigaraki no miya) was specified since Prince Shioyaki who had been transported was forgiven to enter into the capital in April 15, 745; the reality was uncertain. However, he had to return to Heijokyo (Heian Palace) in May the same year because he was not getting the corporation of his subordinate; subsequently, disasters occurred one after another. Rushanabutsu (statue of Buddha) at Koga-ji Temple was completed in the form of 'Nara daibutsu' (Great Buddha of Nara); Rushanabutsu (statue of Buddha) in Todai-ji Temple.
There are various theories why Shigaraki became a capital even though it was too deep in the mountains one that he was connected to the Fujiwara clan including FUJIWARA no Nakamaro in opposition to the Tachibana clan that had their base around Kunikyo; the Emperor selected Shigaraki in accordance with the advice from monks such as Roben (Ryoben) or Gyoki in pursuit of his own base of faith for Buddhism.
Change in Miya (palace) Name
As for the description in the geographical name of `紫香楽' (Shigaraki), there was no `紫香楽' (Shigaraki in kanji character) while there were three cases of `信楽宮' (Shigaraki in kanji character) in Shoso-in bunsho (the Record of Shoso-in), therefore, it might have been modified when Shoku Nihon gi (Continuation of Chronicles of Japan) was edited. In addition, after 744, Miya (palace) name was changed from `信楽宮' (Shigaraki) to `甲賀宮' (Koka no miya), it is said that the Miya (palace) name was revised as the detached palace was united with Koga-ji Temple to become a capital, or Koka no miya was built and operated in the palace town of palace ruins apart from Shigaraki no miya in the detached palace.
Recently, a lot of mokkan (narrow strip of wood on which an official message is written) that describe the large remains of structures, or delivery of taxes, were unearthed in the palace town ruins located 1 km to the north from the palace ruins of Shigaraki no miya (ruins designated by the nation), therefore, it was considered as a probable place of the palace ruins. It is probable that the ruins of Shigaraki no miya (ruins designated by the nation) was the ruins of Koga-ji Temple (Koka-ji).
Present day, geographical names such as `Miyamachi,' `Chokushi,' `Dairino' show that a trace of Miyagi in the past still remains.