The Ruins of Shigaraki no Miya Palace (紫香楽宮跡)

The ruins of Shigaraki no Miya Palace is a national historical site located in Kinose and Maki, Shigaraki-cho, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture.

Summary

It was considered as the ruins of Shigaraki no Miya Palace to where the Emperor Shomu moved the capital in 745. 33,000 square meters of the site were designated as a historic site in 1926.

However, now it is assumed that the ruins are Koga-ji Temple or Kokubun-ji Temple of Omi Province which had been built for a Great Buddha in Shigaraki no Miya Palace before Todai-ji Temple was built. Another ruins were actually found as Shigaraki no Miya Palace (Miyamachi site) in Miyamachi, Shigaraki-cho.

It is said that there was Horanomiya Palace in Chokushi, Shigaraki-cho according to the lore in this area.

The ancient structural remnants of this site (including over 300 foundation stones) are preserved in good condition, and the placement of the foundation stones shows that the layout of the temple was the same as the one of the Buddhist temple placement in Todai-ji Temple.

Three kinds of the round-shaped roof tiles and two kinds of flat roof tiles for eaves were found on this site and some of them are considered as the ones created during the foundation period. The round-shaped roof tiles have the motif of Tanbenjunanayorengemon (lotus flower) and the flat roof tiles have the motif of Kinseikarakusamon (arabesque), and both of the motifs were created when Kuninomiya Palace was built. It is identified that these tiles and the tiles found in the Yamashiro Kokubun-ji historic remain which was built after the Kuninomiya was ruined, were made with the same mold, and therefore there is no doubt that the Shigaraki no Miya Palace was a temple.

At about 600 meters northeast of this site, the remains of the residence of smith, which had been dug from 2000 to 2002 in the construction of Shin Meishin Expressway, are located. This remains are located close to the ruins of Shigaraki no Miya Palace. Many crucibles made in Shigaraki at that time were also found around the site. It is said that these crucibles were used to create mixed metal containing copper. (These crucibles were called "Umeboshitsubo [pickled plum pot]" which were made of brass and were used in Edo period. They were not the crucibles used for the project to build the Great Buddha in Nara period. For the casting of big objects, such as Great Buddha and temples, it is archaeologically proved that molding technique without crucibles, which pours the melted metal into a mold from a melting furnace directly, was used.

Tokai Shizen Hodo (The Tokai Nature Trail) runs through this site and this historic site is one of the touristic sites on the trail.

"Shiragakigushi" must be indicated as "紫香楽宮阯", however "紫香楽宮跡" is used as its indication and also is read as "Shiragakigushi" irregularly.

Access

Shigarakigushi Station is on the Shigaraki Line of the Shigaraki Kougen Railway. At the entrance of the hiking course, there is also a bus stop "Gushi" of the Shigaraki Kougen Bus.