Hirakawa Temple Site (平川廃寺跡)

Hirakawa Temple Site is the site of an ancient temple that has been nationally designated a historic site that is located in Hirakawa Furumiya, Joyo City, Kyoto Prefecture. It stands beside a former Yamato road and is situated near the center of the Kutsukawa Burial Mounds. The central area consisting of the ruins of the pagoda and main hall are all that remains as a Historic Site park, with the rest of the temple precinct now occupied by houses. The foundation stone and stone podium have not been restored, and the traces of the buildings have been established based on slight ridges in the earth.

History

The temple was founded in the mid-Nara period and is known to have been a typical Nara period temple within the grounds of Minamiyama-jo Castle and a large scale that was comparable to the surviving state-supported provincial temple pagoda. The main buildings such as the pagoda and main hall were destroyed by fire, but not rebuilt, and the temple disappeared in the early Heian period. It is not mentioned in any written records and the temple was only named after the area in which it stood. The site was designated a Historic Site on November 25, 1975.

In 1943, the area began to receive attention as a temple site after the excavation of roof tiles, and this was followed by the discovery of a stacked-tile podium in excavations carried out in 1966. Investigations conducted from 1972 to 1974 discovered the stacked-tile podiums of the pagoda and main hall, as well as the corridors encircling these buildings and the roofed mud wall marking the temple precinct.

The locations of the buildings are thought to have been a Horyu-ji Temple style arrangement consisting of a pagoda in the west and a main hall in the east. Neither a lecture hall nor an inner gate has been determined. The corridors encircling the pagoda and main hall measured approximately 81 m east to west and approximately 72 m north to south, with the temple precinct estimated to have occupied an area of approximately 175 m east to west by approximately 115 m north to south. It appears as though the main hall and pagoda were situated in the west of the precinct, while the additional structures were located in the east.

The stone platform of the pagoda is a stacked-tile podium measuring 17.2 m on each side and comprised of arranged dry river bed rock segments with diameters of roughly 20 cm, upon which are stacked concave tiles.

Like the pagoda, the foundation stone of the main hall is a stacked-tile podium measuring 22.5 m east to west and 17.2 m north to south. The southern edge of the podium was increased by 2.2 m between the end of the Nara period and the beginning of the Heian period. Two traces of where foundation stones have been mounted on the stone podium have been discovered.

It is known from the excavated tiles that the temple was founded in the mid-Nara period and underwent repairs between the end of the Nara period and the beginning of the Heian period. However, the pagoda and main hall were destroyed by fire soon after being repaired and it can be seen that the temple disappeared without ever being rebuilt.

Akatsuka Burial Mound

The Akatsuka Burial Mound (Joyo City) was discovered outside of the eastern mud wall of the Hirakawa Temple Site. This mud wall was constructed to avoid the burial mound so as not to damage it. This burial mound, which takes up the majority of the grave mound, is an approximately 22.5 m diameter circular burial mound with a structure on the southern edge, and it is thought from the haniwa (terra cotta clay figures) used to date from the latter part of the 5th century.

Access

Approximately 15 minutes walk from Kintetsu Kutsukawa Station.