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Heijō-kyō ruins

Heijō-kyo ( jap. 平城京even Heizei-kyo , literally "Imperial residence of Friedensburg") was during much of the Nara period ( 710 -784), the capital of Japan . It was located in the area of ​​today's Nara and gave the corresponding epoch its name.

Before the Taihō Code , it was customary for the seat of government to be relocated after the emperor's death. This came about out of the superstition that places of death are polluted. This changed in 710 when Empress Gemmei established a permanent capital near what is now Nara. Nevertheless, the capital moved to Kuni-kyō ( Kizugawa ) in 740 , 744 to Naniwa-kyō ( Osaka ) and 745 to the Shigaraki palace ( Kōka ) for political reasons , before being relocated back to Heijō-kyō in May of the same year.


City map with the palace in the north, the Saidai-ji in the west, the Tōdai-ji in the east and the Jōbō grid
Suzakumon (reconstruction)

Heijō-kyō, like its predecessor Fujiwara-kyō, followed the model of the Chinese Tang capital Chang'an . From Rajomon the south to Suzakumon north ran the, including trenches, 75 meters wide main street Suzaku-Ōji (朱雀大路, dt. "Main Street of Red Bird ") to the palace Heijō (平城宮 Heijō-kyū ). This main street divided Heijō-kyō into an eastern, left (左 京 Sakyō ) and a western, right “capital” (右 京 Ukyō ). Each of the two districts was in turn subdivided from south to north into nine () and from east to west into four () each, a system of the district which is called the Jōbō system (条 坊 制, Jōbō-sei ) will. Each of these rectangles, also called (), with an edge length of 532 m, in turn, consisted of 4 × 4 Ho () with an edge length of 133 m each. In the northeast there was another district with 5 Jō and 3 Bō, called the "outer capital" (外 京, Gekyō ), which forms today's center of Nara.

The entire capital stretched from north to south about 4.8 km and from east to west 4.3 without and 5.9 km with the expansion on an area of ​​20 and 24 km². The population was 200,000 (4% of the then population of Japan) and 10,000 of them were government employees.

Heijō Palace

Reconstruction of the audience hall ( Daigokuden )

The main street ended at Suzaku-mon , surrounded by the rest of the palace buildings. The main buildings of the palace complex were the audience hall (大 極 殿, Daigokuden ), the Chōdō-in (朝堂 院) for formal ceremonies, the emperor's residence (内 裏, Dairi ) and the offices of the individual offices. The foundations and traces of these buildings are still clearly visible on the ruins.

When the capital was moved to Heian-kyō , the imperial palace was abandoned. Over the centuries, the buildings slowly fell into disrepair until, in the Kamakura period, practically nothing was left of the above-ground structures; the underground ones, in turn, were preserved. Since the palace grounds remained in imperial possession for the entire time, no new buildings could be built without their permission.

Toin garden

In 1952 the complex was declared a special historical site ( tokubetsu shiseki ). Archaeological excavations and restoration work began in 1955, so that the Suzaku-mon and Tōin Gardens (東 院 庭園, tōin teien ) have been restored to this day. In 1959, the National Cultural Organization of Nara declared that the site should remain unchanged. Exceptions were made for archaeological investigations, restorations and the construction of a railway line that runs through the southern part. In 1998 the site was opened to the public. In the same year, the site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List , along with surrounding temples .


Location of the temples in the capital

In and around Heijō-kyō were the Nantō Shichi Daiji (南 都 七大 寺), the "7 great temples of the southern capital", which were under special protection of the imperial court: Saidai-ji and Yakushi-ji in Ukyō, the Daian-ji in Saikyō, the Gangō-ji , Kōfuku-ji and Tōdai-ji in Gekyō, and the Hōryū-ji in Ikaruga . However, since the latter is about 9 km from the center of Heijō-kyō, the Tōshōdai-ji is sometimes called in Ukyō instead . Its lecture hall ( kōdō ) is the only remaining building from the time of Heijō-kyō.

Other temples include the Hokke-ji , Shin-Yakushi-ji and the Hannya-ji .

The power of the temples was the main reason to move the capital again.

Individual evidence

  1. a b Japan National Tourist Organization: Heijo-kyu-seki ( Memento of the original from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (English)  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.jnto.go.jp
  2. Jô-Bô System of Heijô-Kyô: City Planning in Ancient Japan (English)

Web links

Commons : Heijō-kyō  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 34 ° 41 ′ 28 "  N , 135 ° 47 ′ 41"  E