What exactly could this tower be?
Japan’s largest lion-dog statue wasn’t the only thing I visited on my day-trip to Ibaraki prefecture back in December last year. It would be pretty sad to travel that far just to photograph one place wouldn’t it! Instead I did two!
Kurefushi-no-Sato Tumulus Park is about a 40 minute walk from Uchihara Station which is just two or three stops from Kairakuen and Mito stations respectively. Work your way through the tall trees in this park and there is an open grass area containing a truly unique and slightly quirky sight.
This giant 17.3 metre tall construction is known as Haniwa (terracotta clay figure) and was built almost 20 years ago. The Hanimaru Tower is the landmark of the park and it is open for free from 9am every day (except January 1-3) which I assume means someone comes to open and close it for there wasn’t a soul in sight during the time I was there. Regular sized haniwa figures were originally made for ritual use and buried with the dead as funerary objects during the Kofun period (3rd to 6th centuries AD) of the history of Japan. Thanks Wikipedia!
There was actually an NHK educational TV programme of similar name called ‘Oi! Hanamaru‘ but there is supposedly no connection between that and this tower.
Go round the back of the structure and there are stairs leading up to the top.
I headed up and came across this head (below) between floors which had a coin slot. I put my money in and waited with expectation in the hope that something vaguely interesting may happen. Nothing did though other than my coin plummeting towards the ground!
From the top there are 360 degree panoramic views of the surrounding area and you can truly notice the large keyhole-shaped tomb mound nearby. The tomb in the picture below is one of many in the area but it was the only one I saw.
- Kurefushi-no-sato is located at 201-2 Soto, Ushibushicho, Mito-Shi, Ibaraki-ken. From the station, bus #74 takes you about two-thirds of the way there but a 1.1 km walk is still needed at the end.
Just a few stops along the Joban Line going towards Tokyo is Ishioka Station where I dropped in to another park to see Japan’s largest lion-dog statue.
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