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World Heritage / Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara

Criteria: (ii) (iii) (iv) (vi) | Date of Inscription: 1998 | Location: Nara Prefecture | Justification for Inscription

UNESCO

Things to see

Heijo Palace Site

Heijo Palace Site
Heijo Palace Site
Suzaku-mon (Main Gate)
Suzaku-mon (Main Gate)
To-in-tei-en (Toin Garden)
To-in-tei-en (Toin Garden)
The site of the once famous Heijo Palace is a 1.3km by 1km plot of land located at the center of the northern portion of Heijokyo, the former capital established in Nara by the Emperor Genmei. Enclosed by a roofed fence, this area used to contain the residences of the emperor, a hall used for national ceremonies and various period political institutions. Suzaku-mon, the Main Gate stood in the center of the southern facing portion of fence.
After the capital moved to Kyoto however, this area was used as a rice paddy for generations and the remains of the abandoned capital were lost until the outline of the Heijokyo was discovered in the Edo period. Post 1954 an excavation was implemented on a large scale with the unearthing of remains in this now historical site the outcome. While the site is today protected under law, the Suzaku-mon and Toin Garden have since been rebuilt. To this end, and as discoveries at the site are ongoing, exactly what the ancient capital looked and felt like is emerging into view centuries after it was lost to the Japanese people and undoubtedly means that future discoveries will continue to solve the puzzles of the past at Heijo Palace.
Suzaku-mon (Main Gate)
The current Suzaku-mon was constructed in 1998 and is the main gate to Heijo Palace. Its impressive measurements include a width of 25m, a depth of 10m, and a height of 22m and architecturally speaking also features two levels of tiled roof, vermilion pillars, copper-green lattices and white walls in the majestic style of the Tenpyo-era.
To-in-tei-en (Toin Garden)
Toin Garden was reconstructed on the site of the original, itself established in the eastern part of Heijo Palace. Following its discovery, the remains of the garden were reburied for preservation purposes and a pond and buildings were constructed over the sight. The renovated garden embodies the origins of traditional Japanese garden design and produces an atmosphere of old to enable visitors to believe they are the aristocracy of the Tenpyo period - if only for a short time.
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