(Clay image of 6th century)
Tochigi prefecture was called "Shimo-tsu-Ke" which mean Lower "Ke" country. Upper "Ke" (Kami-tsu-Ke) is Gunma Prefecture, located west of Tochigi.
Both "Ke" countries are included in the early civilized area besides Kyushu (Southern part of Japan), Izumo(Shimane) and Kansai (Nara & Osaka) which were the earliest and most civilized area in ancient Japan.
Biwa-zuka & Marishiten-zuka tumulus
(Actual photo=23kB JPG)
These tumulus are estimated to be built in 5-6 th century. Though the buried persons are unknown, they must be lords who governed this area.
The dimensions of the tumulus are;
- Height = approximately 11 m
- Length = 123 & 117m from north to south
- Shape : Northern part=Circular hill, Southern part=Square hill
- Border : surrounded by moat.
Ruins of Nunnery
The Emperor Shomu (701-756) decided in 741 to build National Temples for priests and nuns in each country. The purpose of this project was thought to stabilize and centralize the nation by Buddhism.
The central national temple was Todai-Ji in Nara completed in 752.
Two temples were built in neighbor of Oyama as the "Shimo-tsu-Ke" (Tochigi) National Temples.
One temple was built for priests, the ruins of which are under excavation. The other temple was for nuns, the ruins of which are arranged to display the traces of building columns. The history of this area can be seen in a prefectural museum located in between the two places.
The ruins of nunnery and the museum are included in a historical park with many cherry blossoms. A spring festival for enjoying cherry blossoms is held in the park where foods, beverages and wines are sold at many open air stalls.
Fort on OMOI River
- Left photograph shows the place where "Fort Washi" was built. Top right water is OMOI River. The bank of this place is so steep and deep that fortification was only necessary for the other side. This fort was built by one of Lord Oyama.
- Lord Oyama
Oyama Family had been one of the strongest lords in Shimo-tsu-Ke (Tochigi) for approximately 400 years since the establishment of Kamakura Shogun government in 1192. The family also supported the establishment of next Shogun government, (Ashikaga Shogun) in 1338. Oyama Family diminished from the history after they were defeated by Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1590.
The name of this city come from the name of the family.
Road to Nikko
The formal grave of Iyeyasu Tokugawa, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogun government , is in Nikko. Nikko Road from Edo (Tokyo) to Nikko was very important in Tokugawa Era (1600-1868).
Oyama was one of the stages (lodging zone) on the Nikko Road.