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Kofun (old tumuli) are large artificial mound tombs built in ancient Japan for the ruling elite between the 3rd and 7th century CE. Many measure several hundred metres across, are surrounded by a moat, and, besides containing valuable bronze and iron goods, they were protected by terracotta figurines called haniwa. The goods within the tombs illustrate the increasing prosperity of ancient Japan as the rulers of Yamato traded both materials and ideas with neighbouring states. The mounds have given their name to the Kofun Period of Japanese history which covers c. 250 to 538 CE.

More about: Kofun


  • c. 300 CE - c. 700 CE
    Haniwa terracotta figurines are placed outside Japanese mound tombs or kofun.
  • 366 CE
    Japan establishes diplomatic relations with Korea.
  • 413 CE - 478 CE
    Japanese kings send ambassadors and tribute to China.