44 of the tombs are located in Sakai. Originally, there were more than one hundred, but over half disappeared in the tide of urbanization. The tombs were made of heaped earth, and the tallest among them, standing as high as a ten-story building, was clearly visible from the sea. But over the centuries, seeds carried by birds and wind took root on the earth of the tombs and the mounds gradually became forested. The outlines of even a gigantic mound like the Nintoku tomb are blurred and cannot be seen clearly except from the air. Centuries ago when there were no buildings and the area was a flat plain, mounds large and small would have been easily recognizable.
First visit the Sakai City Museum and burial mounds found around Daisen Park adjacent to the Nintoku tomb. The museum’s revamped exhibit on the Mozu Kofun Group is a must for grasping the full extent of the burial mounds in the area. You will see the burial mounds in an entirely new way after viewing the exhibits and videos. Several small burial mounds are clustered around the Nintoku tomb, and historians surmise that these were for members of the emperor’s family and his retainers, or for funerary accessories.