Masuda No Iwafune The Mysterious Rock Ship of Masuda

In several parts of the Asuka region of Japan there are unusual carved granite stones and the largest of which is known as Masuda no iwafune (The Rock Ship of Masuda). This large granite stone has 2 openings on its top surface. Theories that it is Masuda Pond Monument's pedestal, or it was a tool for astronomical observation, or it was an Imperial Mausoleum's stone cellar exist, but there is no positive evidence for its actual use. This mysterious carved stone is located on top of a hill just a few hundred meters west of Okadera Station. How or why this colossal stone and others was carved remains a mystery. Apparently, they appear to be a different style than later Buddhist sculptures. 

This large stone structure approximately 11 meters in length, 8 meters in width, and 4.7 meters In height. The upper surface is flat, with a shallow trough and two square holes. 

The Rock Ship of Masuda

Interestingly, the Masuda Stone Ship has some similarities with Ishi-no-Hōden (huge rock with a concave band) in Hyōgo prefecture and Kengoshi-zuka Kofun tumulus (2 chambers in 1 rock) just 500m away and some have suggested that Musada-no-iwafone may be a failed attempt at a Kofun entrance boulder, but this explanation doesn’t sit well with many researchers, mainly because it’s so massive.


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