Sakitama Tumuli:
Promenade of Cherry Blossoms

Saitama-gun, Saitama, Japan
Construction completed: March 1997


Sakitama Tumuli
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Copyright © 1999-2013 Reiko Chikada Lighting Design Inc. All rights reserved, unless otherwise specified.
Sakitama Tumuli: Promenade of Cherry Blossoms
photo (C) MURAZUMI, Souichi.

Located in the north of Tokyo area, the Sakitama Tumuli is well-known Japanese ancient tombs including the Maruhaka Tumulus, which is the largest round tomb of Japan, and the Inariyama Tumulus, from which a sword of national treasure was excavated.

Since the site is famous with cherry blossoms, the approach to the Sakitama Tumuli was planned to be an illuminated promenade with its roadside cherry trees. The lighting designer had to pay respect to the dignified long history of the tombs and a strong emotion of Japanese people adoring nature, especially cherry blossoms. In order to emphasize the mysterious atmosphere around the aged graves, the designer set searchlights to the sky likened to the sword of the Inariyama Tumuli. According to the shape of the tombs, the swords of light are obliquely directed to the north.

Considering influences upon the natural environment, the timetable of lighting was carefully arranged. For the most part of year, only the road surface under trees is illuminated downwards with beams of low-voltage spotlights like luminescence of the moon filtering through foliage. Merely for a while in the season of cherry blossoms, upward light of the provisional metal-halide illuminators adds temporary splendor to the scene.

Japanese often attach an image of death to cherry blooms. The ancient tombs in the end of the promenade enhance fleeting and none the less attractive grace of the mortal flowers.
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