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Capitals of Japan

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Up until the mid-7th century or so, the Imperial Court maintained no permanent capital, and in fact often relocated the Court to a new capital to avoid the spiritual pollution that came with the death of an Emperor. Between 400 and 646 CE, the Yamato state had 23 emperors, and 31 imperial capitals.[1]

List of Imperial Capitals of Japan

The following three capitals have overlapping and rather confusing dates:

  • Heijô (now Nara) (745-784)
  • Nagaoka (784-794)
  • Heian (now Kyoto) (794-1868)
  • Tokyo (1868 to present)

Shogunal Seats

Sources

  • William Wayne Farris' Sacred Texts and Buried Treasure. Pages 123-200
  • Cambridge History of Japan Volume One: Ancient Japan. Pages 40-44
  1. Takashi Fujitani, Splendid Monarchy, UC Press (1998), 46.
  2. Due to archaeological debates and instances of dual capitals, this list is not complete or yet trustworthy. Naniwa was capital more times than is listed.
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