Restoration History

1. History of the Research

After the capital was transferred from Nara to Nagaokakyo, various attempts were made to return the capital to Heijokyo, but as time passed, the ancient capital was covered with soil.

Around the end of the Edo period, Kitaura Sadamasa started research on the site of Heijokyo. Then, at end of the Meiji Period, research by Sekino Tadashi and Kida Sadakichi revealed the appearance of the ancient capital of Nara

In between the Meiji and Taisho period, local people including Tanada Kajuro and Mizobe Bunshiro launched a movement to preserve the former site of Daigokuden.



In 1952, Heijo Palace was designated as a Special Historic Site by the Japanese government, and currently Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties engages in continuous research and excavation work.

In 1998, “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara” including Heijo Palace was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Recently, the Heijo Palace site and park has attracted the interest of people from around the world.

2. Exhibition of Restoration


Methods to restore the buildings and gardens as they were have been used in Suzakumon Gate and East Palace Garden. Following 9 years of restoration, the First Daigokuden was completed in 2010, the year of the 1,300th anniversary of the establishment of the Nara Heijokyo capital, and the appearance of the past was reproduced.

Now, the work to make the palace an open-air museum is under way on the basis of the “Basic Plan to Make Heijo Palace a Site Museum.”

3.Timeline relating to preservation

1852 Sadamasa Kitaura completed “Heijo Palace Dai-dairi Site Zoning Map). (Heijokyu Daidairi Ato Tsubowari No Zu)
1922 The former site of the main hall of Chodoin (government office) in Heijo Palace was designated as a Historic Site.
1952 Heijo Palace was designated as a Special Historic Site.
1961 The first (a narrow strip of wood on which an official message is written) was found.
Plans to build a train inspection depot were cancelled, due to national protests.
1964 Parts of the outer balconies are discovered at the eastern wing of the Heijo Palace.
1977 A project to make the palace an open-air museum launched on the basis of the “Basic Plan to Make Heijo Palace a Site Museum.”
1998 Restoration of most of the Suzakumon Gate and East Palace Garden (Toin Teien) was completed.
“Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara” including the Heijo Palace site was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
2001 The First Daigokuden restoration project began.
2010 Rebuilding of the First Daigokuden was completed.