Asuka is a village nestled among the hills of the Nara Prefecture of Kansai, Japan, and Asuka is home to some seriously strange stone carvings. The village has its origins in the Tumulus Period (250-552 AD), also called Kofun jidai, which means Old Mound period. This era of Japanese history is characterized by a particular type of burial mound that was popular at the time; specifically key shaped earthen mounds surrounded by moats. During that time, Asuka, which wasn’t yet referred to by that name, was overrun by opposing clans and religious factions. Nearing the end of the Tumulus period, Buddhist clans began to assume control of the region and retained control through the rise of Empress Suiko, which marked the beginning of the Asuka era.
The area is known for its many Buddhist temples, shrines and statuary, but there are stone monuments in the hills surrounding Asuka that don’t fit with Buddhist style sculpture or construction, and no one seems to know who built them, or when.