Photo/IllutrationThe Daisen burial mound, left, is one of 49 in the Mozu and Furuichi areas of Osaka Prefecture that has gained approval for inclusion in UNESCO's World Heritage list. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

A cluster of 49 "kofun" burial mounds, including ones thought to be for ancient emperors, was approved for inclusion July 6 in UNESCO's World Heritage list.

The decision on the burial mounds in the Mozu and Furuichi areas of Osaka Prefecture was made at the World Heritage Committee meeting being held in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The burial mounds are the 19th site in Japan to win cultural heritage status and 23rd overall, including natural heritage sites.

Among the burial mounds to be covered are the Daisen burial mound in Sakai believed to be where Emperor Nintoku is buried. It is the largest in Japan and measures 486 meters in length.

The mounds were all constructed between the late fourth century and late fifth century, a period often called the "golden age" of burial mounds.

A unique characteristic of the sites is that they are all located in bustling residential areas of the cities of Sakai, Habikino and Fujiidera, all in Osaka Prefecture.

Although 29 of the 49 burial mounds are thought to be for emperors, empresses and other imperial family members, some archaeologists and historians had opposed using the name for the Emperor Nintoku tomb on grounds no confirmation exists on who was laid to rest there.

This is due to a paucity of scientific research on the burial mounds, which are under the supervision of the Imperial Household Agency.