Today, the large Kofun are off limits to people, but they were, at one time, open. In 16th century Japan, Daisen Kofun would be visited for hanami, or cherry blossom viewing. Itasuke Kofun had a concrete bridge built to it made for a housing development; its remains are still visible. Opposition to the project prevented it.Sakai, like many cities in Japan, is a dense urban area. The Kofun act like wildlife sanctuaries. In winter, huge murders of crow can be seen gathering over these islands in the evening, and, in the summers, cicada electrify the air with their song. The moats are populated with fish and a host of water birds—heron, egrets, ducks, and divers.
Itasuke Kofun has a population of tanuki, Japanese raccoon dogs. Locals come to the bridge and use sling shots to fire uncooked hotdogs to the animals. The tanuki are quite use to the game. If the trajectory of the sausage is way off, they sit calmly on the bridge and watch it disappear into the moat. Only when the shot is well aimed will the animals make the effort to catch the flying food. In the image, three tanuki are visible on the bridge trying to ascertain if this photographer is bringing lunch.