Tourists and history buffs are flocking to the village of Asuka in Nara Prefecture to get a glimpse of an ancient tomb mural on display through Friday.

"Asuka Bijin" ("Asuka Beauties"), a richly colored depiction of beautiful women, is undergoing the final stage of restoration to remove black mold stains.

It is among a number of national treasure murals discovered in 1972 in the stone chamber of the Takamatsuzuka tomb in Nara Prefecture. The tomb was believed to have been built between the late seventh and early eighth centuries.

Unlike at the Kitora Tomb, another ancient tumulus in Asuka about 1 km away from Takamatsuzuka, preserving the murals was said to be relatively difficult, given that there were tiny cracks in the plaster.

The stone blocks removed from the burial chamber for cleaning are now on display at a restoration facility in the village. Visitors can see the mural displayed behind protective glass. The Cultural Affairs Agency aims to have the restoration done by next March.

"That blackened mural has become much whiter and clearer. It is a great repair technique," said Shigeo Takano, 62, who was visiting from Yokohama.