World Heritage in Japan 16
Cultural Assets in Hiraizumi
Cultural Assets in Hiraizumi (Culture, registered in 2011)
Hiraizumi is the place associated with Oshu Fujiwara Family who governed
the Northeast of Japan in 12th century. After the war period, Kiyohira
Fujiwara, the first lord of Oshu Fujiwara Family, built Chusonji Temple
to make Hiraizumi as the paradise where Buddha lives. In the precinct there
is Golden Hall which is the grave for first 4 leaders of Oshu Fujiwara.
Other than this Chusonji Temple, Motsuji Temple, Mount Kinkei, Muryokoin
Temple site and Kanjizaiouin Temple site are registered as world heritage.
1. Chusonji Temple
Chusonji Templewas founded by Kiyohira Fujiwara. This great monastery covers the whole
area of Kanzan. Except Konjikido (Golden Hall) built in 1124, all other
constructions of the period doesn't exist. But five later structures designated
as Important Cultural Properties (the Sutra Repository, Former Konjikido
Sheath Hall, stone Ganjojuin and Five-Tiered Shakuson'in Stupas, and outdoor
Noh stage) and many original archeological sites remain well preserved.
Konjikido (Golden Hall) is the only construction by Oshu Fujiwara. The hall is covered both inside and outside with gold leaf. The three alters decorated with gold, silver inlaid mother-of-pearl and makie (sprinkled picture with gold and silver), hold the mummified remains of the first three Fujiwara lords. It really is the symbol of the culture of Hiraizumi.
2. Motsuji Temple
It was constructed by second and third lords of Fujiwara Family. With the
loss of its Fujiwara patrons, by the late pre-modern period Motsuji's original
structures had completely burned down. But the temple itself continued
uninterrupted. In addition to remains from the main temple complex, the
Pure Land temple garden centered on Oizumi ga Ike Pond has been preserved,
and restored based on archeological findings. Discovered during archeological
excavations and restored to its original splendor. This feeder stream for
the temple pond is known by its Japanese name, Yarimizu. This is the only
extant feeder stream site from the 12th century, and the site of May’s
elegant poetry event, Gokusui no En.
3. Mount Kinkei
Referred to as an artificial mountain, Kinkei’s peak is the site of a compound
sutra mound created by Oshu Fujiwara. The remains of a hall dedicated to
the deity Zao Gongen, the spirit of Mount Kimpu (near Nara), are believed
located at the eastern foot of Kinkei, pointing to the mountain's association
with the cult of Miroku (Boddhisattva). Kinkei is also known for legends
of buried golden chicken statues and gold treasure.
4. Muryokoin Temple site
Built by 3rd lord Hidehira Fujiwara. Modeled after the famous Phoenix Hall
of Byodoin Temple near Kyoto. After the fall of the Oshu Fujiwara, it was
eventually burnt down. However, the archeological remains of its constructions
and pond remain well preserved.
5. Kanjizaioin Temple site
Commissioned by 2nd lord Moritatsu Fujiwara’s wife. A prototypical Pure
Land temple garden like that of its neighbor, Motsuji.
(Reference: Website of Hiraizumi Tourist Association)
How to access from Tokyo (example)
Tokyo Station-(Shinkansen)-Ichinoseki Station-(JR)-
Hiraizumi Station-(bus)-Chusonji Temple
Total time: About 3 hours
Cover structure of Konjikido (Golden Hall) of Chusonji Temple
General information of Japan
World heritage in Japan
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-Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
-Hiroshima Peace Memorial
-Shrines and Temples in Nikko
-Kingdom of Ryukyu
-Kii Mountain Range
-Iwami Silver Mine
-Site of Industrial Revolution
-Architectural Work of Le Corbusier
-Okinoshima & Munakata
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