Skip to content

7 Best Places to Visit in Hiraizumi: This Hidden Area in Japan Will Make You Believe in Fairy Tales

Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture was founded in the 11th century, just before the emergence of Japan’s samurai society. A culture based on Pure Land Buddhism blossomed in Hiraizumi, and many of its diverse temples and gardens are still in good condition.
Chuson-ji Temple’s Golden Hall and Motsu-ji Temple’s Jodo Garden are two well-known examples. In recognition of its cultural value, Hiraizumi was designated as a World Heritage Site in 2011.
Let's explore the temples and historic sites that make up Hiraizumi’s fascinating culture.

1. Chuson-ji: The gorgeous temple known throughout Japan

Chuson-ji was built at the beginning of the 12th century by Fujiwara no Kiyohira, founder of the Oshu Fujiwara Clan. A center of Buddhist culture, the temple is home to the Konjikido, the first structure designated as a Japanese national treasure, and the Sankozo Museum, which displays thousands of historical artifacts.
Chuson-ji is situated in a hilly area about 130 meters above sea level. The path leading to the main hall, a slope called “Tsukimizaka,” has long been used by worshippers. Tall, 300-year-old cedar trees planted in the Edo period line the path and create a magnificent atmosphere.

Keep going to find the fabled Benkeido

As you head further up Tsukimizaka, the road flattens out and, on the right, you’ll see the “Eastern Observatory” with an open view of the Kitakami and Kinu rivers flowing nearby. Opposite the observatory is Benkeido, one of the most visited spots in Chuson-ji.
There are several halls along the path, and most were built after the mid-Edo period (around 1700-1750). Benkeido was constructed in 1827 and as a temple dedicated to Shogun Jizo. In the hall of the main building, formerly known as “Atagodo,” wooden statues of two historic figures – Yoshitsune and Benkei himself – are enshrined.

Konjikido: The Golden Hall of dreams

From Benkeido, head to Mineyakushido, a temple that is said to have special healing properties – especially regarding eye problems. More than 3,000 national treasures are stored at Chuson-ji, and most of these important cultural properties are on display in the Sankozo. Next, head to the Golden Hall – the Konjikido.
The Konjikodo was built in 1124 by first-class Buddhist artisans and painters from Kyoto. Both the interior and exterior of the hall are covered with gold leaf, and to protect it from the elements, it’s been completely enclosed within another building. You’ll be amazed by the Golden Hall glowing brilliantly in the darkness.
The support beams and altar itself are elaborately decorated with shining inlaid shells, intricate metal w…

See More >>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *