Monday, November 12, 2012

World Heritage: Hiraizumi: Chrysanthemum Festival


We took a trip to Hiraizumi in Iwate Prefecture to take in the fall colors and experience some Japanese history.

Chuson-ji Temple:

In the latter half of the 11th Century, two bitter wars were fought in Oshu, the northeastern area of Japan. The first Fujiwara lord, Kiyohira, lost his father, wife and children in these conflicts, yet realized that hatred and revenge could never heal the sorrow.

Instead, he constructed Chuson-ji Temple and offered a pledge before Buddha to console the spirits of the dead, whether friend or foe, human or animal.

In June 2011, Hiraizumi’s cultural heritage was inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is hoped that the philosphy of peace espoused by the Oshu Fujiwara family, who ruled Hiraizumin the 12th century, will be recognized worldwide.


Konjikido (Golden Hall) (National Treasure): The Konkikido (Golden Hall) was completed in 1124. The principal image is of Amida (Buddha of Infinite LIght) and the magnificent decoration is meant to represent his Pure Land western paradise. The inlay of work of iridescent shells, the Southeast Asian rosewood and African ivory show the extensive trade network at that time.

The Konjikido is the only remaining example of a building from the Fujiwara-era to be found at Chuson-ji Temple. Between 1962 and 1968, extensive preservation and restoration work was carried out on the Konjikido, returning it to its former brilliance.

The mummified remains of four generations of Fukiwara lords rest inside.


Sankozo (Museum) : The museum contains more than 3,000 treasures from the time of the Oshu Fujiwara. Among them are three massive seated Buddhas, burial accessories from the Konjikido (Golden Hall) and sections of the Chusonji-Sutras.


Chuson-ji Kyo (Chuson-ji Sutras) :

Complete transcriptions of the holy canon of Buddhism on deep blue paper in gold ink o alternating lines of gold and silver ink. Three generations of the Osu Fujiwara devoted their lives to the meritorious act of sutra transcription.



Hiraizumi is especially beautiful in the fall. At this time, they were having their Chrysanthemum festival.


We also went to Sahara Glass Park which was nearby. This small “street” had a lot of glassware displayed and there was an entire store full of glassware and decorations. Everything was beautiful and there was so much to see!