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World Heritage Sites in Japan

Scenic Beauty

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Historical sites, cultural attractions and over 3,000 national treasures. The culture of the 11th century has been preserved.

Hiraizumi in the southwestern part of Iwate Prefecture is a town extending up the Hiraizumi Hill on the west bank of the Kitakami-gawa River, that prospered for almost 100 years from the 11th to 12th centuries as the center of the Tohoku region (the northeastern region). Over 3,000 national treasures and historical sites still remain, telling of the Fujiwara Clan that reigned over the area in the zenith of its prosperity. The splendid culture that appeared during the reign of the Fujiwaras lasted for three generations and has been preserved in the area to this day.

The Konjiki-do of Chuson-ji Temple, built by the Fujiwaras, is decorated inside and out with lacquer containing gold foil and studded with gold and silver, a symbol of the gold culture of Hiraizumi. The historical artifacts and Buddhist statues found in the Konjiki-do are stored in the Sanko-zo storehouse and displayed to the public, reminding all who see them of the very high level of artistic achievement in these earlier times.

The Motsu-ji Temple adjacent to the Chuson-ji Temple was built in the 9th century, but destroyed repeatedly by fire. The restored temple and garden around the Oizumi-ike Pond are reminiscent of what the temple and its environs would have looked like in those days.

Many historical sites and buildings still remain around Hiraizumi, including the site of the Muryoko-in Temple, modeled after Byodo-in Temple in Uji, Kyoto, and the Takadachi-gikei-do Temple, which houses a wooden statue of the tragic samurai warrior Minamoto-no Yoshitsune.

Hiraizumi City, Iwate prefecture


Two hours 10 minutes to Ichino-seki Station from Tokyo Station by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line, and 4 hours 40 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station with a change at Tokyo Station, by the Tokaido and Tohoku Shinkansen Line. Ten minutes to Hiraizumi Station from Ichino-seki Station by the JR Tohoku Honsen Line.


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