Hiraizumi - The Legend of Zipangu, the Land of Gold

by Nobu - Japan Licensed Guide
(51) Reviews

Have you ever heard about Zipangu, the Land of Gold?

The Venetian merchant, Marco Polo (1254-1324) wrote about Zipangu in his book "The Travels of Marco Polo". (Exactly to say, Marco told and other guy dictated it.) 

Zipangu is said to be the origin of the current country name "Japan", and the Land of Gold was said to be Hiraizumi!

Look at this photo!!

Hiraizumi - The Legend of Zipangu, the Land of Gold

This is the Golden Hall (Konjikido) in Chuson-ji Temple.  The construction completed in 1124 and still remains as it was. It is definitely one of Japan’s most significant buildings.

 

If you look at this building with your own eyes, you will believe the Land of Gold is here.

 The Golden Hall enshrines Amida, the principal Buddha of the Pure Land, flanked by statues of attendants and with reliefs of peacocks and flowers representing paradise. 

 

 The peaceful reign of Hiraizumi continued only 100 years under three Fujiwara generations. It was ended by the attack of Minamoto no Yoritomo,  who became shogun later.

Hiraizumi - The Legend of Zipangu, the Land of Gold

This is the Main Hall (Hondo) of Chuson-ji Temple. It is said to have been established in 850 by Jikaku-Daishi (En-nin), the third head abbot of Tendai Buddism. In the 12 th century, Fujiwara no Kiyahira, the first lord of the Fujiwara clan, began construction of the temple complex to console the war dead and to prey for the peace of Hiraizumi.

Hiraizumi - The Legend of Zipangu, the Land of Gold

Another spot you should visit in Hiraizumi is Motsu-ji Temple. It was also found by Jikaku-Daisi (En-nin) in 850.  After the fall of the Fujiwara clan, all the buildings in Motsu-ji Temple complex were destroyed by repeated fires, and now only their foundation stones remain. The Pure land garden (the above photo) however, still remains its original form. This garden is appreciated as an important historical site that helps us to understand the Pure Land garden of Heian period (794-1185/1192).

 

Hiraizumi - The Legend of Zipangu, the Land of Gold

Apart from historical sites, there are 2 more must-go spots near Hiraizumi! The above photo shows Genbikei Gorge. It is one of the "100 beauty spots in Japan". This 2 km long gorge is famous for its rocks eroded into strange shapes by rapid flow of the Iwai River from Mt. Kurikoma. It is 15 minute distance from Hiraizumi by car.

Hiraizumi - The Legend of Zipangu, the Land of GoldAnother spot is Geibikei Gorge. There are cliffs rising 100m high on both sides of the Satetsu River. You can enjoy the scenery while being poled down the river in a boat. A round trip lasts approximately 1 hour. This gorge is also one of "100 beauty spots in Japan". It is 20 minute distance from Hiraizumi by car.

 

You can go to Ichinoseki, the nearest bullet train station to Hiraizumi, in 2 hours from Tokyo Station!

It means you can visit there by a day trip from Tokyo!! (Of course, I recommend you to stay there at least 1 night.)

If you are interested in visiting Hiraizumi, do not hesitate to contact me!

I can give you more detailed information.

Since I am also offering a tour to Hiraizumi including Genbikei Gorge and Geibikei Gorge, please take a look at the below website if you are interested in it.

Website: https://triplelights.com/japan/tour/iwate-world-heritage-hiraizumi-genbikei-gorge-geibikei-gorge-1142

By Nobu

 

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08 Feb 2017

Nobu

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(51) Reviews





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