Hiraizumi - The Legend of Zipangu, the Land of Gold

by Nobu

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

 


08 Feb 2017

Nobu

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My family and I had a great time with Nobu. He managed our trip to the Mt.Fuji area well and everything went smoothly. He also tried his best to help us book a taxi to the train station a few days after our trip with him was over which was very nice of him to do.
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Sorry for delay...we have been on a cruise ship from Yokohama and have had terrible internet connection. Close to USA now and internet better. Nobu was the best. He listened to us and arranged to take us exactly where we wanted to go and to the places we really wanted to see. It appears many guides will take you only to the "hot spots", but we had several requests that weren't necessarily the ...
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Nobuhiro sun has great skills on organizing tours, including booking vehicles and arranging restaurants for lunch. He is punctual itself and able to maintain a tour schedule. This is very important when your tour is a shore excursion and your time in the port is limited.
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Nobu was patient and courteous. We made some last minute changes to our agenda and he was able to accommodate us. We would recommend him to anyone looking for a professional tour guide in Japan.
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2 months ago Traveler: Dennis -   Tour Guide: Nobu

I found Nobu, our friendly tour guide, through google since I did not have time to prepare for my trip to Tokyo. I'm glad I did since he was very accommodating even before my trip. Pressed with time, I relied on Nobu for suggested places to visit in Tokyo since it was our first time to visit Japan. He patiently answered all my questions promptly which gave me an inkling of the kind of service he p...
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4 months ago Traveler: Jaslyn -   Tour Guide: Nobu

Nobu was knowledgeable and helped us navigate the public transport system. We would never have been able to do so on our own. He took us to the major spots and was very flexible.
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I enjoyed my tour with Nobu. He spoke English fairly well. He was punctual. His itinerary included a trip to the temple and shrine at Asakusa, a river trip, walking through Hamma Rikyu Gardens, and a trip to the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Building with a tremendous 360 degree view. I would highly recommend Nobu.
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