Thursday, 6 May 2010

Hiraizumi - Chusonji

The mass exodus of Tokyo-ites taking advantage of the last weekend of 1000Y (12AUD) flat rate expressway tolls, meant for a long trip north.  Despite an early rise, it took more than 7 hours to travel the 350km or so to Hiraizumi a small and unassuming  former northern capital in Iwate prefecture, north of Sendai.
Hiraizumi flourished in the 1100s under the patronage of the Fujiwaras clan, but was largely destroyed by Minamoto Yoritomo in 1189 as part of his political maneuverings  before establishing the Kamakura shogunate.  In its hey day, the principle temple, Chusonji, used to have 300+ buildings.. while it is no doubt a shadow of its former glory now, the setting is peaceful, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom and there some stunning architectural remains of the past.

Looking down on Hiraizumi from Chusonji

Cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms

A buddhist altar

This building has been built to house the restored Konjikido - an extraordinary elaborate gold and mother of pearl building.  I complied with the rule not to take photos, but was disappointed they didn't have a postcard of it -  bit short sighted of them really since they are trying to get World Heritage Status (they failed in 2007).
You can see the Konjikido at this link.  The most likely reason for the Konjikido not being razed with most of the complex, is that it housed mummified remains of the Fujiwara clan... destroying them would have invited very bad karma...

This building used to house the Konjikido

A peaceful environment near the Sutra library.

NEWSFLASH 27 JUNE 2011 - Hiraizumi was granted world heritage status yesterday.

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