Thursday, 6 May 2010

Hiraizumi - Motsuji

We made our way down the hill, through a tunnel of cherry blossoms in full bloom, past the railway station and the bicycle rental shop to Motsuji, arriving half an hour before the 6pm closing time.  Like Chusonji,  it was largely destroyed by the soon to be Shogun, Mimamoto Yoritomo.  There is little evidence of its former grandeur but a peaceful garden with a lake and  irises donated by Tokyo's Meiji Shrine, and no other visitors made for a pleasant detour.
A translation of a haiku written by Basho, arguably Japan's most eminent haiku writer,  in the 1600s when he visited Motsuji.  According to the temple's information, he was reflecting on the life and death of Morimoto Yoshitsune, (brother of the shogun-to-be) a much revered folk hero in Japanese history who was forced to kill  his family and then himself rather than risking forfeiting the fiefdom of his protector.

A weeping cherry

Iris beds

"Coastal rocks" in the lake, with an unfortunately tacky looking dragon boat behind.

Late afternoon by the lake

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