Photo by Roger Smith

Photo by Mizuhi Horii

Photo by Roger Smith

  • The Fujiwara clan was the most influential aristocratic family in medieval Japan. They ruled from Heian (Kyoto), but the family’s northern branch chose Hiraizumi for their seat. They left a legacy of magnificent temples surrounded by forest. A visit here will feel like a stroll through Japanese history.

    The main place that you need to visit in Hiraizumi is Chusonji. This prominent temple complex is often referred to as “northern Mount Hiei” (Mount Hiei, located near Kyoto, is the center of Tendai Buddhism in Japan), very large with many sanctuaries and tourist attractions. The most popular one is Konjikido, the Golden Hall, which dates back to 1124. It is so-named because the building and its meticulously detailed ornamentation are completely covered in gold leaf.

    On the other end of the town is another temple, Motsuji, renowned for its heavenly garden with a large pond in the middle. This garden was designed to represent the Pure Land, Buddhist paradise. Be sure to visit the on-site Cultural Assets Repository, where the temple’s treasures are on display. You can get between Motsuji and Chusonji by walking through the town, on a hiking trail through the forest, by rental cycle, or local bus.

    Hiraizumi is worth an extended stay as there are many other places to visit nearby including Geibikei—a spectacular gorge, and Takkoku no Iwaya—a unique temple built into a cliff. The most famous local dish is wanko soba, small bowls of soba noodles eaten one after another in a single sitting.

    Local Voice

    Hiraizumi is meant to be explored by foot, so if you have the time my recommendation is to walk as much as you can. There are local shops, small sanctuaries and statues everywhere you look!

  • Last Update
    March 3, 2019

    Area Near Miyagi

Details

ADDRESS

Chusonji: Koromonoseki-202 Hiraizumi, Nishiiwai-gun, Iwate-ken 029-4102
Motsuji: Ōsawa-58 Hiraizumi, Hiraizumi-chō, Nishiiwai-gun, Iwate-ken 029-4102

ACCESS BY PUBLIC TRANSIT

Chusonji Temple: About 1.5 kilometers on foot or by rental cycle from Hiraizumi Station.
By bus, Chusonji is 10 minutes from Hiraizumi Station (平泉駅). Board Runrun (るんるん) bus, alight at stop #5 Chusonji (中尊寺). Timetable here.

Motsuji Temple: About 700 meters on foot or by rental cycle from Hiraizumi Station.
By bus, Motsuji is 3 minutes from Hiraizumi Station (平泉駅). Board Runrun (るんるん) bus, alight at stop #2 Motsuji (毛越寺). Timetable here.

ADMISSION

Chusonji Konjikido & Sankozo Museum: ¥800 (the rest of the temple complex is free)
Motsuji Temple: ¥500

CREDIT CARDS

Not accepted

LANGUAGES

Limited English

HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE

Yes

HOURS

Chusonji: March 1–Nov 3 8:30–17:00; Nov 4–Feb 8:30–16:30
Motsuji: March 5–Nov 4 8:30–17:00; Nov 5–March 4 8:30–16:30

CLOSED DAYS

None

PHONE

0191-46-2110 (Hiraizumi Tourism Association)

OFFICIAL URL

http://hiraizumi.or.jp/en/index.html