Friday, 2 May 2014

Motsu-ji & Chuson-ji Temples

Today I took the Shinkinsen to northern Japan to see two World Heritage Temple sites - Motsu-ji and Chuson-ji.
Motsu-ji is a Buddhist temple of the Tendai sect in Hiraizumi. It contains the ruins of two older temples, which were burned down in 1226, when taken over in a feudal war and it was considered the northern boundary of Japan. The current temple was built in the 18th century and the pond is preserved the way it was 800 years ago.
Chuson-ji is the head temple of the Tendai Buddhist sect and was founded in 850. The Konjiki-do or "Golden Hall" is a mausoleum containing the mummified remains of leaders of northern Fujiwara clan who ruled much of northern Japan in the 12th century. It contains two buildings that survived feudal war. The Golden Hall is made of wood and covered with gold leaf and decorated with mother-of-pearl.
When I arrived the local tourist information office was very helpful and provided an English map. I took the loop bus to the farthest away temple Chuson-ji. It was located on a hill. It was not that bad of a walk up. It was very scenic with places to look at the beautiful view. The Golden Hall was very beautiful. I really enjoyed it. When I went in, I noticed they had a stamp office and a special stamp book for ¥2000, so I thought what the heck, lets get it. They said they could put my name on it. I wrote it in alphabet and they said they could do it in alphabet. It was very busy and lots of bus tours.
Instead of taking the bus to Motsu-ji, I decided to walk, as it wasn't that far. It was only a hop, skip and jump, compared to the Shikoku pilgrimage. On the way, I stopped at the Hiraizumi Heritage Center and they had an excellent display of the history of the area in Japanese and English. I enjoyed the visit. Then I visited Motsu-ji and got my book stamped there.
I then caught the train back to Tokyo.

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