Hiraizumi - The Legend of Zipangu, the Land of Gold

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!!

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.

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.

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).

 

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.

Another 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

 

Did you like my article?

You can send me a message to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

I'll be waiting for you, so please check my profile and get your trip plan now

Tours By Guide

Day Tour to Mt. Fuji from Tokyo by a Private Charter Car or Public Transportations

Mount Fuji
10 hours

A day tour to Mt. Fuji area by a private van (up to 8 people) / a private microbus (up to 18 people) or public transportation (expressway bus + local route bus). Expressway bus + local private chartered car is also available. Please note transportation fee is not included in the guide fee. You can fully enjoy Mt. Fuji, the Symbol of Japan and the World Heritage, by this day tour!

FROM$394/ per group

Customized Day Tour in Tokyo (Optionally with van and driver)

Tokyo
7 hours

Since there are too many places to visit in Tokyo, it is not possible to include all the spots in a one-day tour. I will make a customized day tour in Tokyo based on your requests. You can include 3 or 4 places that you would like to visit depending on your interests. A chartered van tour is available for a group up to 8 people.

FROM$300/ per group

Three-hour tour to Naritasan Temple, one of the biggest and the closest temples from Narita Airport

Narita
3 hours

If you have a half day free at Narita Airport, this excursion is just right for you! This is a 3-hour tour to Naritasan Temple, one of the most popular temples in Japan. We visit almost all of the main buildings in Naritasan including, Main Gate, Ni-o-mon Gate, Great Main Hall, Shaka-do Hall, Komyo-do Hall and Great Pagoda of Peace. We can also walk in beautiful Naritasan Park.

FROM$152/ per group

Excursion to Fukagawa, a typical of old downtown Tokyo

Tokyo
5 hours

Fukagawa is one of the typical old downtown areas in Tokyo. You may feel something of Japan's good old days during this excursion. We will visit Fukagawa Fodoudou (a temple), Tomioka Hachimangu (a shrine), Kiyosumi Gardens (a Japanese garden), and some other attarctive places. You can also enjoy a famous "Fukagawa meshi", a meal cooked with rice and clams if you wish.

FROM$197/ per group

World Heritage Hiraizumi, Genbikei Gorge & Geibikei Gorge - Possible to take a day trip from Tokyo

Iwate
7 hours

This is a tour to visit 3 popular sightseeing places in Iwate. We will visit World Heritage Hiraizumi, Genbikei Gorge and Geibikei Gorge by a wagon taxi and train/bus. You can see the second most prosperous city in 12th century Japan. You will also enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the two different types of gorges.

FROM$349/ per group

A small Japanese sake brewery & a cozy Japanese restaurant in Ibaraki

Ibaraki
9.5 hours

One-day trip to a small Japanese sake brewery in Oarai Town, Ibaraki. You can take a mini tour in the brewery, taste and buy sake at the shop, and enjoy lunch with tasty sake in a cozy Japanese restaurant nearby. You will also enjoy a train trip to Ibaraki by a comfortable limited express and a cute local train.

FROM$374/ per group

Plan your trip to Tokyo with Nobu S.

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.

Send Message