Hiraizumi Travel Guide

Hiraizumi is located in the southwest area of Iwate Prefecture.

Hiraizumi holds a long history and has deep ties to Oshu Fujiwara (the Northern Fujiwara) who ruled the entire Tohoku area.  The rich history began in the latter half of the 11th century when Fujiwara no Kiyohira moved his base from Esashi, in southwest Iwate Prefecture, to Hiraizumi because Hiraizumi better suited transport.

Kiyohira, who lost many relatives in repeated battle, built Chuson-ji Temple, which is also registered as a World Heritage Site, in hopes of peace.  The Konjiki-do Hall (Golden Hall), which was built in the year 1124, has an elaborate interior featuring the best craftsmanship of the time, and is decorated with gold leaf on the interior and exterior.  The concept of Chuson-ji is based on Kiyohira’s idea of a Buddhist peace society, and is the inherited philosophy of Hiraizumi even today.

Motsu-ji Temple, located a 25 minute walk from Chuson-ji, is also a registered World Heritage Site.  The “Fujiwara Festival” is held every May, where people dressed as members of Oshu Fujiwara parade the route from Motsu-ji to Chuson-ji.  The “Kyokusui no Utage (Fest of the song water)” is also a popular event at Motsu-ji, and features people dressed in aristocratic costumes of the Heian period reading poetry, as well as a showcase of traditional dance.

Hiraizumi is also famous for its cherry blossoms.  Two of the top recommended spots are the 3000 trees of western Komagatayama cherry blossom forest, and the cherry blossoms planted along the 1.5 km of the former National Road No. 4.  The cherry blossoms are in full bloom from late April to early May, later than those in Tokyo.

At Ichinoseki Station on the Hokkaido Shinkansen (Bullet train) Line, transfer to the JR Tohoku Honsen Line and continue for 10 minutes to reach JR Hiraizumi Station.  From Tokyo, JR Hiraizumi Station is approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes.

Tourism information: Hiraizumi

Map: Hiraizumi