Temples Of Japan

Chusonji Temple

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Chusonji Temple Gate
Chusonji Temple Main Gate

Chusonji Temple is located in the historic Hiraizumi area of the Iwate Prefecture in the Tohoku Region.  The historical monuments and temples of Hiraizumi area are designated as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites.  This temple can be easily reached by a short bus ride from the JR Ichinoseki Station or a brisk walk for about half an hour from JR Hiraizumi Station.

As with most of the other monuments, structures and temples in this area; the historic Chusonji Temple SealHiraizumi got most of it's revival and significance during the rule of the Osho Fujiwara Family.  As with Motsuji Temple in the Hiraizumi area, Chusonji Temple also belongs to the Tendai Sect of Japanese Buddhism.

Chusonji Temple Seal

It is believed that the third head priest of the Tendai Sect from the Enryakuji Temple (headquarters of Tendai Sect) Monk Jikaku Daishi Ennin established this temple in the late eight century.  This temple was then designated as the head temple of the Tendai sect in the Tohoku Region due to it's sheer size and importance.  After a few years of neglect the temple was revived by the first Osho Fujiwara king Kiyohira in the twelfth century. 

The Osho Fujiwara clan was responsible for the revival of entire Hiraizumi area during the twelfth century.  Fujiwara Kiyohira's sons and grand sons continued it's grandeur throughout the twelfth century.  Unfortunately most of original structures have then been destroyed by fires in the later years.  It is also said that when Minomoto no Yoritomo (first shogun of Japan) invaded Hiraizumi area, he burned down most of the Hiraizumi area.  It is also believed that he wiped out the entire Osho Fujiwara ruling clan during the battles.

Konjiki-do at Chusonji TempleBut some halls survived, the most important one is the Konjikido (literally means Golden Hall).  The video below does not include shots of Konjikido, but you should definitely make it a point to visit this Golden Hall because it is one of the most magnificent twelfth century structures that is preserved intact. 

Konjiki-do (Golden Hall) at Chusonji

The inside and outside of the hall are covered with gold and the daises are decorated by the highest artistic quality and craftsmanship of the twelfth century. 

It was believed that mummified bodies of the later Osho Fujiwara clan (Kiyohira, Motojira, Hidehara) still preserved in this hall.

There is also a beautiful Hondo (main worship hall) which was reconstructed in 1909 (Meiji period).  This main hall has a statue of Amida Nyorai, which is the principal Buddha image for this hall.  It is believed that this statue was transferred here from Enryakuji Temple, which is the head temple of the Tendai Sect.

From the temple precincts you can see great views of the Hiraizumi area and the valleys of the Iwate Prefecture. 

Here is a video of this magnificent Temple:

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