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“Main attraction of Hiraizumi”
Review of Chuson-ji Temple

Chuson-ji Temple
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
103 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Main attraction of Hiraizumi”
Reviewed 15 July 2013

Find the main area by walking up the steep pedestrianised hill by the car park.

* Konjikido (the Golden Hall) is amazing - not least in the accomplishments of people so long ago. It's housed behind a glass wall, but that's fair enough given how fragile it must be. There's an audio description that comes over the loud speakers (and is available in English).
* The museum is also worth a look - the gold writing of sutras on blue paper is particularly impressive.
* It's possible to walk through the hills to motsu-ji, but beware the bears! Highly unlikely to see one, but they have periodic boards which you should hit with a mallet to frighten them off just in case.

Entry is 800 yen, and worth it. There are also audio guides for a further 500 yen.

Visited July 2013
Thank NomDG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Level Contributor
604 reviews
347 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 228 helpful votes
“A beautiful set of temples, quite popular with Japanese tourists”
Reviewed 8 July 2012

This is a set of temples and shrines, amidst beautiful old trees. It attracts many visitors, including groups, so don't expect to stroll around alone quietly. It is located 20 mn walk from the train station.

Visited July 2012
Thank Seasondtraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
70 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
“Remnants of a warrior's dream”
Reviewed 14 May 2012

At the peak of it's glory, it was said Hiraizumi's splendor rivaled Kyoto. Just as Basho had lamented, all that remained from warriors's dream, summer grass.
Chusonji is about 30 min walk from Hiraizumi station, leisurely of course. Alternatively, you may take the bus from the front of the station. As usual, I preferred to walk. I realized when you walk, you are more aware of the beauty that surrounds you. In spring, when the Sakura blooms, the road leading to Chusonji is lined with Sakura trees on both side. From the train station, turn right and walk straight, it is rather easy. Your ordeal starts when you reach the beginning of the ascent up to the temple. Chusonji sits on top of Mt Kanzan, thus a walk up is required to reach there. The path is pleasant enough, and lined with old cedar trees, not very long but steep enough to leave you gasping for breath. Wear good comfortable footgear and try not to weigh yourself
down with heavy backpack. You can leave them in the lockers in the station.
Chusonji is beautiful in spring, with Sakura blooming in the background. Chusonji is even more spectacular in autumn with all colors bursting in before winter falls.
Admission is free but you need to pay ¥800 to access the Konjikido which includes entry to the museum. The golden hall is a mausoleum which contains the remains of the Fujiwara clan.
No photography allowed. Although entry fee is a bit steep but well worth. Do not leave this place without a visit to Hakusan Shrine. I love the simplicity and old feel of the stage. Simple faded painting of matsu adorns the wall of the stage. View from here, at the edge of Mt Kanzan, you can only imagine what it used to be before the tragic end.

Visited March 2012
1 Thank bakatori
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
110 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
“A stunning sight”
Reviewed 6 March 2012

The real attraction at Chūson-ji is the Konjiki-dō. This is stunning. Built in 1174, in wood, 25square meters, it has been lacquered all over in gold. Floor, walls, ceiling, roof, everything. The inside is full of statues of bronze also covered in gold. Many of the Fujiwara Lords of the Heian era are buried here. The building is housed inside another. Although the current building is relatively nee, it has been so housed almost since the beginning. You can also see the Kamakura era housiing building which, by virtue of its age is also a National Treasure The Museum alongside, and included in the entry price, is excellent and definitely should be visited.

1 Thank bariloche48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jacksonville, Florida
Level Contributor
24 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“A Cultural World Heritage Site Must-See”
Reviewed 16 November 2011

I visited Chusonji Temple and the Hiraizumi area when the autumn leaves were starting to show their colors. It is believed to be founded in 850 C.E. and rebuilt during the 12th century and is the head temple of the Tendai Sect. It was founded by the Fujiwara clan (Fujiwara no Kiyohara). The Konjiki-Do or Golden Hall is a beautiful building. Back in the day, the Hiraizumi area was a leading producer of gold. The Golden Hall is all wood and covered in gold leaf, inlaid with mother-of-pearl. It was completely rebuilt in the 1960s-you can only view the front of it because it is covered by clear acrylic panels. It was very crowded and busy the day we were there, maybe contributed to by the fact that there was a Fall Festival going on at the temple. The building originally stood in the open air, but is now completely enclosed by the building you go into to view it. There are examples of the mother of pearl inlay and more details in the museum, which is well worth viewing, to gain some insight. The Golden Hall is a mausoleum and the remains of the Fujiwaras are housed there. Chusonji is a beautiful, serene setting allowing for contemplation, observation, and a bit of tranquility from daily life. I enjoyed all the Buddhist art and history. I went there with relatives and family members and one of our party was 85 yrs. old. It was a bit rough walking for the senior person, but manageable. There are lots and lots of stairs, as is the norm in Japan. The temple is on a mountain, so there is a lot of uphil/downhill walking involved. I enjoyed every aspect of my visit there and would go again. This is a great place to also learn a little bit more about the Heian Period of Japan, when the Japanese Imperial Court was at the height of power and the actual rulers of the period were the Fujiwaras. A lot of great art and poetry came out of that period, too-one example is the famous Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu. The March 11, 2011 earthquake didn't impact the temple structure itself; it's easy to get there by Tohoku Shinkansen and local trains to the Ichinoseki/Hiraizumi area. We traveled from Tokyo and stayed in a Japanese Inn in Hiraizumi and viewed the temple and surrounds in two days. It is about 2-3 hrs. from Tokyo by bullet train. The Inn we stayed at had an onsen, which I thoroughly enjoyed and the food was excellent! You can tour the temple in a couple hours or so. I personally would allot much more time simply because I really enjoy visiting Japan's temples and I think one needs to take time to get the full benefit of such visits.

Visited November 2011
3 Thank Favzoz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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