Registered as World Heritage Site in 2011
The Hiraizumi area was registered as World Heritage Site in 2011 under the title ”Hiraizumi – Temples, Gardens and Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land, in which Motsuji is included.
The reconstructed main hall originally built in the Heian period
The main hall was built in 1989. According to head priest Kojun Shirayama who guided us, the building was re-constructed based on the building style from the Heian period.
But why did they choose the style of the Heian period for re-construction? It was because the garden remained in the style of the Heian period. The garden which is also called Paradise (Jodo) Garden was created in the space of about 20 hectares. The design is said to be based on the oldest known garden book ”Sakutei-ki” written in the Heian period. The garden is built around the Oizumigaike pond, and the ”araiso” style waterfront and the ”kare sansui” style landscaping replicates famous landscapes of Japan with the combination of manmade and natural beauty.
”Hono Enbu”, dance by the monks
Motsuji, as mentioned earlier, is a part of the World Heritage Site. In the middle of the site, there is the Jodo Garden and the ruins of ”Rinchi Garan” nearby is designated as National Special Historic Site and Special Beautiful Scenery. In addition, there is the main hall, Kai Kaizando, Jogyodo and the famous stone plaque with Basho’s famous haiku ”Summer plants, Soldiers, All remains a dream.”
There is also an Intangible Cultural Property at Motsuji. The dance is called ”Einen no Mai” (longevity dance) and performed by priests to be offered to Buddha and his guardian deity. It is performed in a hall called Jogyodo. The offering is made on the 20th day after New Years to pray for the peace of the nation, rich harvest and prevention of illness. It is generally known to the public as the ”20th Night Festival”.
- Tendaishu Bekkaku Honzan Motsuji
- 58 Osawa, Hiraizumi-cho, Iwate Prefecture
- URL http://www.motsuji.or.jp/en/