Old temple in a small town
Hiraizumi Travel Blog› entry 19 of 52 › view all entries
I get out of the train at the end of my journey the last bit took a lot longer than the first bit because I had to use a local train - and wait for it as well - to go the last two stations to my destination. It is a tiny town in northern Honshu. Today it is quite insignificant but during its glory days this rivaled even Kyoto in terms of beauty and magnificent temples. But time has taken its toll on the temples of the city so not many of the original impressive temples remain intact till this day.
There are still several impressive temples left though - plenty to spend an afternoon wondering around - actually more than plenty. The main temples in Hiraizumi was constructed during the 12th century when the city had its heyday under the rule of the Fujiwara clan. The temple I visit this afternoon is not nearly as impressive as it was back then. Most of the buildings in the Mutsu-Ji have been destroyed by fires many centuries ago and today they are only marked by small molds indicating where the buildings used to stand. There are a pillar on top of each earthwork telling the name in Japanese of the structure which used to take up the space.
There are a few new shrines around the area of Mutsu-Ji but the main attraction of the place is the big garden surrounding a lake in the middle of the temple area. I actually wanted to stay inside the temple but apparently they have no longer accommodation available inside the temple - hence I had to stay just five minutes’ walk away.
After visiting the temple I get out - just before closing time - and walk towards the place where I am staying. On the way I just stop by a small garden which used to house one more of the temples which were around the area during the Fujiwara times.
Then I head back to my little ryokan next to the garden where the friendly - none English speaking - staff will be waiting and a delicious Japanese meal is awaiting my return.