Pure Land Garden, Motsuji

Hiraizumi (平泉, ) is a small town in Iwate, in the northeastern Tohoku region of Japan.


夏草や 兵どもが 夢の跡
natsugusa ya tsuwamono-domo ga yume no ato
Summer grass all that remains of warrior dreams
-- Matsuo Bashō

During the reign of the Fujiwaras (866-1184), Hiraizumi was said to rival Kyoto in grandeur and sophistication, but now all that remains are the temples of Chusonji and Motsuji, both of which are mostly in ruins at that. Famed haiku poet Matsuo Basho penned the famous haiku quoted above, with the end result that now Basho is quite possibly more idolized in Hiraizumi than anywhere else, and you can't throw a rock in Hiraizumi without hitting a Basho statue, a Basho monument, an inscribed copy of a Basho haiku or at the very least a coffee shop waving its "As mentioned in Narrow Road to the Deep North!" banners.

Get in

By train

Hiraizumi is on the JR Tohoku Main Line, connecting to Morioka in the north and Sendai to the south.

The nearest Shinkansen stop, Ichinoseki, is only 10 minutes away (¥200). Trains from Tokyo reach Ichinoseki in about 2 1/2 hours (¥12,820 for the one-way trip to Hiraizumi; no charge with the Japan Rail Pass).

Get around

Local buses connect JR Hiraizumi station to points of interest, although you can also reach them on foot. Bicycle hire is available just to the right of the station, it is ¥1,000 for the whole day (lesser periods are available) it allows you to get around quickly and enjoyably.


Statue of Bashō, Chūson-ji
Takkoku no Iwaya, Bishamon-dō

In 2011, six of the city's attractions were made World Heritage Sites under the name "Hiraizumi - Temples, Gardens, and Archaeological Sites Representing Pure Land Buddhism". Those sites are: Chuson-ji, Motsu-ji, Kanjizaio-in Ato, Muryoko-in Ato, Yanaginogosho Iseki, and Mount Kinkeisan.


There are a number of small teahouses and souvenir stands in the grounds of Chūsonji.

There is no menu, just a bunch of sets listed on the wall. Three nigiri (sushi roll) sets, and two chirashi sets (sashimi on sushi rice). The cheapest set is 900 Yen, and the most expensive is 1700 Yen.

The owner makes the sushi herself, which is unusual (usually sushi chefs are men).

WARNING: Don't eat here if you're in a hurry. The owner is very, very slow at making the sushi. It's worth the wait, especially given the price, but if you have a bus or train to catch, be warned that it can take a long time. moderate.


Go next

Routes through Hiraizumi

Morioka Hanamaki ← Kitakami ← Mizusawa  N  S  Ichinoseki Sendai
Morioka Hanamaki ← Kitakami ← Mizusawa  N  S  Ichinoseki Sendai

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