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Northern Buddhist city - experiencing history in a World Heritage site
Short trip from Tokyo to Hiraizumi

I recommend this course!

Rosemary Chiba / I'm from Leicester, England / I have lived in Japan for 37 years.

Profile

Born in 1949, with a B.A. honours in Fine Arts. Travelled worldwide. Worked in Nigerian museum then taught in Taiwan and co-wrote guidebook to mountains. Arrived in Tokyo 1980, taught English, and reviewed art exhibitions for Asahi. Married in 1985 in Kobe, have 2 sons. In 1991, moved to husband's hometown Hiraizumi, took over the family's farm.
Helped to improve English presentation of Hiraizumi for World Heritage registration in 2011. Wrote 'Summer Grass', it is about Yoshitsune's final 2 years in Hiraizumi. Member of Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamon Kagura for 22 years. Performed mainly locally, also Carnegie Hall New York (1995) and London (2001).

Hiraizumi's diverse history ranges from the 9th century struggles of an independent region, through local wars, to the founding of a Buddhist realm of peace by the Fujiwara family in the 12th century that was maintained for almost a century. Brought down in 1189 by a deathly fight between siblings, Japan's premier samurai Yoshitsune who fled to Hiraizumi and the first shogun, Yoritomo. This tragedy was commemorated exactly 500 years later by haiku master Matsuo Basho. Visitors can see Takkoku no Iwaya's temple in a cave founded to celebrate a military victory in 806. Climb between towering cryptomerias to Chuson-ji's mountain-top precinct where the lavish Golden Hall has survived from 1126. Wander through Motsu-ji's lovely 12th century, Pure Land garden, and see the Gikeido, dedicated to Yoshitsune, the place where Basho composed his profound 'summer grass' haiku as he looked down on the Kitakami River.

Tokyo station

JR Tohoku Shinkansen, Yamabiko / Hayabusa (2hr 35min)
¥12,820

JR Tohoku Shinkansen

Ichinoseki station(JR Tohoku Shinkansen )

Transfer (12min)

Hiraizumi station(JR Tohoku Line)

JR Tohoku Line (8min)

Hiraizumi station

Walk (1min)

Wanko Soba

  • Estimated time:1hr

Wanko Soba is a local specialty of Hiraizumi

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Walk (1min)

Hiraizumi station

Hiraizumi Junkai Bus Runrun (3min)
¥150

Hiraizumi Junkai Bus Runrun:¥400(all-day pass)

Motsu-ji Temple stop

(C)JNTO

Motsu-ji Temple

  • Estimated time:30min
  • Estimated cost:¥500

A 12th century Pure Land Garden

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(C)JNTO

Kanjizaiōin Ato

  • Estimated time:30min

A 12th century temple garden that became a public park

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Walk (5min)

Motsu-ji Temple stop

Hiraizumi Junkai Bus Runrun (7min)
¥150

Chuson-ji Temple stop

(C)JNTO

Chuson-ji Temple

  • Estimated time:2hr 30min
  • Estimated cost:¥800

This is where Kiyohira's message of peace started the realm of gold

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Walk (30min)

Accommodation and evening meals in Hiraizumi

Stay near the Hiraizumi Station

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Hiraizumi Station stop

Iwateken Kotsu Bus (10min)
¥390

Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondo Temple stop

Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondo Temple

  • Estimated time:1hr
  • Estimated cost:¥300

The temple in the rock has high halls across the cave

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Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondo Temple stop

Iwateken Kotsu Bus (10min)
¥390

Hiraizumi Station stop

Lunch (1hr)

Hiraizumi station

JR Tohoku Line (8min)
¥13,130

Ichinoseki station(JR Tohoku Line)

Transfer (13min)

Ichinoseki station(JR Tohoku Shinkansen)

JR Tohoku Shinkansen, Yamabiko (2hr36min)

Tokyo station

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