A 12th century temple garden that became a public park
Kanjizaiōin is the large open park beside Motsu-ji Temple, started by the second Fujiwara lord Motohira. His widow commissioned two Amida Buddha halls here and a Pure Land garden with a Dancing Crane Pond. Like the Motsu-ji garden, it followed the precepts of a 11th century treatise on garden-making. Between the two precincts was a place for ox-carts. After the fall of Hiraizumi, the temple fell into disuse. The area reverted to rice paddies until recently when it was restored as a public space. Various open-air events were held: displaying local products and traditional performing arts to help recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, concerts by popular artists, and Kabuki. In May, there is an unusual 'Weeping Festival' to mourn Motohira's widow. The July Mizukake Festival, in which portable shrines are carried through the town and drenched with water, starts here.