Motsu-ji temple was commissioned by the second Fujiwara Lord Motohira, in the mid 12th century, and finished by his son, Hidehira. All the richly decorated halls were destroyed by fire in 1228 but its Great Spring Pond, representing a Pure Land paradise, has survived. Visitors can enjoy the quiet beauty of the garden set amidst the mountains and pond with its meditative standing stone. Snow-covered and monochrome in winter, flowers bloom from early spring to late autumn, with special iris and bush clover festivals. The boisterous Hatsukayasai Festival in January has a torch-lit parade that leads to the Jogyodo Hall. At this place, men and women of 'unlucky' years will end off the festival with the Longevity Rites, a dance that was handed down from the 12th century. Hiraizumi's Spring Fujiwara Festival procession starts here with 'Yoshitsune' crossing the pond on a phoenix-prow boat to meet 'Hidehira'. In May, a courtly pastime of poetry writing is recreated in costume beside the winding Feeder Stream.