Motsuji Temple located in Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture. It is registered as a national special historic site, special scenic spot, a World Heritage Site, and it is an indispensable spot for Tohoku tourism. It is a historical temple that still retains the Pure Land Garden (Jodo Garden) and temple remains, but there are lots of highlights in the shrine precincts. Here we will introduce the points that you will want to keep in mind when you visit the vast precinct!
About Motsuji Temple
A historic temple opened in Kasho 3 (the year 850) by Jikaku Daishi. It has been said that it was a large scale temple with 40 pagodas and 500 monks at the time when it prospered the most. After repeated disasters, all the buildings were burnt down, but the Pure Land Garden centred around a pond called and the ruins of the the Heian era temple still remain almost as they once were.
Pure Land Garden: One of the Most Prestigious Gardens in the Tohoku Region!
In the Pure Land Garden in front of the temple was built around the vast pond Oizumi ga Ike. In the past, a bridge was built across the pond to the central island and to the other side so people could cross the pond, The waterside expresses coastal scenery and landscape scenery in various places. The Dejima on the southeastern edge of the pond is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the garden. The best time to see the autumn colours is in late October!
The Main Hall: Yakushi Nyorai enshrined in the Heian Period!
The main hall was constructed in 1989 by following the Heian style. The principal deity is Yakushi Nyorai from the Heian period and it is possible to worship this deity in the main hall from 10:00 - 15:00 on the 8th of every month (enquiry required). Furthermore, a Zazen (meditation) experience is possible with a group of more than 10 people if a reservation is made.
Jogyodo: with an Invaluable Buddha Statue Publicly Shown once Every 33 years
Jogyodo is a hall with a thatched roof. The inner shrine is dedicated to an invaluable Buddha statue, Matarajin, which has long been admired as a god of crops, and is shown to the public only once every 33 years (the next showing is 2033).
Ayame Garden: Irises in full bloom!
Ayame Garden in the shrine precincts is full of purple, yellow and white irises from late June to early July. Additionally, the Motsuji Iris Festival is held from 20th June - 10th July, and around 300 varieties and about 30,000 flowers are in full bloom around the Oizumi ga Ike pond. Be sure to compare and contrast the vividly blooming purple, white and yellow irises with the deep green of the Pure Land Garden .
Gokusui no En and Motsuji Hatsukayasai Festival
Here, we will introduce two annual festivals that are packed with highlights at Motsuji Temple. The first is Gokusui no En (Stream Party) which is held on the 4th Sunday of May. It is an event that recreates the elegant play of the Heian era where a Sake cup is floated down a stream and traditional songs are sung in time with the flow. It is performed on the 4th Sunday of May every year. A male singer is dressed in a Ikan (衣冠) headdress and a garment called a Kariginu (狩衣), and the woman is dressed in garments called an Uchigi (袿) and Jūnihitoe (十二単等). It’s almost has through you have taken a trip through time to the Heian period.
The second is the Matarajin Festival of the Jogyodo Hall , where you would pray for the New Year from January 14th to 20th. The last day on the 20th is said to be the Motsuji Hatsukayasai (20th Night Festival) , and here men and women of various ages from unlucky years walk to the Jogyodo with the light of the torches on their heads, giving offerings such as Japanese radishes and Chinese cabbage and they pray for good health and family safety by performing a Kenjizen-Nobori procession.
About Shrine or Temple or Castle
- Year established ... Kachisho 3 (Year 850)
- Enshrined Deity (Main Deity) ... Yakushi Nyorai
- Festivals: New Year's Day (1st January ), Spring Fujiwara Festival (1-5th May ), Iris Festival (20th June - 10th July), Bush Clover Festival (15-30th September ) and more.
- Spot name: Motsuji Temple
- Street Address: 58 Aza Osawa, Hiraizumi, Hiraizumi-cho, Nishiiwai-gun, Iwate 029-4102
- Access: About 9 minutes by JR Tohoku Main Line from Ichinoseki Station, get off at Hiraizumi Station, and it is about 7 minutes on foot from the station.
- Language: The official website has English, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Thai. Local brochures are available in English, Korean, and Traditional Chinese.
- Ticket: 500 yen
- Holidays: Open year round
- Admission time: 8: 30-17: 00 (5th November - 4th March 8: 30-16: 30)
- About Motsuji Temple
- Pure Land Garden: One of the Most Prestigious Gardens in the Tohoku Region!
- The Main Hall: Yakushi Nyorai enshrined in the Heian Period!
- Jogyodo: with an Invaluable Buddha Statue Publicly Shown once Every 33 years
- Ayame Garden: Irises in full bloom!
- Gokusui no En and Motsuji Hatsukayasai Festival