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Chusonji Temple

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Chusonji Temple

Chusonji Temple is one of two remaining religious sites from the 12th century in Hiraizumi. It is said that the temple was founded in 850 by Ennin of the Tendai Sect of Buddhism, but others have disputed that the temple was founded by Kiyohira of the Northern Fujiwara Branch. This is due to the lack of evidence supporting the 850 founding by Ennin of the Tendai Sect. Fujiwara no Kiyohira was tired of the war torn time he was living in and decided to build a network of structures for those fallen in battle both friend and foe. Chusonji as well as Motsuji were meant to be places of peace in a violent era. He built Chusonji on top of Mount Kanzan as it was the center of the Mutsu Province at the time.

When the structures of Chusonji Temple were completed, Fujiwara no Kiyohira passed away and there was a dispute between his sons, Motohira and Koretsune, over succession. The feud between the brothers resulted in fires that destroyed Chusonji and Motsuji Temple. When Chusonji was destroyed Motohira, who was the victor of the dispute, rebuilt the temple in 1150. Luckily the blaze did not destroy the Konjikido, which is a hall covered in gold leaf, because the outer structure sustained the damage instead. The Konjikido dates back to 1124 and houses over 3,000 national treasures. The hall today resides in a concrete structure that protects it from the elements. There is also a Noh theater stage in Chusonji that is over 160 years old. On August 14 there are Noh performances while the stage is lit by bonfires, which adds to the summer atmosphere.



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