On our last memorable day after a good sleep at the ryokan, we unwillingly dragged our luggage off the ryokan compound feeling sad that the journey’s gonna end here. Well, not really.. we have a last pitstop to make.. the Chusonji at Hiraizumi.
Never have i imagined the Hiraizumi is that beautiful: capped with snow on trees and thickly stacking up on the grounds and softly melting when you scoped a handful up in your hand. It’s that child happiness when everything looks painted and sat carefully on the icy snow layers to have this taken!
A few steps forward lead us to this magnificent view below.
I was that speechless when i saw this view right in front at the junction of the park – baldless trees with snow dripping on branches, temples and more more snow that got me pretty excited for this breathtaking sight.
Our first stop at the Hiraizumi was at Chusonji Temple. Boredom started settling in when i heard it’s a temple till my guide feed me with this piece of amazing fact: The Konjikidō golden hall in the Chusonji Temple is valued more than a thousand years of history and the whole temple is made up of pure sparkling gold. That instant woke me up and off we climbed the small narrow steps up to the temple. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed, so let the words do the talking: Glimmering under the lights, the gold sparkles in all directions on the only standing 12th century structure well-maintained and retained in its original form. Doors, roofs, ceilings pillars and even the statues are all made in pure gold, showcasing the architecture and skills of this masterpiece.
Once a home to the Blue and Gold Canon, it had retired due to deteriorating conditions of the structure and do take a step into this Sutra Repository for the historic stories to tell in the interior.
Right at the corner down the slope sits a shrine with tall trees and a road in the middle that leads all the way towards the main hall. A walk towards the end takes about 10 mins so it’s a far walk to a…. breathtaking views of the mountains and something mysterious…
We spotted this circular ring hanging in the middle of the shrine and my guide told me that the intention was believed to have one purified with his or her sins after passing through the circle.
Another mysterious spotted. Each of this letter-box designs represents an animal god that one worship – so there’s 12 of them lined up in 2 rows and painted with snowy views at the back!
Every turn presents a new snowy view that awed me in amazement – if you’ve my namecard, you’ll know where the photo is well-shot with the views. Frosted branches with humps of accumulated snow on the ground – i’m feeling bliss.
The road down is seriously gorgeous with snow-capped views – Nothing beats the feeling of snapping your camera shutter non-stop when the view greets you like this.
Need me to say more? Pure white snow covered walkways and even the roof of temples making everything looked like a dream…
Something you’ll only witness during winter – weird looking trees hung with ropes are actually meant as a form of support to prevent the snow from overloading these branches. Looking pretty good dolling it up!
No lack of mountains views to immerse you in the beauty of Japan – snow-capped mountains in the cold without feeling that cold!
To be welcomed with a view like this comes with a sacrifice – steep slippery slopes that you can barely hold on a grip despite of the presence of friction. And that’s why my guide is hurrying me down the slope with careful steps that i couldn’t speed up… hang on!
A bullet train ride will take you all the way to Iwate from Tokyo central station JR to Ichinoseki JR station that takes you about 2.5 hours. After which, transfer to a local cab to Chusonji about 15 mins ride away. The bullet train runs at a frequency of every 1 hour to Tokyo and from Tokyo and will pass by Fukushima, Sendai and more popular cities famous for skii and nature beauty at its best!
Oh, and after this trip to Hiraizumi, i told my guide “I will never visit big major cities that everyone goes, I will visit these small cities for nature unraveled beauty. And onsen is a must-visit the next time after this first time enjoying a public bath!“.
My guide smiled, nodded in agreement that i’ve picked up the courage for more unknown areas to tourists and off we headed home to Tokyo and then to Narita Airport. It was a long long journey back home to Singapore, and it was indeed un-partable after a 7 days closely-bonded companion depending on each other! She stood right at the departure gate after i entered and after the security screening, she still try to catch a glimpse of me.. but i couldn’t get my last wave as it was really crowded.. and my heart sank.. as i left the place of memories, worth a week.
Check out my other adventures across Japan from Tokyo to Iwate to Hokkaido to Tsukuba to Ishinomaki on Our 3.11 Japan Category.