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hkskyline's 2017 in Hiraizumi

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Hiraizumi prospered between the 11th and 12th centuries and its historic relics have survived the test of time. This place was the political and administrative centre of northern Japan that rivalled Kyoto. As our train arrived, these performers made a noisy welcome dance. The town is quite quiet despite its temples and gardens having made it to the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Chuson-ji reflected Hiraizumi's status as a major capital under the Fujiwara clan's rule. The temple complex sprawls along the hillsides, making it quite a good workout to go from one end to the other. The temple was founded in 850 while the complex was started in the 12th century.

The temple was originally intended to commemorate those who have died in Tohoku's conflicts during the 11th century based on the principles of Buddhism.

At the far end of the complex, Kanzantei offers a lovely view of the mountains further away. Although the weather forecast called for a cloudy day, it would be much more pleasant further north. Blue skies were within reach in the distance.

Unfortunately, the most beautiful part of the temple, Konjikido (Golden Hall), is under a protective building cover with no photography allowed, so the exquisite golden work could only live in my memory. I proceeded back to town to the next stop, the cherry blossoms at Maizurugaike Pond.

Motsu-ji's history parallels Chuson-ji. At its peak, it was home to more than 40 halls and pagodas with a huge pond and garden on site. But first, there was a beautiful tree at full bloom.

The garden was designed in an aristocratic residential style but the buildings are long gone so you need some imagination. The Yarimizu Stream slowly flowed into the pond, completely clueless the world has changed around it.

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