Gracing Iwate Prefecture is the World Heritage site, Hiraizumi - Temples, Gardens, and Historical Sites, which as indicated by the name, is a group of sites that includes Chuson-ji Temple, Motsu-ji Temple, Kanjizaio-in Ato Remains, Muryoko-in Ato Remains, and Mt. Kinkei.
In the 11th and 12th centuries, Hiraizumi was the political and adminstrative center for the northern region of Japan.
This region was ruled by the Northern Fujiwara dynasty, who strived to manifest the Buddhist Pure Land here on Earth.
Temples and gardens were created based on Pure Land Buddhist thought and influenced by urban and overseas elements, resulting in unique developments.
Pure Land Buddhist thought is based on the worship of the Amitabha Buddha with the aim of reaching Sukhavati, Amitabha’s Pure Land.
The thought that anyone could attain buddhahood is said to have begun to take root in Japan from the 8th century.
The Tohoku region in the 11th century was constantly in conflict, and the founder of the Northern Fujiwara dynasty, Fujiwara no Kiyohara, established Chuson-ji Temple and Konjikido Hall to pray that the spirits of those that had fallen in battle, whether friend or foe, could be lead to the Pure Land.
It was for this reason that the design of the group of sites based on the doctrine of Pure Land Buddhism scored highly and led to Hiraizumi being recognized as a World Heritage site in 2011.
It could be said that the ideal the Northern Fujiwara dynasty held of achieving peace and equality has come to fruition.
Another important point for being designated as a World Heritage site was the excellent condition this group of sites remained in and the historical value they possess.