Muryokoin Ruins 無量光院跡
The ruins of a Heian-period temple and historic Hiraizumi
The once-great temple of Muryokoin has today been reduced to little more than a garden, which was reconstructed based on archeological excavations.
The temple, built by Hidehira Fujiwara, was modeled after the famous Pheonix Hall at Byodoin Temple in Kyoto
Twice a year, during the spring and autumn equinox, visitors can see the sun aligned with the peak of Mt. Kinkei in a breathtaking display
How to Get There
A 10-minute walk from Hiraizumi Station.
Take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Ichinoseki Station and change trains there. Take the JR Tohoku Line bound for Morioka, and get off at Hiraizumi Station. From the station, you can reach the Muryokoin by bus, taxi, or on foot in 10 minutes.
Heaven on earth
Muryokoin was a Buddhist temple and garden of the Pure Land school, completed in the 1100s, was and was meant to embody heaven on earth. The temple was built so that visitors could envision their paradise, the Pure Land.
While time and fires have left little of the original temple—only foundation stones and the pond—the natural beauty and historical significance of the garden grounds garnered it a World Heritage designation from UNESCO.
When to go?
Deciding when to visit Muryokoin can be a dilemma. In the spring, the cherry blossoms and garden are very picturesque; in the fall, however, you can see the rich backdrop of Mt. Kinkei, covered in blazing autumn foliage, rising up above the ruins.
Other nearby attractions
Chusonji Temple and Motsuji Temple are both within walking distance of the ruins, so there is plenty to see in the area. You can also return to the station, then catch a bus Genbikei Gorge (about a 30-minute ride), where you can enjoy a scenic river cruise.
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.