Parades, Noh plays, and chrysanthemums at a festival honoring a noble clan and praying for the future
The Fujiwara Autumn Festival held at Chusonji Temple in Hiraizumi, Iwate, is a breathtaking event that showcases the rich cultural heritage of japan. This three-day celebration, held in early November, is a tribute to the Fujiwara family leaders who built the temple and the surrounding structures in Hiraizumi.
The festival is a grand spectacle of parades, Noh plays, and vibrant chrysanthemum displays. It is a time when locals and visitors alike come together to honor the noble clan and pray for a prosperous future. The festival coincides with the Chrysanthemum Festival, which runs from October into November, adding an extra layer of beauty to the temple grounds.
One of the highlights of the festival is the parade of children and monks dressed in period clothing. They make their way from the Main Hall to the Golden Pavilion, paying their respects to the Fujiwara leaders enshrined inside. The procession is a sight to behold, with the participants meticulously recreating the style of the late Heian period. The vibrant colors of their costumes, combined with the fiery fall foliage, create a stunning visual spectacle.
Another important aspect of the Fujiwara Autumn Festival is the traditional Noh plays held on the temple stage. Noh is a form of classical Japanese theater that combines music, dance, and poetry. The performances are deeply rooted in Japanese history and culture, and they provide a unique insight into the country’s artistic traditions. Watching a Noh play against the backdrop of Chusonji Temple is a truly enchanting experience.
The festival also showcases the beauty of chrysanthemums, which have been cultivated in Japan for centuries. The temple grounds are adorned with displays made of chrysanthemums that have been expertly shaped into various designs. The vibrant hues of the flowers, combined with the autumn leaves, create a rich tapestry of colors that is a feast for the eyes.
Chusonji Temple itself is a sight to behold. Located in the Hiraizumi area of Iwate, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important Buddhist temples in Japan. The temple complex dates back to the 12th century and is known for its stunning architecture and beautiful gardens. The main hall, in particular, is a marvel of craftsmanship, with intricate wood carvings and gold leaf decorations.
To reach Chusonji Temple, visitors can take a bus, taxi, or walk from Hiraizumi Station on the JR Tohoku Line. Those coming from further afield can take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Ichinoseki Station and then transfer to the JR Tohoku Line bound for Morioka. From Hiraizumi Station, it is a 10-minute bus ride or a 30-minute walk to the temple.
Visiting Chusonji Temple during the Fujiwara Autumn Festival is an opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich cultural heritage of Japan. It is a time to witness traditional performances, admire beautiful chrysanthemum displays, and explore the stunning temple grounds. The festival is a celebration of the past and a prayer for a bright future, making it a truly memorable experience for all who attend.
In conclusion, the Fujiwara Autumn Festival at Chusonji Temple in Hiraizumi, Iwate, is a grand celebration of Japanese culture and heritage. The parades, Noh plays, and chrysanthemum displays create a vibrant and captivating atmosphere that showcases the beauty and depth of Japan’s artistic traditions. Visiting the temple during the festival is an opportunity to witness firsthand the rich history of the Fujiwara clan and to experience the beauty of the autumn season. Whether it’s watching the parade of children and monks, enjoying a Noh play, or marveling at the intricate chrysanthemum displays, the Fujiwara Autumn Festival is an event that should not be missed.
Address And Maps Location:
Koromonoseki-202 Hiraizumi, Hiraizumi-cho, Nishiiwai-gun, Iwate-ken