Sunday, November 18, 2012

With 1,200 year history, Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondo

If you have some time when you visit Chusonji temple, please try to visit this temple, too.  Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondo was established in a religious precinct by one of Samurai heros, Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, in 801.  Because this surrounding area is so sacred that it is forbidden to kill any animals or pick any plants.  Plus, you are not supposed to smoke, eat, or drink, nor bring any pets.  Please feel the power of divine land surrounded with barrier.    

Bishamondo was built under the cliff.  It is said that this temple was built in the style of Kyoto's Kiyomizu Temple.   Bishamon is a god of war who originally protects those born in the year of Tiger.  Bishamon fights demons and invites happiness. Bishamon saves not only fighters but also those who wish for their love, intelligence, promotion and fertility. 

At the inner part of the sacred area, there is  Stone carving of Buddha.  A legend says that a master archer, Minamotono Yoshiie, carved this Buddha by firing arrows at the sandstone cliff.  The 16.5m high Buddha is one of the largest Buddha statues or carvings in Japan and known as the Northern Rock Buddha.    

Unfortunately, the lower part was destroyed by an earthquake in 1896.  The face part also needs maintenance.  It is valuable to see the Buddha on the rock. 

The colored leaves are beautiful in this season, too. (from end of October to beginning of November.)

Once you go back to Ichinoseki Station, let's eat rice cake, it is famous in this area.  The rice cake balls on this photo are with bean paste, with walnut paste, with sesame paste, and with green soybean paste.  

In order to go Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondo, take taxi from Hiraizumi or Ichinoseki station for 10 minutes.  Visiting time for this temple is about 20~30 minutes, it is better to ask the taxi driver to wait to go back to the station because there is nothing in this area. There is also regular bus route from spring to autumn and sight seeing bus tours on every day from spring to autumn and on the weekend in winter time. Please check with Iwate Bus company (, TEL# 0191-23-4250. (The sightseeing bus tour is about JPY3,500 for one-day including Chusonji and Motsuji temple.)

Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondo
Open hours:
4/1-11/23   8:00-17:00
11/24-3/31   8:00-16:30
Admission:  JPY300 for an adult
Experience Japan!