Hiraizumi Cultural Heritage
Outline of "Hiraizumi's cultural heritage"
The Value of Hiraizumi’s Cultural World Heritage
Hiraizumi originated during 12th century Japan in northern Honshu, and was a political and government constructed with the aim of realizing an ideal world based on Buddhism.
Properties that constitute the Buddhist / Jodo garden have unique characteristics that were brought from mainland China to the easternmost part of the Japanese archipelago from between the 6th and 12th centuries. Through this process Buddhism developed into a branch with unique characteristics that coalesced with the philosophy of worshiping nature intrinsic to Japan. Among them, this is a unique example created aiming for a special expression of the Buddhist Land (Jodo) in this world, based on the ideals of Jodo, mainly from the Buddhist Paradise Faith of Amitabha, who prospered while approaching the latter days.
Along with the introduction and diffusion of Buddhism, including Jodo ideals, the exchange of values that had an important influence are shown in the development of architecture and gardens in the temples. They are outstanding models that show important stages in human history in the fields of architecture and gardening, including not only those that remain above ground, but also the ruins that remain underground.
In addition, the Jodo ideals that were the source for the creation of these kinds of architecture and gardens and brought about the views of life and death based on this work and the afterlife were definitely passed down to Hiraizumi religious ceremonies and folk arts today.
Hiraizumi and the Buddhist Land (Jodo)
The Buddhist Land refers to the Land of Buddha and the World of Buddha, and also refers to the country built by Bodhisattva’s vows and training. It is easy to think that Jodo refers to Amitabha Nyorai’s paradise, but in East Asian Buddhism, The world of Buddhist enlightenment of absolute eternity, the worlds of the high and low ranking Bodhisattva, and the world in which both the unenlightened persons and saints live together exist as one. It is regarded that all of them can become a peaceful Buddist Land (Jodo).
In particular, it is understood that Japan’s distinct Buddhism developed from between the 6th and 12th centuries can bring about the Buddhist Land (Jodo), which is the ultimate idealistic Buddhist world in this life.
Hiraizumi’s architecture, gardens and archaeological sites represent the Buddhism that has developed into a branch with unique characteristics that coalesced with the philosophy of worshiping nature intrinsic to Japan. This is a unique example created aiming for a special expression of the Buddhist Land (Jodo) in this world, based on the ideals of Jodo, mainly from the Buddhist Paradise Faith of Amitabha, who prospered while approaching the latter days.
The Path to Registration
- Listed on the World Heritage Tentative List
- Submit a recommendation to UNESCO (The World Heritage Center)
- Regional inspection by ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites)
- Decision to postpone by the World Heritage Site Committee
- Resubmission of recommendation to UNESCO (The World Heritage Center)
- Regional inspection by ICOMOS (Second)
- Decision for registration by World Heritage Site Committee
Registered Assets (Listed in 2011)
Property Names: Hiraizumi – Temples, Gardens and Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land –
Chūson-ji (Special Historic Site)
Mōtsū-ji (Special Historic Site)
Kanjizaiō-in (Special Historic Site / Place of Scenic Beauty)
Muryōkō-in Ato (Special Historic Site)
Mt. Kinkeisan (Historic Site)
Certificate of World Heritage
The “Hiraizumi Cultural Heritage” was approved for inclusion on the World Heritage list at the 34th World Heritage Committee meeting held in Paris France in June 2011. The official name of the listed asset is “Hiraizumi - Temples, Gardens and Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land.”
This photo was taken at the Hiraizumi Cultural Heritage Center on February 13, 2012 with UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova at the “World Heritage Certificate Presentation Ceremony (Hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).” The certificate is retained by MOFA.
Replicas of the certificate are on display at the Hiraizumi Cultural Heritage Center, Hiraizumi Town Hall, and the Yanaginogosho Museum.