A culture of gold flourished in Hiraizumi in the late 11th- and 12th centuries, when the Oshu Fujiwara family, a then-powerful clan, chose to move here. Massive temple-building projects were carried out so as to create a peaceful society based on the principles of Buddhism. Hiraizumi evokes Kyoto in many ways, especially in its similar topography. In its heyday, the city served as a convenient base to transport gold, fine horses, and other materials by land and sea, and trading it made the Oshu Fujiwara family prosper. Hiraizumi, then called Mutsu, supplied much of the gold to decorate images of the Buddha and tactfully traded with the capital Kyoto and even China.

For its magnificent Golden Hall and its lovely Buddhist Jodo Garden, Hiraizumi is a worthwhile day trip from Sendai.

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