22 May, Wednesday

JAPAN, Iwate – The ancestral home of the influential Fujiwara family, Hiraizumi rivaled Kyoto in wealth and culture during the Heian period. The city rose to prosperity on the back of its local gold mines, which were so abundant that the Fujiwara were moved to create “paradise on Earth” at the beginning of the 12th Century, adding temples, gardens and monasteries.

Alas, Hiraizumi’s fate took a dark turn when the Fujiwara intervened in a brothers’ feud involving Yoshistune, one of Japan’s most famous heroes, ultimately lead to the razing of the city, a tragedy from which it never quite recovered. Despite that, Hiraizumi is known for having some of Japan’s most precious historic and religious monuments.

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