Môtsûji monastery, (in) Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture, JP

Raw data

Môtsûji was founded at the same time as Chûsonji in 850 by Ennin from Enryakuji on Mt. Hiei. It lies at the foothills of the mountain under Chûsonji. Fujiwara Motohira built many elegant halls and pagodas, which were later burned down in the early Kamakura period. The main object of worship is a Yakushi Nyorai sculpture.
Today, little remains but some foundation stones, a relatively modern main hall, and the Heian-period Pure Land garden, famous for its Oizumi ga Ike pond.

- Uryû (2003: 215)
- Hiraizumi Guide Map. Map. Hiraizumi c. 2006

“At its peak, Motsuji was a complex of 40 halls and stupas, and 500 monks' quarters. The temple is said to have exceeded even Chusonji Temple in size and magnificence.”

- Origin and History of Motsuji - http://www.motsuji.or.jp/english/yurai/index.html

Excavations started in the mid-1950s suggest that, architecturally, Môtsûji was modeled on Hosshôji in Kyoto, patronized by Emperor Shirakawa, with twin main halls and twin meditation halls.

- Yiengpruksawan (1998: 100, 200)

Input by: Lizbeth H. Piel, Aug 23, 2010

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 1 Sep 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Motsuji monastery, JP.

General location of the Motsuji monastery, JP.
Lat 38.987169 Long 141.10753
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2010.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Môtsûji 毛越寺. Alternative English spelling: Môtsû-ji, Motsuji

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Japan: Iwate Prefecture

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 38.987169 Long 141.10753 - based on the visual identification of Motsuji temple in satellite imagery, maps.google.com - tmciolek, 25 Aug 2010.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

  • Nishiiwai-gun, Hiraizumi-chô, Ôsawa

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • Tendai

11. Date-early

  • 850 – Uryû (2003: 215)

MBM chrono-tag: 0833-66c - tmciolek 1 Sep 2013
0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32p 1133-66p 1167-99p dated-ex

12. Date-intermediate

MBM chrono-tag: 1100-32p 1133-66p 1167-99p - tmciolek 1 Sep 2013

13. Date-late

  • [missing data]

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • Contacts with Enryakuji via ven-ennin - Uryû (2003: 215); Hiraizumi Guide Map. Map. Hiraizumi c. 2006

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Archeological, documents

16. Additional notes

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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