Motsu-ji Temple

Hiraizumi, Japan

Motsuji (Wikipedia article, official website) is a modern Tendai temple, built upon the site of an earlier Northern Fujiwara foundation1 that was destroyed in 1228. The modern temple recreates the style of its Heian predecessor, especially its Pure Land Garden. The temple's main hall (Hondo, 1989) is seen here. Like so many cultural destinations in Asia, Motsu-ji's rebuild evokes a strong connection to the past.

1The earlier temple was built by Fujiwara no Motohira, whose father Kiyohira was the builder of Chuson-ji. In scale at least, the son surpassed the father; Motohira's complex included over 40 major buildings (halls, pagodas), 500 monastic residences, and an extensive Pure Land garden. The purpose of all this was to turn the family domain into, literally, a Pure Land paradise on earth. But Motohira did not live to see his project completed; he died in 1157, and is buried with his father at Chuson-ji.