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Take the Shiji Kairo pilgrimage course to witness the beauty of Tohoku’s sacred sites

Shiji Kairo is a pilgrimage course that weaves along four temples in the Tohoku region. It is such a famous and beautiful route that it’s been immortalised in a number of Japanese literary works, such as “Oku no Hosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Deep North)” by Matsuo Basho. Here is a plan to visit Risshaku-ji Temple in Yamagata Prefecture, Zuigan-ji Temple in Matsushima and Chuson-ji Temple and Motsu-ji Temple in Hiraizumi. Experience the pilgrimage as the great haiku poet did.
Take the Shiji Kairo pilgrimage course to witness the beauty of Tohoku’s sacred sites
START
  • SPOT-1
    • Yamadera (mountain temple)
    Temple (Kannon/Fudo)
    Standing tall, overlooking untamed jagged cliffs and rolling mountain landscapes, you’ll find the Yamadera Mountain Temple nestled into one of the most breathtaking backdrops you’ll ever see. It will take a short hike up 1,000 stairs to hit the site but, when you get there, you’ll agree the journey was more than worth it.
  • Car
  • SPOT-2
    • Gengo Chaya
    Other Restaurant
    After all that trekking, it’s time to treat yourself to a delicious local lunch at one of the area’s most iconic establishments Gengo Chaya. Boasting an impressive 130 years of history, they’ve mastered the art of local cuisine. If you can’t decide what to order, it’s recommended you try the popular pork cutlet (tonkatsu), followed by sweet zunda (green bean) mocha for dessert.
  • Car
  • SPOT-3
    • Zuigan-ji
    Temple (Kannon/Fudo)
    Now that you’re all fuelled up, the next stop on the itinerary is Zuigan-ji an impressive Zen Buddhist temple complex, located in Matsushima. Known as one of the region’s most famous and historically significant temples, its lush foliage and mysterious caves that run along the approach offer plenty to explore beyond the impressive temple structures.
  • Car
  • SPOT-4
    • Chuson-ji
    Temple (Kannon/Fudo)
    An afternoon of temple hopping is in order and now it’s time to make your way to Chuson-ji. Overflowing with fascinating history, the cite was awarded World Heritage Site status, making it a must not miss stop for history buffs. Arguably the site’s most popular building is Konjikido hall like Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) in Kyoto, it is completely covered in gold.
  • Car
  • SPOT-5
    • Motsu-ji
    Temple (Kannon/Fudo)
    The final destination on today’s journey is Motsu-ji a site which was once the home of the Tohoku region’s most impressive temple complex. Today, the buildings no longer stand. However, its meticulously crafted and cared for "Pure Land" gardens are said to be to paradise on earth.
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FINISH