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This brilliant gold temple was built by Fujiwara Kiyohira in 1124 at his wife's request. It is meant to symbolize Amita Bodhisatva's Pure Land paradise, where light and life are eternal.

For 800 years this hall was enclosed in a large wooden temple until recntly and surprisingly survived the sacking of Hiraizumi by Yoritome Yoshitsune in 1185. The temple is now enclosed in a temperature controlled concrete structure. The old wooden hall that covered it still stands nearby.

When Basho visited Hiraizumi in 1689 it was still housed in the wooden temple. Basho writes, "At last I can see this astonishing the inside of the two sacred buildings I had heard about, the Sutra Library where there are three images of the three Fujiwaras who ruled here, and the Golden Temple where their tombs reside. These buildings whould have been destroyed by the weeds of time, their treasures scattered and their golden doors and pillars smashed, were it not for their tiled roofed outer buildings which have enabled them to survive for at least a thousand years. (Actually only 563 years, but this was amazing in itself, and now after 800 years it still survives!)

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