Iwate Prefecture

Gilded and gleaming up to its eaves, with elaborate lacquerwork and mother-of-pearl inlay throughout, the Konjiki-dō, in the Chuson-ji complex, was at the cutting edge of Heian-era artistry when it was created in 1124 – and still impresses today. Beneath the three altars are the mummified remains of three generations of the Ōshu Fujiwara family. Given Hiraizumi's history, it seems a miracle that the Konjiki-dō has survived. To avoid tempting fate, the pavilion is now behind glass inside a fireproof enclosure.

The adjacent treasury (讃衡蔵; Sankōzō) contains the coffins and funeral finery of the Fujiwara clan – scrolls, swords and images transferred here from long-vanished halls and temples.