STORYSTORY OF ZUIGANJI
Matsushima Bay’s rippling waters and many pine-covered islands have long been regarded as a sacred landscape.
As Buddhism spread northward in Japan, priest Jikaku Taishi founded Zuiganji Temple in 828AD.
Zuiganji’s reputation attracted pilgrims from far away who lived and meditated in natural caves near the temple.
Four centuries ago, samurai ruler Date Masamune loved the landscape of Matsushima and decided to place his family temple here.
He directed Zuiganji to be rebuilt using the best architectural techniques of the day.
The temple as he envisioned faces Matsushima Bay, with an approach lined by towering cedar trees.
Befitting his ambition and sense of beauty, Masamune brought in wood and master craftsmen from the Kyoto area.
He had artisans decorate the interior with brilliant paintings on gold-leaf and elaborate wood carvings.
In the Hondo main building (National Treasure) we can see Masamune’s refined sense of beauty.
The building is original to 1609 and reopened in April 2016 after extensive restoration.
The temple museum features treasures including the original samurai armor of Masamune.
To this day Zuiganji remains a working temple and training ground for Buddhist priests.
It is open daily to visitors.