A National Historic Site with numerous Important Cultural Properties
400 years before the establishment of Chuson-ji Temple by Kiyohira Fujiwara in Hiraizumi in the 12th century, there stood Tendai-shu Takkoku Seikou-ji Temple. To the west of it is Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondo Temple which was built inside a rock wall, a conspicuous sight that seems to be enveloped in rock. The temple was erected in the early Heian Era in 801 in commemoration of the defeat of the Ezo people who had lived in the area by Tamuramaro Sakanoue. A Bishamonten deity was enshrined there and it was built to resemble Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto. In addition, 108 Bishamonten statues were offered to the temple. However, with the temple burned down twice and rebuilt, many of those statues were also destroyed of which around 30 have survived to the present day. To the west of Bishamondo on the upper part of the rock wall, there is a carving of Buddha, and there are nationally designated historic sites preserved all throughout the grounds of the temple such as the statue of the Joroku God of Fire that was built in the Heian Era.
The land of Akuro-O and the saga of Tamuramaro Sakanoue
At Takkoku no Iwaya Bishamondo Temple which has the air of an unexplored region, the legend of Tamuramaro Sakanoue remains. Long ago, the evil Akuro-O who had built a castle there terrorized the people. One day, the leader of the Ezo imprisoned an abducted princess in a cave. Although she tried to escape, Akuro-O managed to ambush and capture her at a waterfall, and cut off her long hair. The emperor, who could no longer bear watching the violence committed by Akuro-O, ordered Tamuramaro Sakanoue to punish Akura-O. After the fierce battle, thanks to the help from the Bishamonten, Sakanoue was victorious. The waterfall where the princess was ambushed is now known as Himemachi Falls, and the hair that was cut off from the princess was placed on a huge rock which has survived as Katsura (Wig) Rock due to its appearance, both being places that are now connected to the legend.