Last week I heard from another exchange student that the Zuihoden (瑞鳳殿) would be illuminated Saturday evening. That sounded interesting, so I went there together with a few friends. Now, what is the “Zuihoden”? It is the mausoleum of Date Masamune (1567-1636), the founder and first lord of Sendai. He was one of the mightiest “daimyo” (Japanese feudal lord) of his time, and also know as the “one-eyed dragon” because of his one missing eye. In Sendai you will see references to Date Masamune everywhere, especially by cute characters (dogs, personified onigiri and so on) with the characteristic moon decoration of his helmet and possibly a missing eye.
The trees at the entrance to the mausoleum look amazing in their autumn colors and illuminated from below.
The main gate to the mausoleum complex. Visitors go through the small gate on the right.
Behind the gate: stairs up to the mausoleum. You can see the entrance on the bottom right side of the photo.
After going through another gate, I could see the core building. The historic buildings were destroyed by air raids in World War II and reconstructed later.
A detail of the roof. My new tripod was very useful for taking these pictures – the one below had an exposure time of one second. I like the strong contrast between the colors and the black background.
Nearby are the mausoleums of Date Tadamune and Date Tsunamune, Masamune’s successors. These are also reconstructions.
After the tour, we had dinner at a nearby restaurant with traditional Japanese seating: low tables on tatami floor. And in case you need proof that there are all kinds of Masamune-style characters in Sendai, here’s a picture of an advertisement I saw inside the city bus. Yes, that is a dog riding a horse wearing Masamune’s helmet.
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