Illuminated Zuihoden

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.

Trees with leaves in red, yellow and green by night, illumnated from below. Strong contrast to the black background.

The main gate to the mausoleum complex. Visitors go through the small gate on the right.

Zuihoden main gate

Behind the gate: stairs up to the mausoleum. You can see the entrance on the bottom right side of the photo.

Stairs up to the mausoleum, the camera is facing downward towards the gate. Stone lanterns next to the stairs.

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 courtyard. The core building of the Zuihoden is visible behind another gate.

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.

The core building's roof is decorated with colorful paintings and gold.

Nearby are the mausoleums of Date Tadamune and Date Tsunamune, Masamune’s successors. These are also reconstructions.

Two sligtly smaller mausoleums, built in similar style as the Zuihoden.

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.

Dog character with Masamune-style helmet, riding a horse.

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5 thoughts on “Illuminated Zuihoden

  1. woahhhh die fotos sind traumhaft schön o.o
    hier sind schon längst alle herbstblätter abgefall und es ist echt shcon winter *bibber*
    sehr schön ^^

    1. Danke, danke! 🙂
      Bin mal gespannt, wann es hier Winter wird. Im Moment ist es recht kühl, aber für die nächsten Tage kündigt der Wetterbericht wieder etwas mehr Wärme an…

  2. cool picture:-). I would like to cope some pictures from you sometime.
    from the fifth picture, you can see some sculpture on the roof. If it is Chinese interest, in Beijing, it would be some dragons and phoenix on the roof. However, in other places, it would not be as many as those in Beijing. Because Beijing is the capital of Kingdom for several dynasties(not all), so if the other places have dragons, there may be two reason: it used to be capital, or the host of the house want to be against the lord of the kingdom.

    1. Interesting, now I wonder what those dragons mean in Japanese culture. The other mausoleums don’t have dragons. Maybe they are a reference to Masamune’s nickname?

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