We took a cab from the Sendai (Aoba) Castle site to the Zuiho-ji Temple for JPY1,070. It took about 15 minutes through the city streets.
The original Zuiho-den Mausoleum was completed in 1637, one year after the death of Lord Daté Masamune. Many years later, because of its elaborate structure and decoration, the Japanese government designated it as a national treasure in 1931. However, it was completely destroyed in July 1945 by the US bombers at the very end of WW II. The current one was re-built in 1979 by the city government to the original specifications, including the decorating sculptures. Some repairs and design corrections were made in 2001.
Our taxi took us only to the front of the Zuiho-ji Temple from where we could see stone steps going up the hill where the Zuiho-den Mausoleum was. There were some canes made available at the lower end of the steps for those who need one. (You are expected to return it when you come back from the Mausoleum complex.)
The Zuiho-den Mausoleum is quite impressive to look at. The entire buildings, including the main gate are painted pitch black with Japanese lacquer (urushi) and many wooden carved decorations and gold-plated bronze metal ornaments are added. Since what you see here are 1979 re-construction, they are not original buildings. But, because they are relatively new, they can show us their original glory probably better than the burned down ones.
Mountain cherry blossoms were beautiful with the blue sky on the day we visited (April 12, 2017).
After visiting the Zuiho-den, we walked five extra minutes and visited by walking to the Kan’no-den and the Kansen-den Mausoleums for the two other lords of the Daté clan immediately after Masamune. The originals of these mausoleum were also lost in WWII and the current mausoleum buildings were re-constructed in 1985.
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