A Highlight of My Experiences at AIU: Edward Proctor, La Trobe University, Australia

Jizo statue in the rain


One highlight of my experience at AIU was a trip that the class “Japanese Art history” went on. I was not a part of the class, but my friend was, and there was a spare room on the bus, so I went along, and I felt very welcome. The trip involved exploring multiple temple sites and places of historical significance in Hiraizumi, Iwate prefecture. It was a fantastic day that started early in the morning with a group meet-up before a bus trip that was a little over an hour. It was pouring down rain, but that didn’t take away from the beauty and impressive history behind these places.


We stopped off at Motsuji Temple, where we took a walk around the spectacular Oizumi ga Ike Pond, which has remained unchanged for over 800 years! We had lunch at a cafeteria-style food place. Throughout the day we had a chance to buy souvenirs in shops along the walking tracks and next to where we stopped for lunch.

The most memorable part of the trip was the time we spent at Chuson-Ji Temple. All the rich history in this one location was quite remarkable. We saw the fantastic complete sutras written in gold and silver on dark blue paper. But what I found most impressive was Konjikido. This golden Buddhist hall, with its statues and walls covered in gold-leaf, was something I have never experienced before. Though it was small in scale, it was extremely extravagant in its decoration, uniqueness, and age, being completed back in 1142. I would recommend to any student that they should make this trip if they can, even if they don’t take the Art History class.