Motsuji was founded in 850 by Ennin (Jikaku Daishi), though most of its structures were not built until the twelfth century, when the second and third Hiraizumi Fujiwara lords, Motohira and Hidehira, brought the temple to prominence. At its peak, Motsuji was a complex of 40 halls and stupas, and 500 monks' quarters. The temple is said to have exceeded even Chusonji Temple in size and magnificence. However, after the fall of the Fujiwara at the close of the twelfth century, several terrible fires reduced every last one of those buildings to ashes. The only original feature remaining is the Pure Land Garden centered on Oizumi ga Ike Pond. This outstanding twelfth century garden specimen was almost completely preserved and has been designated a Special Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty by the Japanese government.