Ishiyamadera Temple

Ishiyamadera Temple, Otsu

Ishiyamadera Temple
4.5
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
About
Ishiyamadera is a temple of the Buddhist sect Shingon, sitting on the bank of Seta River in the south end of Otsu city. It is one of the renowned temples of Kannon, the deity of compassion, in Japan. The Reverend Rouben founded this Temple in 747 CE to fulfill the pious wish of Emperor Shomu. In the Heian period this Temple was a famous place for the Kannon devotees. The Imperial as well as noble family members often visited this temple to worship Kannon, and it is popularly known as the ‘Ishiyama-moude’, pilgrimage to the Ishiyamadera Temple. Legend says that the noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu confined herself at this temple for seven days, and observing the full moon of August 15, 1004 CE, she conceived the concept of writing the Tale of Genji.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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4.5
354 reviews
Excellent
149
Very good
166
Average
33
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Claudio
Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France89 contributions
Beautiful temple complex
Jul 2021 • Solo
Loved this temple complex. The garden at the bottom of the hill is beautiful, with ponds and streams and moss. Up the hill it is airy and dotted with interesting buildings.
Written July 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kwakaku
Sakai, Japan1,707 contributions
#13 Temple of Saigoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage
Mar 2020
We drove southward from the center of Otsu City along Lake Biwa. As we drove on, the lake became narrower, and finally became a river, Seta River. When the river started running southward, we got to Ishiyama-dera Temple.
With all the religious matters put aside, Ishiyama-dera Temple is known as where Murasakishikibu got an idea or two on her world famous literary work, the Tale of Genji. Not only her, but also the authoress of the Mayfly Diary and the authoress of the Sarashina Diary did. I don’t know why the temple was popular among female intellectuals in the past, but, today, in the society of gender equality, the temple attract many young literary enthusiasts of both sexes, especially those who love to play the card game of 100 Poems by 100 Poets. Even over a millennium after its foundation, the temple is still a holy land.
The temple was built on a slab of wollastonite bedrock.
Emperor Shomu ordered Ryoben in 747 to pray for the gold to plate the huge statue of Buddha he was making in Nara. Ryoben prayed in Mt. Kinpu, whose name alliterate with the Japanese word “kin” (gold). One night, a local god appeared in his dream, and said, "The gold here is to be used to cover the ground for Maitreya, who will appear in the world in 5670 million years." Instead, the god suggested Ryoben to visit where Ishiyama-dera Temple is located today. He offered prayers, and gold was found in Mutsu Province in 749.
Written April 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Patrick T
Hong Kong, China2,438 contributions
More like a beautiful garden than a temple
Apr 2018 • Family
This place is more like a garden with lots of beautiful flowers than a temple. The environment is quiet and peaceful, not like other parks with too many tourists from other places. Be prepared to walk a bit uphill and downhill as the garden and the temple are built along the slopes. High recommended for a visit in spring time with the cherry blossoms and other flowers blooming.
Written July 13, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Juntasinee
Bangkok, Thailand304 contributions
Beautiful flowers and tree, Lot of National treasure
Apr 2018 • Solo
The temple is in Otsu city not far from Kyoto. From the entrance of the temple you will find 3D carving Door Guardian Angel. After passing the door will find beautiful flowers along the way to the ticket office. The temple area covers all the mountain. There are number of valuable National treasure and cultural properties. You can see beautiful trees and flowers all over the mountain. I did not aware that I spent three hours there since the natural and peacefulness make me forget about the time.
Written June 30, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

gibot143
Cebu City, Philippines168 contributions
No crowds :)
Mar 2018 • Solo
+ no crowds
+ at the bank of Setagawa river (instead of taking the train or bus, I would suggest walking the scenic riverbank)
+ loved the gardens (it would have been nice to visit this place again during spring or autumn)

- 15 mins train ride from Kyoto station
Written June 20, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

The Outdoorholic
Hirakata, Japan432 contributions
Ishiyama-dera Temple.
Jan 2018 • Couples
If you are a lover of gardens, then Ishiyama-dera is for you. Along with all the enclosed buildings, within the huge complex, there must be several kilometers of paths to take-in the awesome scenery.
The best times of year to experience Ishiyama-dera would be Spring (April/May) and Autumn (October/ November) but, in saying that, any time of year would be good. The complex has the potential to be very busy.
Written January 21, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

1966Jamo
Takaoka, Japan87 contributions
Very beautiful temple with the Autumn leaves
Nov 2017 • Couples
Visiting in late November, the Autumn leaves were very picturesque and enhanced what is a very beautiful temple space. The grounds are quite large and allow for plenty of quiet spaces even if there are crowds.

The temple's name literally means Stone Mountain and is based on the stone monument inside the complex.

We spent a good 2 hours walking through all areas of the grounds and temples, taking lots of photos and simply bowing our heads.

A very definite inclusion for anybody visiting Kyoto and is easily accessible from the local Keihan railway station. The walk from the station to the temple along Lake Biwa is quite a pretty 10 minute stroll.

Take the Tozai line to Hamaotsu and change to the Keihan Ishiyamasakamoto line. The train trip takes about an hour each way, but is well worth the trip.
Written January 13, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Vanessa Y
Tokyo, Japan815 contributions
Lush and serene ...
May 2017 • Couples
Having been to hundreds of temples and shrines all over Japan, Ishiyama-dera rates amongst the top for me. (It's 500 yen and well worth it. The carpark cost 600 yen?) Being fairly close to Kyoto, Kyoto is just too crowded and too noisy nowadays, so if you're looking for some peace and quiet, and want to soak up a real temple's atmosphere, then Ishiyama-dera is great. In the Kinki Region, it counts as the 13th sacred temple amongst 33 designated for a pilgrimage (so, it can get busy when a big group of pilgrams come flying thru). It is said to have been originally constructed in 747 A.D. by Roben Osho, but burnt down and was rebuilt in 1024(?).
They worship Nyoirin Kannon-sama (Goddess of Mercy) and the thin colourful ropes on either side of the thick rope for the main gong (where you pray) are connected to her hands.
The whole area is fairly quiet (might be different in Autumn though) and well-spaced out. There are many buildings to look at and peak inside. This is my ideal of a mountain temple complex. It's quite steep going up and down all of the stairs here and there ... but, there's enough to look at along the way it doesn't feel overly strenuous. There are many flowers and lush trees amongst the giant craggy rocks and around the complex, so it's cool with all the shade ...
The Murasaki Shikibu museum at the top had an amazing collection of golden screens ... the details into the story of the Tale of Genji was fascinating (a few things are written in English) ... it's said that Murasaki started writing the tale in Ishiyama-dera, back in 1004. It's worth the 300 yen if you know the story or just like looking at beautifully designed golden screens.
We would definitely like to go back in Autumn ...
Written May 25, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

gehararigo
Tokyo329 contributions
Wonderful to remember the tale of Genji
Apr 2017 • Couples
The author of the Tale of Ganji is believed to write the novel in this temple.
It is a mountain temple and locates at the outside of the Otsu city which is well connected by the train from Kyoto. But many tourists are going to Eiheiji-temple so this unknown ( to tourists ) temple is quiet and worth visiting, particularly, you are familiar with the tale.
Written April 30, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

ExplorerC9
164 contributions
A trip worth making
Apr 2017 • Solo
I lived in Otsu for a while, just a short 5-10 minute train ride away, but from Kyoto it's only another 10 minutes or so on the journey time.

This temple is generally regarded as where the Tale of Genji was written, so it's of quite a cultural importance. You can get to the temple direct via train (to within a couple of minutes walk), but I prefer to get of at Ishiyama station and walk through Ishiyama then along the river, it's a much nicer way to get to the temple if you have time.

The temple is up the hillside with sections on several levels, between each section there are lots of scenic trees and flowers, as well as multiple paths connecting each of the smaller sites. At the back of one of the temple buildings I even go to see a real life tanuki (racoon dog) scavenging for food!
Written April 21, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Ishiyamadera Temple is open:
  • Sun - Sat 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

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