Recently I went to Ishiyama-dera, where Lady Murasaki Shikibu began to write what is probably the first popular novel in the world. I've loved a good story since before I could walk, so that makes this place particularly special to me. The story goes that the Tale of Genji was written in serial form, early in the 11th century, and the installments were passed around, and copied and re-copied by hand.
Ishiyama-dera is a very beautiful setting. The main temple has a life size model of Lady Shikibu at her writing table, and up on the hillside there is a bronze statue of her. Today I paid the extra 200 yen to visit the small museum where there were beautiful illustrated books and scrolls of the Tale of Genji that were created from Kamakura to Edo Era on display. I felt a bit frustrated that some of the exhibits had no English explanation, and those that did had only a few lines of English (a lot more in Japanese!) I loved the ancient spidery handwriting on the books and scrolls, even though it is totally indecipherable to me.
Apart from the Tale of Genji connection, Ishiyama-dera is still a great place to visit. It feels very ancient and peaceful. There are many interesting paths and beautiful views. It also has a lot of wonderful buildings. You can easily spend a delightful half day wandering around this temple and it is easily reached from Kyoto.