Ishiyama-dera Temple

Set on the side of a mountain overlooking Lake Biwa, Ishiyama-dera temple was a popular pilgrimage in Murasaki's day. It was founded in 749 and is headquarters of one of the Shingon Buddhist sects.

Ishiyamadera Temple 

Ishiyamadera Hondo.

Ishiyama Temple Pavillion Blossom

Moon-viewing pavillion above Ishiyama-dera which was visited by Emperor Go-Shirakawa at the end of the Heian Era.

Ishiyama Temple Hondo Lanterns

Lanterns inside the hondo.

Ishiyama Temple Pond

Muyu-En Garden in Autumn.

The temple is mentioned in the Ukifune chapter of The Tale of Genji and is the 13th temple of the Saigoku Kannon pilgrimage.

Murasaki is said to have begun writing The Tale of Genji at Ishiyamadera Temple on the night of the full moon, August 1004. To commemorate this event, the temple maintains a Genji Room with a life-size figure of the author at work.

Temple Murasaki Genji Room

Figure of Murasaki Shikibu in the Genji Room.

Murasaki Shikibu at Ishiyamadera Temple

Murasaki Shikibu on pilgrimage at Ishiyamadera Temple.

Ishiyama Temple Kannon

Nyorin Kannon with the Wheel of Law.

The temple's tahoto (treasure tower) was built by Minamoto Yoritomo in the Kamakura period, and is the oldest of its type in Japan.

Ishiyama Temple Tahoto

The tahoto in Autumn.

Statue of Murasaki Shikibu

Statue of Murasaki Shikibu, author of The Tale of Genji, on the hillside at Ishiyamadera.

Ishiyama Temple Cherryblossom

Cherry blossom in the Muyu-En Garden at Ishiyamadera Temple.

Ishiyama Temple Waterfall

Irises in Muyu-en garden.

Ishiyamadera temple gate

The entrance to Ishiyama-dera temple is guarded by two nio.

Ishiyama-dera is particularly beautiful during the cherry-blossom season. The temple's buildings and gardens are spread out over the mountain side.

Ishiyamadera Temple Momiji

Momiji at Ishiyamadera Temple.

Ishiyamadera Temple Path

Path to the pond.

Ishiyamadera Temple cherry blossom

Cherry blossom above the pond.