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Mt Hiei, Enryaku-ji Temple Histrical Spots Map
Hieizan Enryaku-ji. A leading temple of Japanese Buddhism designated as a World Heritage Site.


A subtle and profound religious site
and temple town with beautiful stone masonry

In 788, the monk Saicho, also known as Dengyo Daishi, built a hut to enshrine the image of Yakushi Nyorai (the Buddha of healing), and this hut became the foundation of Enryaku-ji, the head temple of the Tendai sect.
Later Enryaku-ji Temple was burned by Nobunaga Oda, the ruler of the time, and many of the temple buildings and statues were lost. But it was restored by the later rulers Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Ieyasu Tokugawa, and more than 100 temple buildings are now spread throughout the mountains that straddle the border between Shiga and Kyoto prefectures. Enryaku-ji Temple was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
In the east foothills of Mt Hiei is there a shrine, Hiyoshi-taisha, with a 429-hectare precinct. Hiyoshi Taisha is the head shrine of all Sanno-san, or Sanno Shrines, of which there are more than 3,800 nationwide, and it is also well known as the best spot in Shiga Prefecture for viewing the autumn foliage.
In the northeast foothills of Mt. Hiei is Saikyo-ji Temple, the head temple of the Tendai Shinsei sect, which includes a large estate. Because Mitsuhide Akechi restored the temple after it was burned down during Nobunaga Oda's attack, the Akechi family tomb is in this temple. A guest house of Fushimi Momoyama Castle was dismantled and reconstructed at the temple by Akechi; this guest house is still there today.
The approach to Hiyoshi-taisha Shrine is lined with retirement houses for high class monks, and the Kyu Chikurin-in, famous for its two traditional tea-ceremony houses, is one of them. There were also residences for kunin, Buddhist monks of Enryaku-ji Temple who were given the right to have a wife, and who were engaged in administrative work at the temple. One of the remaining residences, Okamoto House, was opened to the public in 2005.
The beautiful stone masonry that can be seen at every turn in the temple town, Sakamoto, is stone walling called Anoshu Zumi (stone masonry by the Ano tribe). Very strong masonry is constructed by stacking unworked natural stones.


Hiyoshi Taisha. The best spot in Shiga Prefecture for viewing the autumn foliage.
Saikyo-ji Temple. Here you can see the tomb of Akechi Mitsuhide's family and a guest house of Fushimi Momoyama Castle dismantled and reconstructed at the temple.
Stone masonry in Sakamoto, a temple town. Anoshu Zumi (stone masonry by the Ano tribe)
Approach to Hiyoshi-taisha Shrine in the temple town of Sakamoto.
Kyu Chikurin-in. One of the retirement houses belonging to Enryaku-ji Temple.
Residence of kunin. Okamoto House illustrates the history of kunin residences to the present and is a designated cultural asset of the city.

The lost ancient capital
Following its relics

About 100 years before Saicho's time, in 667, the capital of Japan was relocated from Asuka to Omi (present-day Shiga Prefecture) by Emperor Tenji (Prince Naka no Oe). Otsu Capital was lost for many centuries, even the location of the castle remains being unknown. But during the 1960s the site of the imperial palace Otsu no Miya was discovered. Sufuku-ji Temple, which had been built to pacify and preserve the capital, also vanished during the Kamakura period.
Located near the site of the imperial palace Otsu no Miya, Omi-jingu Shrine is dedicated to Emperor Tenji, the founder of Otsu Capital. Surrounded by a large forest, the red-painted tower gate and the main building create a glorious atmosphere in the grounds of the shrine.



Omi-jingu. A shrine dedicated to Emperor Tenji, who built Otsu Capital.
Site of Sufuku-ji Temple. Ancient site of a temple said to have vanished in the Kamakura period.
Site of Imperial Palace Omi Otsu no Miya. During the 1960s, the site of the palace was discovered near Nishikori-cho. The possession of the Otsu City Museum of History.


From the Asuka period to the Heian period the hometown of the Ono family, who left their name in history

About 1400 years ago, in the Asuka period, Ono no Imoko crossed the ocean to visit China as a member of an embassy to Zui China by order of Shotoku Taishi, the crown prince of the time.
Well known descendants of Ono family are Ono no Tofu, a calligrapher of the Heian period, and Ono no Takamura, a poet famous for his Chinese poems. Besides the shrines dedicated to these two members of the family, Ono no Toufuu Jinja and Ono no Takamura Jinja, there is a shrine.


Ono-jinja Shrine. A shrine of the Ono family, from which Ono no Imoko, Ono no Tofu and Ono no Takamura came.
Ono no Imoko-jinja Shrine. At the site there are many ancient burial mounds, including one believed to be the tomb of Ono no Imoko, a member of the embassies to China.
Tombstone of Shiga Seirin. A great sumo wrestler of the Nara period who invented the 48 winning techniques in Sumo.

The best spot in Shiga Prefecture for viewing the autumn foliage.
Here you can see the tomb of Akechi Mitsuhide's family and a guest house of Fushimi Momoyama Castle dismantled and reconstructed at the temple.
Stone masonry in Sakamoto, a temple town. Anoshu Zumi (stone masonry by the Ano tribe)
Approach to Hiyoshi-taisha Shrine in the temple town of Sakamoto.
One of the retirement houses belonging to Enryaku-ji Temple.
Okamoto House illustrates the history of kunin residences to the present and is a designated cultural asset of the city.
A shrine dedicated to Emperor Tenji, who built Otsu Capital.
Ancient site of a temple said to have vanished in the Kamakura period.
During the 1960s, the site of the palace was discovered near Nishikori-cho. The possession of the Otsu City Museum of History.
A shrine of the Ono family, from which Ono no Imoko, Ono no Tofu and Ono no Takamura came.
At the site there are many ancient burial mounds, including one believed to be the tomb of Ono no Imoko, a member of the embassies to China.
A great sumo wrestler of the Nara period who invented the 48 winning techniques in Sumo.