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Ishiyama-dera temple is a 10-min. walk from Ishiyama-dera Station on the Keihan Ishisaka Line. You can transfer to the Keihan Line at JR Ishiyama Station on the Tokaido Line.
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During early or mid-April, you can see cherry blossoms while walking from the station to the Ishiyama-dera along the Seta River.
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Cherry blossoms along Seta River in Otsu, Lake Biwa's only outflowing river.
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Cherry trees also greet you at the temple.
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Ishiyama-dera stone marker during sakura season in April.
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Impressive San-mon Gate, also called Todaimon. The defacto front gate of the temple. 東大門 MAP
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San-mon Gate Deva King (right side).
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San-mon Gate Deva King (left side)
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After passing through Todamon Gate, there is the Sando path leading to the temple complex. See fall leaves in Nov. 参道
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The Sando path also has cherry trees in April. Late April brings azaleas.
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Waterwheel
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Go up the stone steps and pass by a Shinto shrine.
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This is what you see at the top of the stone steps. Founded in 749, Ishiyama-dera, belonging to the Shingon Buddhist Sect, is the 13th Temple of the Saigoku Pilgrimage.
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Straight ahead is the huge slab of black stone which gave the temple its name. Ishiyama means Stone Mountain. The pagoda above is the Tahoto, a National Treasure and positioned perfectly for our line of sight from below.
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Ishiyama-dera's stone and Tahoto pagoda.
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Cherry blossoms and Tahoto pagoda at Ishiyama-dera.
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The stone in fall.
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Closeup of the stone, designated as a Natural Monument.
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One-yen coins are stuffed into the cracks of the stone.
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Sign explaining the Natural Monument.
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Ishiyama-dera is a temple complex of numerous buildings. This is the Kannon-do Hall.
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The Kannon-do Hall stores many Kannon statues.
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Next to the Kannon-do is the Bishamon-do Hall.
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Bishamon-do Hall was built in 1773. 毘沙門堂
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Inside Bishamon-do Hall is Bishamon.
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Omido Hall 御影堂
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Mieido Hall dedicated to Kobo Daishi who founded Shingon Sect, to Roben 良弁僧正, the founder of Ishiyama-dera, and to Shunnyu Naiku 淳祐内供, the third head priest of Ishiyama-dera. 御影堂
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Plum blossoms.
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Rennyo-do Hall, dedicated to Rennyo, prominent priest of the Jodo Shinshu Sect. 蓮如堂
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Inside Rennyo-do Hall.
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Steps going to the Hondo Hall, Ishiyama-dera's main worship hall and a National Treasure.
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Ishiyama-dera's Hondo Hall, a National Treasure. 本堂
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Inside Ishiyama-dera's Hondo Hall 本堂
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Inside Ishiyama-dera's Hondo Hall 本堂
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Ishiyama-dera's Hondo Hall altar. 本堂
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Ishiyama-dera's Hondo Hall 本堂
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View of fall leaves below Hondo Hall 本堂
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Ema votive tablets on which you write your prayers and wishes.
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The Hondo also has this Room of Genji.
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At Ishiyama-dera, inside Room of Genji is a lifesize doll of Lady Murasaki Shikibu who wrote Tale of Genji, one of Japan's most famous novels.
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Lady Murasaki supposedly wrote the novel in this room at Ishiyama-dera in Otsu.
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Lady Murasaki on a postcard.
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View as we head toward the Tahoto pagoda.
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In fall
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In winter. The Omido Hall is on the left, and Bishamon-do on the right.
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Bell tower 鐘楼
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Moss on roof
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Sutra Repository 経蔵
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If you're a woman and sit on the rock under the Sutra Repository, you"re supposed be able to give birth safely. So don't be surprised to see a woman sitting under the building.
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Finally we see Ishiyama-dera's beautiful Tahoto pagoda, a National Treasure in Otsu.
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Tahoto's ground floor has a dome-shaped ceiling and a square pent roof, a round second floor and square roof.
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Tahoto pagoda, Ishiyama-dera
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A Tahoto pagoda has two stories, a square roof, and a round building. 多宝塔
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The Tahoto was built in 1194 upon the patronage of Minamoto Yoritomo. It is Japan's oldest Tahoto and one of the three most famous ones.
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About the Tahoto
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Inside the Tahoto is this altar for Dainichi Nyorai. 大日如来
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About the altar inside the Tahoto.
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Memorials next to Tahoto dedicated to Minamoto Yoritomo and Kamegayatsu. 源頼朝 亀ケ谷禅尼
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About the memorials.
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Ishiyama-dera's Moon-viewing Pavilion and cherry blossoms. Not open to the public. 月見亭
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Hall to Moon-viewing Pavilion.
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View of Seta River in spring from Ishiyama-dera. Ahead is Lake Biwa.
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In fall.
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Hiroshige's woodblock print of Ishiyama-dera from his "Famous Views of the 60 Provinces" series. Looking toward Lake Biwa.
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Hiroshige's woodblock print of Autumn Moon at Ishiyama from his "Omi Hakkei" (Eight Views of Omi) series. The temple on stilts and Moon-viewing Pavilion is visible.
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Hiroshige's woodblock print of Autumn Moon at Ishiyama from his "Omi Hakkei" (Eight Views of Omi) series. The Moon-viewing Pavilion is visible.
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Ishiyama-dera also has a grove of plum blossoms which bloom in Feb.
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Plum tree
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Plum blossoms
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Ishiyama-dera's weeping cherries and azalea bushes to bloom in late April.
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Early-blooming cherry blossoms.
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Statue of Lady Murasaki Shikibu.
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Japanese garden
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Ishiyama-dera's Japanese garden in spring.
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Ishiyama-dera Hondo Hall, a National Treasure.
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In fall
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Ishiyama-dera in fall
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Fall leaves on a rock formation.
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Map of Ishiyama-dera
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Keihan Ishiyama Station with a sign showing Lady Murasaki Shikubu saying "Welcome to Otsu, Lake Capital."
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Keihan Ishiyama-dera Station with Genji Millenium banners. Tale of Genji Millennium was held in 2008 in Otsu. 源氏物語千年紀
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Path to Ishiyama-dera temple with Genji Millenium banners. In Otsu, the Genji Millenium event will be held from March 18 to Dec. 14, 2008.
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Genji Millenium sign with "Genji Yume" (Genji Dream) kanji logo on the right. Otsu is not the only place celebrating the Genji Millenium. Kyoto and other places are also celebrating.
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Otsu Hikaru-kun, official mascot of Otsu. He is based on the Hikaru Genji character in the Genji Monogatari (Tale of Genji) novel. おおつ光ルくん
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Official mascot greets visitors on the main path to Ishiyama-dera temple.
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The main path to Ishiyama-dera temple has been converted to the Genji Yume Kairo (Genji Dream Path). Along the way are a few buildings open to the public. 源氏夢回廊
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Entrance to Cafe de Genji, an open-air garden where you can sit and have tea.
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Cafe de Genji, which is actually a Japanese-style garden called Kofuen 公風園.
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Walk further down the Yume Kairo path and see the gate to another garden called 拾翠園.
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The garden has a building called 淳浄館 which is an exhibition space. Buildings like this are usually not open to the public.
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Inside 淳浄館. A collection of hanging scrolls written with waka love poems from Genji Monogatari. Free admission.
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There's also the 金龍社 shrine in a pond.
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Continuing on the Yume Kairo path.
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Soon you see the gate to Daikokudendo temple on the right.
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Daikokudendo temple dedicated to Daikokuten. 大黒天堂
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Inside Daikokudo temple.
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Further along the Yume Kairo path.
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Walls with excerpts from the novel.
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Entrance gate to Genji Millennium exhibitions. Admission 1000 yen to see both the exhibitions and temple.
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First you enter this building called 世尊院.
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Entrance to 世尊院.
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Inside 世尊院. When I was there, beautiful embroidery showing scenes from the Tale of Genji was displayed.
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Closeup of embroidery.
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Another room in the 世尊院 showed more embroidery, mainly of flowers. The exhibition here will change a few times during 2008.
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There's also a fine view of a rock garden outside.
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Next, we go out and head for the 明王院.
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Souvenir shop and rest space.
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Next is the 明王院, another temple building.
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Entering 明王院.
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Inside 明王院 is an exhibition space showing works by award-winning novelist Tanabe Seiko 田辺聖子 who wrote a new version of Genji Monogatari.
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View of 明王院.
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Well
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明王院
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Gate to 密蔵院.
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Steps to 密蔵院.
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密蔵院 is another building with an exhibition.
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密蔵院.
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Inside 密蔵院 was a robot exhibition. Only two robots on display, no resemblance to anything.
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密蔵院
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Waterwheel
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Near the entrance to the Hondo main hall is this Genji Monogatari folding screen replica.
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Genji Monogatari folding screen replica.
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Ishiyama-dera temple Hondo main hall 本堂
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Ishiyama-dera temple Hondo main hall 本堂
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Room of Murasaki Shikibu and Genji. 紫式部源氏の間
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Inside the room of Murasaki Shikibu is a mannequin of Lady Murasaki Shikibu writing Tale of Genji. 紫式部源氏の間
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Mannequin of Lady Murasaki Shikibu writing Tale of Genji. 紫式部源氏の間
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Mannequin of Lady Murasaki Shikibu writing Tale of Genji. 紫式部源氏の間
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Path to 豊浄院
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豊浄院
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Inside 豊浄院 is more Genji-related exhibits.
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Inside 豊浄院
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Painting of a scene from Tale of Genji on square paper.
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Lady Murasaki Shikibu's diary.
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Lady Murasaki Shikibu's inkstone case.
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Sculpture of Lady Murasaki Shikibu.
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Sculpture of Lady Murasaki Shikibu.
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Sculpture of Lady Murasaki Shikibu at Ishiyama-dera, Otsu, Shiga.
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Sculpture of Lady Murasaki Shikibu.
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PR poster
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Heading back through the Yume Kairo path.
 
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