09 Jul 2015

What is Ishiyama-dera Temple ?

 This temple is popular not only among pilgrims and dedicated Buddhists but also among ordinary citizens. It is well-known as the place where a 12th -century woman novelist Murasaki-shikibu worked on the manuscript of her masterpiece "Genji-monogatari (Tale of Genji)". People visit the temple to pray for the safe childbirth, peace in the family and happy marriages.

Events and enjoyments

  It is also the place where people can enjoy viewing the beautiful harvest moon known as "Ishiyama-no-syugetsu (moonlight over the temple of Ishiyama-dera) in mid-September. Not only Buddhist rituals but also jazz concerts and other festive events are held at that time. In mid-August, in addition, a magnificent fireworks show can be seen in the nearby river bank accompanied by as many as 3,000 candles lit in line in the same bank a bit away and "Bon dancing" is performed by visitors. The 900-year-old temple is the attractive place surrounded by natural beauties throughout the year: plum blossoms in winter, cherry blossoms in spring, fresh green leaves in early summer and colored leaves in the fall.

How to make a tour of the temple

  After you go through the main gate, walk to the admission-collecting booth, where you are asked to pay 500 yen. They will give you a leaflet explainig about the temple in its entirety.Then, go up the steep hill and you will reach the "Hondo" main hall, which houses the magnificent "Go-honzon-sama", or " Kannon-sama", the Goddess of mercy, which is the principal icon of the temple. There you have to pay another 300 yen, then you can step in to the sacred hall, where the huge image sits. You have to take your shoes off beforehand. Taking a photo is not allowed there. You can sit on the chair before the image and offer a prayer. Afterward, walk on the path that leads you to whatever places or buildings there are in the compound. You will never get lost, since there are signboards everywhere directing your way and the path is simple. One hour or two will be enough for the tour of the temple. 

More enjoyments 

 After getting off a private railway train at Ishiyama-dera station, walking on the sidewalk leading to the temple will be a pleasure for you: there are many trees on both sides, including cherry trees.

Tour of Ishiyama-dera Temple is here. 


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