Enryaku-ji Temple (Konpon-Chudo,location,history)

Enryaku-ji Temple, Konpon-Chudo

The information about Enryaku-ji Temple is presented here. Enryaku-ji Temple was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1994 as a “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)”. Enryaku-ji Temple produced such famous monks as Ennin, who laid the foundation for the Tendai-syu sect; Enchin, the founder of the Tendai Jimon-syu sect; Ryonin, the founder of the Yuzu Nenbutu-syu sect; Honen, the founder of the Jodo-syu sect; Shinran, the founder of the Jodo Shin-syu sect; Eisai, the founder of the Rinzai-syu sect; Dogen, the founder of the Soto-syu sect; and Nichiren, the founder of the Nichiren-syu sect.

【Enryaku-ji Temple Location Map & Directions】

Address: 4220 Sakamoto Honmachi, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Enryakuji Bus Center (about 10 minutes on foot)

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours (To-do): 8:30-16:30 (March-November), 9:00-16:00 (December), 9:00-16:30 (January-February)
Opening Hours (Sai-to and Yokawa): 9:00-16:00 (March-November), 9:30-15:30 (December), 9:30-16:00 (January-February)
Closed: open year round

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual: Adults 1,000 yen, High School and Junior High Students 600 yen, Children 300 yen

【Enryaku-ji Temple History】

The site of Enryaku-ji Temple (延暦寺) is built has been worshiped since ancient times as a sacred mountain where Oyamakui-no-kami, the landlord god of Mt. Hiei-zan, is enshrined. Later, it is said that Mitsunoobito Momoe, the father of Dengyo-daishi Saicho, the founder of the Tendai sect, built a hermitage and prayed for the birth of a boy. Enryaku-ji Temple is said to have been founded in 788, when Dengyo-daishi Saicho built a hermitage called Ichijo Shikan-in Temple, which houses the statue of Yakushi Nyorai that he carved himself. It is also said that Dengyo-daishi Saicho invited the spirit of Omononushi-no-kami from Mt. Miwa-yama in Yamato Province (Nara) to Mt. Hiei-zan and named it Dai-hiei, while the traditional deity of the landowner, Oyamakui-no-kami was named Sho-hiei. Hachibuin was built in 790. In 791, Enryaku-ji Temple became the Goganji temple of the 50th Emperor Kanmu, and in 794, Emperor Kanmu visited and held a memorial service. In 804, Dengyo-daishi Saicho traveled to China as a kentoshi with Kobo-daishi Kukai, the founder of the Shingon sect, and others, and returned to Japan in 805. On January 26th, 806, the Tendai sect was officially recognized by imperial decree. On June 4th, 822, Dengyo-daishi Saicho died. In 823, the 52nd Emperor Saga granted to name Enryaku-ji Temple after the era name “Enryaku”. Enryaku-ji Temple is the first Nengoji temple in Japan.
In 854, Jikaku-daishi Ennin became the third Tendai Zasu, and in 859, Chisho-daishi Enchin became the chori of Onjo-ji Temple (Mii-dera Temple), and after which it was divided into the Ennin faction (Sanmon faction) and the Enchin faction (Jimon faction), and became bitterly opposed. It is said that in 935, a fire destroyed much of the temple complex, including Konpon-Chudo. After that, Enryaku-ji Temple was destroyed by fire many times. In 1336, the 96th Emperor Godaigo, the first emperor of the Southern Court, hid in Enryaku-ji Temple to fight against Ashikaga Takauji, the first shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate. In 1419, Ashikaga Yoshinori (Gien), the sixth shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, became the 153rd Tendai Zasu. In 1425, Ashikaga Yoshikazu, the fifth Muromachi Shogun, died, and in 1428, Ashikaga Yoshimochi, the fourth Muromachi Shogun, died, and Ashikaga Yoshinori (Gien) became the sixth shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate by lot drawing at Ishimizu Hachiman Shrine.
After becoming shogun, Ashikaga Yoshinori came into conflict with Enryaku-ji Temple, and lured influential monks to behead him. In protest, the Enryaku-ji monks barricaded themselves in Konpon-Chudo in violent protest, and later set fire to Konpon-Chudo. In 1571, Oda Nobunaga burned down Enryaku-ji Temple, which was associated with the Asai and the Asakura clans, and much of the temple building was destroyed by fire. In 1582, after Oda Nobunaga committed suicide in the Honnoji-no-hen (Honno-ji Incident), Shorenin Soncho-hoshinno began to promote the revival of Enryaku-ji Temple to the imperial court and other daimyo (feudal lords). In 1585, Toyotomi Hideyoshi allowed the revival of Enryaku-ji Temple, and in 1604, Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s concubine, Yodo-dono, rebuilt Yokawa-Chudo. Toyotomi Hideyoshi donated 1,573 koku of the temple land. In 1607, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo shogunate, ordered Tenkai-daisojo to rebuild Enryaku-ji Temple, and in 1642, Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third shogun of the Edo shogunate, rebuilt Konpon-Chudo on Tenkai’s advice. Tokugawa Ieyasu donated 3,427 koku of the temple land. Due to the separation of Shinto and Buddhism ordinance after the Meiji Restoration, Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine (Hiyoshi Sanno Shrine) was separated from Enryaku-ji Temple.
*reference・・・Enryaku-ji Temple website

【Enryaku-ji Temple Highlights (May be undisclosed)】

★Konpon-Chudo (Main Hall, 根本中堂, National Treasure) was rebuilt in 1642 by Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third shogun of the Edo Shogunate. Konpon-Chudo houses the statue of Yakushi Nyorai, said to have been created by Dengyo-daishi Saicho. At Konpon-Chudo, three lanterns (Tsuri-Toro) called “Fumetsu-no-Hoto” are hung in front of the Zushi of Yakushi Nyorai.
★Dai-Kodo (lecture hall, 大講堂, Important Cultural Property) was built in 1634 as the Sanbutsudo of Sakamoto’s Toshogu Shrine, and was moved to its present location in 1964. Dai-Kodo houses the statue of Dainichi Nyorai. Dai-Kodo also houses the statues of Nichiren, Dogen, Eisai, Enchin, Honen, Shinran, Ryonin, Shinsei.
★Daijo-Kaidanin (大乗戒壇院堂, Important Cultural Property) was rebuilt in 1678. Daijo-Kaidanin has a stone kaidan inside. At Daijo-Kaidanin, a ceremony was held to give the daijo-kai (precept) that the bosatsu (bodhisattvas) of Daijo Buddhism were to protect. Daijo-Kaidanin houses the statue of Shakamunibutsu (Buddha), which was created by Nishimura Kocho in 1987.
延暦寺見どころ(Enryaku-ji Temple Highlights)

【Events (confirmation required)】

★Shusho-e and Gomakigan (修正会・護摩祈願) are held every year from January 1st to 3rd. At Shusho-e and Gomakigan, visitors pray for protection from disaster and good fortune in the New Year. The gooin (red seal), which means Amida Nyorai, is stamped on the forehead or ema of visitors to pray for protection from disaster and good fortune.
★Hiei-no-Ogoma (比叡の大護摩) is held every spring. Hiei-no-Ogoma is an event that heralds the arrival of spring on Mt. Hiei-zan. At Hiei-no-Ogoma, the goma-gi (goma wood) is burned at the goma-dan to pray for world peace, the elimination of disasters, and the fulfillment of various wishes.
★Hiei-no-Momiji (比叡のもみじ) is held every year when the autumn leaves are in full bloom. At Hiei-no-Momiji, free lottery is held every day. There is also a reception of daikon daki with daikon radish prayed for in Konpon-Chudo.

【Flower Calendar (cherry blossoms, etc )】

★The best time to see cherry blossoms (桜) is from late April to early May. Weeping cherry tree and yama-zakura are distributed in To-do, yae-zakura and yama-zakura are distributed in Sai-to, and yae-zakura and yama-zakura are distributed in Yokawa, and it is said that the scenery of cherry blossoms and Amidado, Dai-Kodo and Shakado is beautiful.
★The best time to see autumn leaves (紅葉) is around early November. More than 2,000 maple trees are distributed in To-do, Sai-to, and Yokawa, including the Hieizan Driveway and Okuhiei Driveway, and the scenery around Yokawa-Chudo is said to be beautiful.
(The best time to see the plants depends on the climate of the year.)

【Telephone (Please refrain from making phone calls.)】

Tel: +81-77-578-0001

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Enryakuji Temple is to walk around To-do. There are many temple buildings in To-do that can be enjoyed while walking around. The Enryakuji Bus Center provides a shuttle bus service to Sai-to, Yokawa, and the summit of Mt. Hiei-zan, and it may be a good idea to take a walk around Sai-to, Yokawa, and the summit of Mt. Hiei-zan.

【Remarks(access, parking, disclaimer, etc)】
If you plan to visit Enryaku-ji Temple, be sure to check the latest information.


  1. 錦市場(Nishiki Market)
  2. 竹林の道(Bamboo Forest Path)
  3. 嵐山