Ishiyamadera Temple 石山寺

Ishiyama-dera Temple Ishiyama-dera Temple
Ishiyama-dera Temple Ishiyama-dera Temple

A venerable temple that inspired The Tale of Genji and Hiroshige

Ishiyamadera Temple is a gorgeous temple complex that played a major role in the history of Japan. It was constructed around 747 and takes its name "stone mountain" from the unusual stone outcropping on which it is built.

Quick Facts

See the unusual wollastonite National Monument

Visit the room dedicated to Japan's first novelist, Lady Murasaki

Don't miss the ancient Chinese artifacts

How to Get There

Ishiyamadera is accessible by JR train.

From Kyoto, take the Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line to Ishiyamadera Station, and then walk 10 minutes. From Kyoto or other locations, you can also take the JR Tokaido Line to Ishiyama Station and change there for the Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line to Ishiyamadera Station.

Inspiring beauty since 747

The temple looms large in Japanese cultural history. This is where a full moon inspired Murasaki Shikibu to begin writing her book, “The Tale of Genji,” in 1004, giving Japan, and perhaps the world, its first novel. The temple maintains a room and statues in her honor.

The Eight Views of Omi

The moonlight on Lake Biwa as seen from Ishiyamadera, has also been memorialized as one of the Eight Views of Omi, a motif in Japanese art for centuries. The view was captured in ukiyoe woodcut prints by Harunobo and the legendary Hiroshige, who is said to have inspired Vincent van Gogh.

A mecca for pilgrims

Ishiyamadera is one of the 33 temples in the Kansai region making up a pilgrimage dedicated to Kannon, the Buddhist deity of mercy and compassion. Given its spiritual significance, it also houses numerous National Treasures and important works of religious art.

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