GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!
GoWithGuide
GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

Koto Sanzan (The three temples), three gems in the mountainside of Shiga Prefecture

Tomoe S.

by Tomoe S.

(106 reviews)
Last updated : Nov 02, 20224 min read

Travel Tips

So many people visit Kyoto when they come to Japan, however, I'm sorry that only a few people noitce the marvelous beauty in Shiga, my prefecture (next prefecture of Kyoto).

blog image Koto Sanzan, Saimyoji Temple, Kongorinji Temple, and Hyakusaiji Temple are located in the mountainside, which are far from the stations of JR train. Therefore, it may be a little difficult to visit these temples unless you take a taxi or rent a car. If it's possible to do so, you will be definitely amazed at their beauty.

 All of these three temples belong to the Tendai Sect and were set fire by Oda Nobunaga, a Sengoku warlord (the warring states period). 

blog image 

Saimyoji Temple

This temple was founded in the 9th century and flourished as a place of prayer and training for search for enlightenment. Saimyoji Temple was set fire by Nobunaga, however, the Main Hall, the Three-storied pagoda and the Nitenmon gate escaped from the fire and have survived until the present. 

Main Hall, designated as National Treasure, has no nails for its construction. Inside, you can see 19 Buddhist statues. Its principal image, Yakushi Nyorai (Buddha of Medicine and Healing) is set behind the door and has been opened to public once during one chief priest's reign. (If you are interested in Buddhist statues of Saimyoji Temple, please refer to the official website of the temple.)

blog image

 Three-storied pagoda, which is also National Treasure has the statue of Dainichi Nyorai and the painting of its attendants on the walls of the first level. The picture of brilliant coloring has been kept for more than 700 years!

blog image

Nitenmon Gate is designated as Important Cultural Property.

blog image

You can enjoy walking in the beautiful Japanese garden, too! This garden is selected as one of the 50 best gardens in Japan.

blog image

Kongorinji Temple

Kongorinji Temple is said to have been founded in the 8th century. This temple was also attacked by Nobunaga, however, its Main Hall, Three-storied pagoda and Nitenmon Gate escaped from the fire thanks to the priests' effort.

blog image

At Nitenmon Gate, which is Important Cultural Property, you can see two giant's Japanese sandals hanging. It is said that the bad part of your body or illness will be cured if you touch them.

blog image

At Main Hall (National Treasure), the principal image will not be opened to public for a while, however, you can see other Buddhist statues such as Fudo Myoo (Acala, one of the Five Wisdom Kings), Shitenno (Four Heavenly Kings) and so on. (Please refer to the official website of the temple.)

blog image 

Three-storied pagoda, which is Important Cultural Property, houses Dainichi Nyorai.

Kongorinji Temple is also famous for the gurdian deities of children lined in a row along the approach. (There are more than 2000 gurdian deities!)

Hyakusaiji Temple

blog image

Hyakusaiji Temple is said to have been founded in the 7th century ( it is said that this temple is one of the oldest temples in Japan), however, it was totally destroyed in a fire caused by Nobunaga. Only its principal image was narrowly saved by having been moved to detached 'Okunoin' which is located 8 km far in the mountain behind. The present temple buildings were constructed in the 17th century.

Its Main Hall is designated as Important Cultural Property. 

blog image

So many maple trees are lined up along the stone steps leading to the Niomon Gate and you can enjoy the marvelous world of green in summer and red in autumn. 

blog image

A famous missionary of Jesuits, Luis Frois, stayed at this temple more than 1400 years ago, and acclaimed this temple as 'Heaven on earth'. He deeply regretted about the ruin after the fire caused by Nobunaga.

 I hope that you will have a chance to visit these temples and enjoy our treasures in my prefecture, Shiga!

(Nov 2021)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you like my article?

You can send me a message to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

I'll be waiting for you, so please check my profile and get your trip plan now

Tomoe S.

Tomoe S.

4.93 / 5
(106 reviews)

Plan your trip to Kyoto with Tomoe S.

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.

Send a Message