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Saikyo-ji Temple – A Heritage Site of Otsu, Shiga Founded in Japan's Asuka Period!

This video, titled "[4K] Japanese Garden SAIKYO-JI / SHIGA" ([4K] 日本庭園 西教寺 / 滋賀 Japanese Garden SAIKYO-JI / SHIGA), was uploaded by "Yurara Sarara," a channel that introduces temples, Japanese gardens, and sightseeing/travel destinations in Kyoto to promote Japanese culture to people are the world.
The video introduces Saikyo-ji, a temple in Otsu, Shiga.

Saikyo-ji Temple, located in Otsu, Shiga, is the head temple of the Tendai Shinsei sect of Buddhism, and is one of the temples in Otsu, Shiga, founded by Prince Shotoku in the Asuka Period (around 592-710 AD).
The temple has a long history and is said to have been established as a temple associated with Mt. Hiei in the Heian and Kamakura periods.

The the main hall, which is made entirely of zelkova, was donated by the Kishu Tokugawa family, and has gorgeous decorations from the early Edo period (~1603 to ~1700 AD).
The main hall of Saikyo-ji Temple has also been designated as an Important Cultural Property.

A Closer Look at the Breathtaking Precincts of Saikyo-ji Temple!

Image of Saikyo-ji Temple, Otsu, Shiga
Photo:Saikyo-ji Temple, Otsu, Shiga

Saikyo-ji Temple was burned down by the famous warlord Oda Nobunaga in 1571, but was rebuilt by Akechi Mitsuhide.
The present precincts of Saikyo-ji Temple consist of six branch temples on either side of the approach to the temple.

After passing through the gate in front of the temple, historically used by imperial envoys, you'll see the hall of the founder of the sect on the left, and the main hall at the back of the precincts.
The main hall and the guest hall are located in the center of the temple.
The temple can be seen in detail from 1:00in the video.

Feel the Healing Power of the Japanese Gardens at Saikyo-ji Temple

Image of Saikyo-ji Temple, Otsu, Shiga
Photo:Saikyo-ji Temple, Otsu, Shiga

The gardens at Saikyo-ji Temple were designed by Kobori Enshu.
There are four gardens at Saikyo-ji Temple: one located on the south side of the kuri (the kitchen of the temple), one on the west side of the Kyakuden (reception hall), one on the south side of the Shoin (study), and one on the north side of the Shoin.
The Karesansui (dry landscape garden) in "Daihonbo Garden" on the south side of the kuri retains the atmosphere of a traditional tea garden.
Also, on the west side of the Kyakuden, is Kyakuden Garden.
The pond and fountain in Kyakuden Garden represent Lake Biwa.
Furthermore, the natural slope created by the mountain behind Saikyo-ji Temple is well utilized to create a three-dimensional view.
There are also azalea and satsuki azalea trimmings there, which give an indescribable three-dimensional feeling.

To the north and south of the Shoin are Shoin Garden and Ura-shoin Garden.
Shoin Garden, which can be seen at 3:23, was created during the Meiji Period (1868-1912 A.D.) by a group of stonemasons called "Ano-ushu.
For this reason, it is also known as the Ano-ushu Garden.
In addition, the Ura-shoin Garden provides a beautiful landscape where visitors can feel the ancient history of Japan.

Saikyo-ji Temple - Area Information, Events, and Seasonal Attractions

Image of wind chimes at Saikyoj-ji Temple, Otsu, Shiga
Photo:Wind chimes at Saikyoj-ji Temple, Otsu, Shiga

In the summer, Saikyo-ji Temple holds an event with more than 700 glass wind chimes on display, creating beautiful sounds with the summer breeze.
The purpose of wind chimes is to ward off evil spirits and ward off the heat by making noise.
In the Edo period (1603-1868), these wind chimes were called "Kaze-taku," but they came to be called "Fu-rin" to make them more familiar with the common people.

The appearance of the temple changes with the seasons, and in autumn, visitors can enjoy the illuminated autumn leaves.
Recently, many tourists come to Saikyo-ji Temple for its three types of shuin stamps.
In addition, Saikyo-ji Temple has a special shuin stamp to commemorate the broadcast of NHK's historical drama "Kirin ga Kuru" in 2020.
The temple also has a special shuin stamp book finished in a simple yet beautiful indigo color, for just 1,250 yen.

Furthermore, there is a youth hostel attached to the precincts of Saikyo-ji Temple, where visitors can also experience the vegetarian cuisine eaten by the monks in the dining room.

Saikyo-ji Temple - Access and Information for Visitors to the Temple in Otsu, Shiga

Saikyo-ji Temple is a roughly 25-minute walk from Sakamoto-hieizanguchi Station.
If you take the bus, it takes about 4 minutes to get there.
By car, it takes about 10 minutes from the Shimosakamoto Interchange.
Although it's a bit of a walk to the main hall, there's free parking available.
The entrance fee is a reasonable 500 yen.

Summary of Saikyo-ji Temple in Otsu, Shiga

Image of Saikyoj-ji Temple, Otsu, Shiga
Photo:Saikyoj-ji Temple, Otsu, Shiga

Being burned down by Oda Nobunaga, rebuilt by Akechi Mitsuhide, and having four beautiful gardens built on the temple grounds by Kobori Enshu, Saikyo-ji Temple has a long history.
Enjoy the beauty of the divine Saikyo-ji Temple and its four sophisticated gardens in this 4.5-minute video.

【Official Website】Saikyo-ji Temple

【Tripadvisor】Saikyo-ji Temple

Written By
Last Updated : Apr. 22, 2023
岡本 修(Shu Okamoto)
A writer fascinated by Japanese architecture. I'll introduce you to buildings and food in Japan!
Saikyo-ji - A Temple of Beautiful Gardens and Warlords
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