Enryakuji Temple (Hieizan) History

Located in the Eastern Cordillera of Kyoto on Mount Izan Enryakuji is one of the most important monasteries in Japanese history and the headquarters of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism.

Enryakuji Temple (Hieizan) History

Located in the Eastern Cordillera of Kyoto on Mount Izan Enryakuji is one of the most important monasteries in Japanese history and the headquarters of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism. Many influential monks studied in Enryakuji, including the founders of several later sects, such as the Pure Land, Zen and Nichiren sects.

Enryakuji was founded in 788 by Saicho, the monk who introduced Portai Buddhism from China in Japan. At its peak, Enryakuji had up to 3000 subtemple and a powerful army of warrior monks who often dedicated themselvess to power struggles with other monasteries and political leaders.

On their way to eliminate all potential rivals and unite the country, Ode Nobunaga attacked and destroyed most of Enryakuji buildings and killed most of its inhabitants in 1571. Therefore, most of the buildings of the temple of Today they date back to the early Edo period, when Enryakuji rebuilt.

The attractions of Enryakuji are concentrated in three areas: all (east area), Saito (west area) and Yokawa. The main area is the area of everything, where the Monastry was originally founded and where most of the main buildings are located, including the main hall (Kompon Chudo) and the Hall Amida, which was added to the complex in 1937.

A pleasant path to walk through the forest connects the whole with the Saito area, which includes the mausoleum of the founder of the Saicho temple and the Shaka Hall, the oldest building in the mountain. Not far away is the Ninai room, two corridors connected to each other by a central corridor. It is said that a monk named Benkei, known for his legendary strength, once brought the room on his shoulders.

The Yokawa area is located several kilometers north of the other two areas and is visited by fewer people. Its main building, the Yokawa Central Hall, is partially built on a slope with pillars.

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