Miidera Temple Cultural Property Museum
Miidera Temple is the headquarters of the Jimon branch of Tendai Buddhism, located in Otsu City of Shiga Prefecture, to the east of Kyoto near Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. Its official name is “Nagara-san Onjoji,” and was first built in the seventh century as a retreat for Emperor Tenmu. Later it grew into a major center under the care of the Great Master Chisho Daishi Enchin (814-891), the fifth head (zasu) of the Tendai school. It grew to be counted among the “five major temples of the country” and one of the representative temples of Japan. Although it suffered from the ravages of many wars and battles throughout its long history, it was always restored and thus earned the name of “the temple of the phoenix.”
The expansive temple yards stretch over almost 300 acres (or 115 hectares, 350,000 tsubo), filled with temples and halls containing a variety of National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties. It is one of the most famous scenic spots in the Omi area, and is cherished as a spot for viewing cheery blossoms in the spring.