Miidera no Mon Tatakabaya Kyo no Tsuki (Haiku poetry)

On the night of the full moon in August in 1691, the day of the harvest moon, a moon-viewing haiku poet gathering splendidly took place at the Mumei-an in Kisozuka. For haiku composers, August in the lunar calendar meant “exclusively poetry about the moon” and “only the moon in your mind”; therefore, the haiku poet […]

Yokyoku “Miidera”

There is a masterpiece yokyoku called “Miidera” created by Zeami. [Yokyoku is the vocal section of the music of a classical dance-form of drama Noh.] The story is that there was a woman whose child was abducted by child traffickers in Kiyomigaseki, Suruga no Kuni, now Shizuoka Prefecture. When she confined herself in Kiyomizudera Temple […]

Kogi, the monk, who turned into a carp

In the mid-Heian Period [around the 10th or 11th centuries], there was a monk called Kogi who was a skillful painter in Miidera Temple. Kogi used to sail on Lake Biwa with a small boat in his spare moments from work. He used to buy fish from a fisherman and release them in the lake. […]

Relocation of Kannon

The Kannondo Hall, the 14th stop on Saigoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage, was originally called Shoboji Temple and was located in the place up the mountain called Hananotani, which is much higher than the current location. The path leading to Hananotani is steep and hard, and there is a prohibition against women entering a sacred area […]

Sagamibo and Tengu Cedar Tree

On the opposite side of the Kondo, the main hall, there is an old cedar tree called Tengu-sugi with a height of approximately 20 meters and an age of about 1,000 years. In the beginning of the Muromachi Period [the 14th century], while a monk, Sagamibo Doryo, was conducting ascetic practices at the Kangaku-in, the […]

The Bell of Children’s Karma

The bell tower stands on the right side at the top of the stone steps leading to the Kannodo Hall, the 14th stop on Saigoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage. It was built in 1814 and had a bell called the Bell of Children’s Karma. According to the legend, the monks of Miidera Temple conducted the practice […]

The Principal Image of the Kondo (Buddhist statue not shown to the public)

This is the principal image, Maitreya, enshrined in the Kondo of Miidera Temple. This statue of the principal image was reportedly given by Emperor Tenmu when Miidera Temple was founded about 1,300 years ago. However, it is absolutely not allowed to be seen by anyone; therefore, nobody has seen this statue. According to the legend […]

Otomo no Yota O

Prince Otomo, later Emperor Kobun, died tragically when the capital of Otsu was abolished. He died at the age of 24 in the Jinshin War and had a child called Otomo no Yota O. After his father’s death, Otomo no Yota O reportedly moved the building of Sufukuji Temple built by his grandfather, Emperor Tenji, […]

Aka Well

Near the Kondo, there is the “miraculous spring water of Mii” that was used for the first baths for Emperors Tenji, Tenmu and Jito. Since ancient times, the water has been offered as Akasui (the water for offerings) to Maitreya, the principal image of the Kondo. The name of this temple, Miidera derives from “Mii […]

Benkei and the bell he dragged along

It is said that the dragon god of Lake Biwa gave a bell to Tawara no Tota Hidesato to express his gratitude for the extermination of the giant centipede in Mt. Mikami in Omi. Hidesato then donated the bell to Miidera Temple. Later, during the battle with Hieizan Enryakuji Temple, a ferocious priest Musashibo Benkei […]