"Evening Bell at Mii Temple" wrapped by Cherry blossoms

Cherry trees and slope at Miidera

A lot of tourists think of Kyoto or maybe Osaka when they plan a trip to the Kansai region of Japan. Many people don’t seem to know that there’s so much more to explore other area in Kansai region. Otsu City is just a few minutes away by train from Kyoto and will offer some very interesting sights.

The gate of Miidera

Emperor Temmu founded Onjoji Temple at the foot of Mount Hiei in 672 in tribute to his murdered brother. About 200 years later, it became known as Miidera temple. Miidera Temple is famous for its national treasures and important cultural properties, including one of Omi Hakkei, Mitsui's The Last Bell.

Cherry trees and MIidera-temple

Emperor Temmu founded Onjoji Temple at the foot of Mount Hiei in 672 in tribute to his murdered brother. About 200 years later, it became known as Miidera temple. Miidera Temple is famous for its national treasures and important cultural properties, including one of Omi Hakkei, Evening Bell at Mii temple.

Night bell at Mii temple

The temple is a popular cherry blossom viewing spot, so spring (early April) is definitely the best time to visit. Another great season would be fall with the colorful autumn foliage. With about 1,500 cherry trees spread throughout the temple grounds, it’s a cherry blossom paradise.  It has been popular as a cherry blossom spot since the age of many leaves. More than 1300 cherry blossoms are in full bloom in the vast ground of 350,000 tsubo.

Somei Yoshino and Yamazakura, weeping cherry blossoms are lit up vividly, and especially the row of cherry blossoms along the approach is a spectacular view. You’ll also come across a beautiful wooden 3-storied pagoda.

Waiking two persons under cherry blossoms
Wooden three storied pagoda and cherry tree

On the right photo you can see the Bishamon Hall. The hall stands alone, but the surroundings are extremely photo-worthy.

Bishamon hall lighted up
Night road surrounded by Cheryy trees

"Lake Biwa water channel" that are dyed in cherry color

Biwa lake water channel and cherry trees

The construction of Lake Biwa Spring is 1885. After the completion of Kyoto when the capital moved to Tokyo was completed, it was used for the water transportation industry and Japan's first hydroelectric power generation (for business use), etc., greatly contributing to the modernization of Kyoto. Lake Biwa, which carries the water of Lake Biwa to Kyoto, is a canal built using the best civil engineering technology of that time in the Meiji era.

BIwa lake watter and cherry blossoms

The best time to see cherry blossoms in spring is from the beginning of April to the middle of April. A row of approximately 500 cherry trees are lined up on both sides of the water channel. One is lit up from under the trunk of the cherry tree, and the cherry blossoms floating in the night sky create a fantastic landscape. The cherry blossoms are beautiful in the lake water flowing spring.

The street lighted along the trees

Access

Miidera Temple is located at the foot of Mt. Hiei in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture (map). It’s not too far from Kyoto City, so it makes a great day trip!
It can be accessed by train. Use the Keihan Line and get off at “Miidera Station“. It takes about 20-30 minutes from Kyoto. From the station it’s a 10-min walk to the temple.
Alternatively you can get off at JR Otsu Station (10 mins from Kyoto) and take a Keihan bus (get off at “Miidera Temple”, 15 mins).

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