Chomeiji Temple in Omihachiman Shiga Prefecture
Chomeiji Temple is the 31st Temple of the Saigoku 33 Temple Pilgrimage of Western Japan. The temple is built atop Mount Ikiya in Omihachiman, Shiga Prefecture with 808 stone steps leading up to the temple grounds from the base of the mountain. The path up to the temple is very picturesque as you climb the tree lined stairs of the beautiful forested mountain. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the temple from the base of the mountain on foot, and it is also accessible via car. There are around 50 spaces available for parking. The Chomeiji Temple grounds include a main hall and a three storied pagoda. It is free to roam the temple grounds and enjoy its beautiful buildings. You can even enter the Bell Tower and soak up the amazing views of Lake Biwa and the surrounding area from the temple.
Chomeiji Temple means long life temple in Japanese and it got its name from Takenouchi no Sukune, who prayed there for a long time and legend, says went on to live to be over 300 years old.
What to See at Chomeiji Temple
808 Stone Steps to the Temple
808 stone steps lead you up to the top where the temple complex is located. It is a beautiful climb with trees lining the path. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the top from the foot of the mountain.
The Temizuya is a place to purify yourself before entering the temple.
Three Storied Pagoda (Sanju no To)
The three storied pagoda called Sanju no To in Japanese is very impressive and is one of the main buildings at Chomeiji Temple. The red pagoda really stands out against the vivid green of the nearby forest.
The Hondo Main Hall
The Main Hall or Hondo in Japanese is the main building at Chomeiji Temple and is surprisingly large. You can enter the building to ring the bell and pray.
Chomeiji Temple Bell Tower (Shoro)
The Temple Bell Tower or Shoro in Japanese is located at the far end of the temple complex. It is a beautiful looking building. You are allowed to enter the tower to see the actual bell, just watch your head as you enter as the entrance is quite narrow.
The views of Lake Biwa
The views of Lake Biwa from just outside the Bell Tower are magnificent and are worth the climb to the top alone. Simple sit and soak up these amazing views of the lake.
Chomeiji Temple is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
Admission to the temple grounds is free
How to Get There
You can take a bus from JR Omihachiman Station and get off at Chomeiji bus stop. It’s a 20 minute walk up to the temple from the bus stop.
Parking is also readily available if you come by car and there are 50 parking spaces available.
Address: 157 Chomeijicho, Omihachiman, Shiga Prefecture 523-0808
Best Time to Go
Visit in mid-March and you can also see the famous Sagicho Fire Festival at Himure Hachimangu Shrine.
Tip: There are some amazing views of Lake Biwa and you can enjoy a scenic drive along the lake if you come by car.