The head temple of the Tendai school in Otsu in Shiga Prefecture, Japan.
Located on Mount Hiei, it was founded by Dengyo in 788 and given the name Enryaku-ji by Emperor Saga in 823. In 794 the capital had been moved from Nara to Kyoto.
According to Chinese tradition, the northeast was believed to be the "demon gate,"
or the direction from which evil influences entered the country.
Mount Hiei's location, to the northeast of the new capital, made Enryaku-ji ideally suited as an official temple for the protection of the nation, and it was designated as such.
In 805 Dengyo returned from his studies in China and in 806 established the Tendai school.
In 822, after Dengyo's death, the school was allowed to erect a Mahayana ordination platform on Mount Hiei,
the first such platform in the country.
Enryaku-ji prospered for centuries as the center of Japanese Buddhism.
Several founders of Japanese Buddhist schools, such as Honen, Eisai, Dogen, and Nichiren, studied there.