Sorin-ji is one of the oldest temples of Tendai Buddhism Sect in Japan, which is dedicated to Yakushi(Skt., Bhaisajyaguru; Healing Buddha, an important cultural property of Japan) and Kangi-ten. It is said that the temple was established about 1200 years ago, in 805 A.D. by Saicho, who introduced Tendai Sect to Japan.
Saicho studied Buddhism in China in the Tang Dynasty. After returning home, he dedicated to the Emperor Kammu(the founder of the ancient capital in Kyoto) a lot of Buddhist sutras and equipments for esoteric Buddhism, which he brought from China.
The Emperor set up the temple in this place as the Japan's first hall for Goma, a kind of rituals of esoteric Buddhism. After the establishment of Hiezan Enryaku-ji Temple in 823 A.D., Sorin-ji got affiliated with it.
Since Middle ages, Sorin-ji Temple has been so famous for cherry blossoms; Toyotomi Hideyoshi(a Daimyo who unified Japan in 16th century) held a cherry-viewing party here in 1584 A.D. In the following year, Hideyoshi rebuilt the main hall of the temple.
In the Edo era, Sorin-ji reduced its scale, because a portion of precincts was given up to establish Kodai-ji Temple in 1605 A.D., and Higashi-Ohtani-Byo in 1653 A.D. Moreover, the temple was whittled down more portion of the precincts to create the Maruyama Park in Meiji era. Today, the main hall and the Saigyo-hall in an enclave only remain.