Hieizan(Mt.Hiei)

The world heritage site of Mt. Hiei Enryakuji Temple is the head temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism, and was opened on the mountain by Dengyo Daishi Saicho (767-822) in the eighth century. The grounds extend to 1700 hectares of the thickly cedar tree covered mountainside, and it was a major site for training that housed 3,000 monks at the peak of its glory. Numerous monks trained here who went on to found the other principle sects of Japanese Buddhism. There are currently approximately 100 buildings, with the expansive grounds divided into three areas; the To-do area in the east, the Sai-to area in the west, and the Yokawa area in the north.

The World Heritage SiteEnryakuji Temple

To-do

The To-do area is where Enryakuji Temple got its start, with Dengyo Daishi Saicho opening the first of the temple buildings here. This place is the beating heart of the three areas that form the temple grounds. Its main temple, Konpon Chu-do, is a national treasure, and there is a concentration of other important buildings here, including large halls dedicated to the founders of each of the sects of Buddhism. There are also monk's quarters that can be used by monks and pilgrims, and where it is possible to experience meals, lodgings, and ascetic training (reservation required). The To-do area is also the hub for transport on Mt. Hiei. Here you can find not only shuttle buses that head to the summit of Mt. Hiei and the other two areas (Sai-to, Yokawa), but also a bus center from which a bus route into Kyoto city departs. You can also use the Sakamoto Cable Railway to head down to the town at the east foot of the mountain, Sakamoto.

Visitation Times March - November 8:30 - 16:30
December 9:00 - 16:00
January - February 9:00 - 16:30
Charges Adult 1,000 yen
(ticket for To-do, Sai-to, Yokawa)
URL https://www.hieizan.or.jp/

Sai-to

The Sai-to area is located about one kilometer to the north-west of the To-do area, and was initially created by Jakko Daishi Encho, a pupil of Saicho's and the second leader of the Tendai sect. Surrounded by beautiful cedar trees, it is even more peaceful here than in the To-do area. Its main temple is the Shakado Hall, which as a 14th century building is one of the oldest in Enryakuji Temple. There is also the Ninai-do where monks trained, and the Jodo-in where Dengyo Daishi Saicho is buried and that is said to be the most sacred place on the mountainside. It can be reached in approximately three minutes by shuttle bus from the To-do area, and 20 minutes on foot.

Visitation Times March - November 9:00 - 16:00
December 9:30 - 15:30
January - February 9:30 - 16:00
Charges Adult 1,000 yen
(ticket for To-do, Sai-to, Yokawa)
URL https://www.hieizan.or.jp/

Yokawa

Heading a further four kilometers north from the Sai-to area brings you to the Yokawa area, peacefully nestled deep in the mountains. This area was initially created by Jikaku Daishi En-nin, a pupil of Saicho's and the third leader of the Tendai sect. It's also the place where numerous monks who started numerous other famous sects trained, including Shinran and Dogen, and it retains a solemn atmosphere here even today. The main temple takes the form of the Yokawa Chu-do, a building modeled after an envoy ship, and which boasts a construction with its stage jutting out like a terrace. It can be reached in approximately 15 minutes from the To-do area and ten minutes from the Sai-to area by shuttle bus. You can also walk along the Tokai Nature Trail from the To-do area, arriving in approximately 100 minutes.

Visitation Times March - November 9:00 - 16:00
December 9:30 - 15:30
January - February 9:30 - 16:00
Charges Adult 1,000 yen
(ticket for To-do, Sai-to, Yokawa)
URL https://www.hieizan.or.jp/

Eizan Cable Car and Ropeway

When visiting Mt. Hiei, it is recommended that you use the cable car and ropeway to fully enjoy the scenery of the majestic mountains and Lake Biwa. When heading from the Kyoto side you can take the Eizan Cable Car and Ropeway from Yase and head for the summit of Mt. Hiei. From the eastern Shiga side you can take the Sakamoto Cable Railway from Sakamoto, the town below Enryakuji Temple, and head for the To-do area.

Tsutsujigaoka

A spot for stunning views, located close to the summit of Mt. Hiei. You can look out from here over the pleasant rural scenery to the north of Kyoto, such as Ohara. The wild azalea growing here all burst into bloom during May each year, covering the vicinity in a blanket of pink. The red and yellow maple leaves during late fall also make for a breathtaking stroll along the mountain paths. Here you can touch upon the beauty and majesty of nature throughout the year. Tsutsujigaoka can be reached in approximately 15 minutes' walk from the Mt. Hiei Summit Station on the Eizan Ropeway.

Garden Museum Hiei

A beautiful garden museum, where a stunning porcelain panel painting with a motif of the French impressionists can be viewed from a garden blooming with flowers. There is also a café and shop, making it the perfect place for taking a break or picking up some souvenirs, and you can enjoy views of Lake Biwa and Kyoto from inside the grounds.

Opening Hours 10:00 - 17:30 (last entry 17:00)
Closed Closed during the winter season
Charges 1,200 yen
URL http://www.garden-museum-hiei.co.jp/

Dining

  • Enryakuji Temple Bus Center Store

    The largest store on Mt. Hiei. Features a replete lineup of famous products from the slopes of Mt. Hiei, including sesame tofu, sesame daifuku, and Hiei yuba, as well as similar items from Kyoto and Shiga. The free rest space includes a café offering light meals and sweets.

    Opening Hours 9:00 - 17:00
    URL http://www.hieizan.co.jp/gourmet/souvenir/
  • Enryakuji Temple Kaikan

    Lodgings located inside the grounds of the Enryakuji Temple To-do area, which include a cafeteria where vegetarian temple cuisine created using local ingredients and pure waters bubbling up from Mt. Hiei can be enjoyed (reservation required). Meanwhile, a popular item from the café is the latte that includes Sanskrit character latte art. Both are great spots for relaxing while looking out over Lake Biwa.

    URL http://syukubo.jp/
  • Minemichi Restaurant & Observatory

    An observatory restaurant located between Mt. Hiei’s Yokawa area and Sai-to area, from which you can look out over Lake Biwa. When the weather is nice you can see clearly across to the mountains on the other shore. The popular cuisine here includes famous Shiga Omi Beef, free range chicken, and fish from Lake Biwa. You can also purchase ingredients vital to vegetarian temple cuisine to take home as souvenirs, including sesame tofu and yuba.

    Opening Hours 9:00 - 17:00 (last orders 16:30)
    URL http://www.hieizan.co.jp/gourmet/restaurant/
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