Enryaku Temple is located at the top of Hiei-zan [848m] in Kyoto. A visit here is a good way to spend half a day hiking, poking around temples and enjoying the atmosphere of a key site in Japanese history.
You can also get some incredible views of the mountains and Biwa-ko (Lake Biwa).
Enryaku-ji was founded in 788 by Saichō. After Saichō’s death, from the 8th century, the temple grew in power. Enryaku-ji possessed some 3000 buildings and an army of thousands of sōhei (warrior monks). In 1571 Oda Nobunaga saw the temple’s power as a threat and destroyed most of the buildings, along with the monks inside. Today only three pagodas and 120 minor temples remain.
A walk to Temple
The area is divided into three sections: Tōtō, Saitō, and Yokawa.
– Todo (eastern pagoda section) contains the Primary Central Hall. The flames on the three dharma lamps in front of the altar have been kept lit for more than 1200 years.
– The Saito (western pagoda section) contains a rare Buddha sculpture of the Shaka Nyorai (Historical Buddha).
– The Yokawa is a 4km bus ride away from the Saitō area. ( An old temple is located here )
Access to Enryaku Temple
You can reach Hiei-zan and Enryaku-ji by train or bus.
The most interesting way is the train/cable-car route starting on the Eizan line from Demachiyanagi Station to Yase Hieizanguchi.
* Note that this cable-car route does not operate in winter from early December to mid-March.
You can also access Enryaku Temple by the JR Kosei line from Kyoto Station to Heizan Sakamoto Station and then a bus to the Sakamoto cable-car station. If you would like to save money, the best way is a direct bus from Sanjō Keihan or Kyoto stations.
Meanwhile, from cable-car station, you can also hike through the wooded forest (2.2km) to the Todo section. Otherwise, take a short walk to the bus station where you can board a bus to the Enryaku-ji Bus Center for the Todo section.
Enyraku-ji Temple on Mount Hiei
- 4220 Sakamoto-Hommachi, Otsu-shi, Shiga-ken
- [To-do (East Pagoda) area]
March to November: 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.
December: 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
January to February: 9:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.
[Sai-to (West Pagoda) and Yokawa areas]
March to November: 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
December: 9:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M.
January to February: 9:30 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
- Entrance fee
- 700 yen for adults, 600 yen for junior and high school students, 500 yen for elementary students (separate fee for the National Treasure Hall)
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