Day Trip From Kyoto Part 2: Visiting Enryakuji Temple at Mount Hieizan

Enryakuji temple is located at the eastern mountain range of Mount Hieizan, miles away to the northeast from Kyoto. It is a quite Buddhist temple, and one of the most important monasteries in Japanese history. Up to now, it is one of the largest and most important temple in Kyoto.

It was founded in 778 by Saicho, the monk who introduced Tendai Buddhism from China to Japan. It became a Unesco world's heritage site in 1994, and as a Japan Heritage site in 2015. This peaceful mountain complex is a great alternative to escape the crowded temples in Kyoto, especially during peak period.

The ticket to Enryakuji Hieizan, cost us JPY700/person

We walked from Sakamoto Cable Car Station to the temple, and after the ticket counter, the first area we saw was the public area, where you could find small shops and also a soba restaurant downstairs at the basement, called Tsuruki Soba (opens 9.30 am to 04.00 pm).

Enryakuji's complex is divided by three main area: Todo (east area), Saito (west area) and Yokawa. The main hall is called Kompon Chudo (national treasure) which was being renovated when we visited.

It is said that the renovation will take 10 years from 2016, but it is possible to enter the hall. During the renovations, Kompon Chudo is covered by scaffolding.

The Kompon Chudo

Before visited the Kompon Chudo, we visited the area near to the main hall and found beautiful temples in the greenery. The place is so peaceful, we didn't meet any tour groups bringing flags.

Wear your comfortable shoes as you have to walk in this huge complex and there are so many stairs to climb.

From the main hall, we walked toward the peace bell. And as I told you, there are many steps to climb. The fresh air will help you :) Do not forget to try to ring the bell.

The journey was continued to Kaidan-in (important cultural asset). Kaidan-in is where aspiring priests of the Tendai sect are ordained. Look at this beautiful wooden temple.

The last part we visited was the huge training hall which is called the Hokke So Ji-in, Amida-do. We had a rest on the bench outside the training hall (oh yes after those steps!), and we also waited for one group photo session.

We continued our journey to Eizan Cable Car station, where we had to walk another 1,7 km in the beautiful forest. I will write a separate post regarding the walk and the ride on Eizan Cable Car in part 3.

For me, visiting Enryakuji temple was a special experience because I love the atmosphere of the temple so much. It gives us a different experience than visiting other temple in Kyoto, I love the trees, the fresh air and the view to Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan.

The exit
Let's continue the walk

Getting to Enryakuji Temple

We used Sakamoto Cable Car from Kyoto, and you may read our journey in this post. You can also take bus to the temple, or taking Eizan Cable Car.

Written on October 8, 2018
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  1. Beautiful. I plan to go to Kyoto by the end of the year, and I wonder how it looks during winter time.

    1. Wow, it will be beautiful with all the snow:) But you should check the availability of the cable car and the rope way, it may stop during heavy snow.