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Enryakuji temple

Enryakuji templeMount HieiEnryakuji is the head temple of Tendai sect which was introduced to Japan from China, and is located near the top of Mount Hiei.

This temple was founded in 822 by high priest Saicho (767-822).
Saicho became a priest at the age of 15, and entered in Todaiji in Nara at the age of 20.
But he founded a small temple on Mount Hiei to study Buddhism on his own at the age of 23.
In 805, when he was 38 years old, he moved to China to study Buddhism. And he learned Tendai Buddhism (Chinese Tiantai school).

In 806, he introduced Tendai Buddhism to Japan.
He wanted to found the temple for Tendai Buddhism, but that was not allowed, because the temples in Nara were on the conservative side.
At last, that was allowed. But that was 7 days after he died in 822.
The name "Enryakuji" was given in 824, and this temple had gained full independence.

The temple is located to the northeast of central Kyoto, and is at the unhappy direction in a Japanese traditional cosmology.
So this temple became important to guard Kyoto city, and had produced many great priests.
Many priests are still doing hard training in this temple.

This temple is in Otsu city, but it is one of 17 constructions of "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto" designated as a World Heritage Site.

Enryakuji has three areas in Mount Hiei.

"Toudou" is the central area where Saicho founded the temple first.
There are many buildings in this area, and very large "Konpon-chudo" rebuilt in 1642 is designated as a national treasure.

"Saitou" is the area located about 1 km west of Toudou.
There are some buildings, and "Shakado" is the main temple.

"Yokawa" is the area located about 4 km north of Toudou.
"Yokawa-chudo" is the main temple.

How to get to here

By route bus from Kyoto

  • About 1 hour and 15-20 minutes by route bus from Kyoto station.

By cable car from Kyoto side

  1. By Keihan Line, go to Demachiyanagi terminal station.
  2. By Eizan Line, about 26 minutes from Demachiyamagi to Yase-Hieizan-guchi.
  3. By cable car, about 9 minutes to the mountainside.
  4. By ropeway, about 3 minutes to the top.
  5. To Enryakuji, we can use shuttle bus. About 6 minutes.

By cable car from Otsu side

  1. By Keihan Line, go to Sakamoto station. About 16 minutes from Hama-Otsu.
  2. By route bus, about 4 minutes from Sakamoto to the cable car station.
    (The distance is about 1 km. If you walk, it takes about 15 minutes.)
  3. By cable car, about 11 minutes to the top.
  4. About 10 minutes walk to Enryakuji.



Approach in Enryakuji
Photo by KYOTO design
Konpon-chudo in Toudou area
Photo by Rettou-houmotsukan
Daikoudo in Toudou area
Photo by Rettou-houmotsukan
Monjurou gate in Toudou area
Photo by KYOTO design
Touto pagoda and Amidado in Toudo area Kan'non statue in Manpaido in Toudou area
Photo by KYOTO design
Shakado in Saitou area
Photo by Rettou-houmotsukan
Yokawa-chudo in Yokawa area

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Spots in Shiga Prefecture

Lake Biwa
Mount Hiei
Enryakuji
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