A panoramic view of Kyoto from Mt. Hiei
An 848m mountain on the border of Kyoto and Shiga Prefectures, it’s a place of picturesque scenery where Lake Biwa can be seen below to the east and all of Kyoto to the west.
A stroll through the sky by cable car and ropeway
There is a 9-minute scenic route by Eizan Cable which is the pride of Japan that traverses 561m in altitude starting from Kyoto’s Yase-Hieizanguchi Station. The cherry blossoms of spring, the fresh green leaves of summer and the fall colors are beautiful. You can get a panoramic view of Kyoto from the plaza at Hieizan Station and also experience the olden custom of writing wishes on unglazed dishes and throwing them into the valley below. While looking down onto Kyoto, the ropeway will take you up to the top of the mountain in 3 minutes. At the Garden Museum Hiei at the top, there are works by French Impressionists re-created on porcelain panels. Along with the scenic view of Kyoto and Lake Biwa, you can enjoy the flora of the four seasons and the paintings as well as the Hana-no-Ashiyu foot bath. From the Tsutsujigaoka Observation Platform, you can see the mountain range of Kyoto-Ohara, and early in the summer, the azaleas are out in full bloom in the plaza. You can reach the World Heritage site of Enryaku-ji Temple by taking a bus from the mountain top in 5 minutes or 30 minutes on foot. After touring the temple, we recommend taking the Sakamoto cable car, the longest one of its type in Japan and head for Sakamoto Station in Shiga Prefecture.
Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Hiei, a grand sacred site of Buddhism
Founded on the top of Mt. Hiei in 788 by the monk Saichou, Enryaku-ji Temple consists of 3 areas: the East Pagoda, the West Pagoda and Yokokawa. There is a main hall in each area and the temple grounds at 500 hectares are known to be a large sacred site of Buddhism which led it to be registered as a World Heritage site. Don’t miss Konponchu-do Hall (a National Treasure), the East Pagoda with the Amida Hall, and the West Pagoda with the Shaka-do Hall which is the oldest building on the mountain.