Filled with highlights! You can sightsee at your leisure throughout the day
With 1200 years of history, Mt. Hiei continues to be worshiped as a site of Buddhist practice and world peace. It is even depicted in a famous poetry card game as Japan’s premier mountain, and for its tradition and history, it was registered in 1994 as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The 848-meter mountain is considered to be the grounds for Enryaku-ji and is divided into 3 areas. It is recommended that 1 day be devoted to a leisurely tour of this wide area. First off, there is the most well-known area of the East Pagoda which contains Hon-do Hall (Main Temple) for the entire mountain and Nemoto Chu-do Hall. The East Pagoda area also contains the Kokuho-do Hall which displays many National Treasures. The Amida-do Hall is also a highlight with the sound of monks chanting sutras. Next on the list is the West Pagoda area which includes the Important Cultural Properties of Jogyo-do and Hokke-do Halls. The halls are linked by a covered passageway and are known collectively as Ninai-do. The oldest building in Enryaku-ji is the Shaka-do which shouldn’t be missed either. Walking from the West Pagoda area for about 4km, you will arrive at Yokawa. But because of the 1-hour walk there, there is a bus that is also suggested. You can view Yokawa Chu-do and the Shiki Ko-do, famous for Tsuno Daishi who warded off evil.
The astounding landscape also cannot be missed!
From Mt. Hiei which straddles the border between Kyoto and Shiga, you can enjoy a wonderful view. To the east, there is Shiga Prefecture’s Lake Biwa while to the west, there are the streets of metropolitan Kyoto. You can reach the summit by bus or car, but it’s recommended to take the ropeway to really enjoy the scenery. The 2025-meter distance covered by the ropeway is the longest in Japan and takes 11 minutes to traverse. From the ropeway, the beautiful Lake Biwa and the townscapes of Shiga Prefecture spread out in front of you as a grand panorama.